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Sora Margherita, Piazza delle Cinque Scole, 30.
Open at 12:30 (was full by 1:10) for lunch daily (41.5 E for family of four).
Dinner Friday and Saturday 8:00/9:30.
From Teatro Marcello follow Via Catalana until it ends.
This is a very small restaurant located on the north side of the Piazza - just a red-bead covered doorway in a crumbling dilapidated old building (There is an unlit flower shaped neon sign above the door and the # 30 to the right of it). It was featured in the May 05 Bon Appetit and is reputed to have the best fried artichokes in town. It was shut down two years ago for being too cramped, thus it became a private club and all guests sign up as members. It is small but very clean inside.
Ristorante Antica Taverna, Via Monte Giordano, 12.
North of Chiesa Nuova (church on plaza off Corso Vittorio Emanuele II) and west of Piazza Navona at the intersection of Via D. Avila and Via di Monte Giordano. No English on the menu, no bread charge. (Total bill for a family of four = 38 E)
Ar Galletto (also called da Giovanni), Vicolo del Gallo, 1. Closed Mondays. Open from 7:30 for dinner, but they will seat at 7:15. (48.5 E & 79.5 E with wine)
On the Northwest corner of Piazza Farnese - the outdoor seats overlooking the fountain are across the street from the indoor part of the restaurant - great view of the beautiful Palazzo Farnese. The involtini is recommended. This is just around the corner from Campo de Fiori, but is nice and quiet.
L'Insalata Ricca, Largo dei Chiavari 85/86 (beside the beautiful church Sant'Andrea della Valle, the second highest dome in Rome and site of the first act of Tosca) on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II) (31.5 E and 33 E).
This is one of a small chain of restaurants that has the most scrumptious cheese and pear salad (fresh mixed greens with shaved pecorino romano, black olives, and pear slices in a fantastic olive oil and vinegar dressing). They pack the leftover salad up nicely and include a fork - and it is even better the next day! Tortellini with ham and peas is also a classic delicious dish. The rigatoni all'Amatriciana is well done, but it is a somewhat salty parmesan, bacon, and tomato sauce dish that may not appeal to all. The hours are convenient for American meal times, which is helpful during the jet lag transition
Great deli sandwiches (2 Euro for a hearty serving) from a place on via della Panetteria just diagonally across from the famous gelato place (Il Gelato di San Crispino at #42) east of Trevi Fountain. Spinach omelet sandwich, sopresseto with large fat droplets, tuna with tomato and greens, and rosciutto arugula sandwich. These are tastier and less expensive than the sandwiches on the carts lining the street to the Forum/Colosseum, and better than the TV dinner pastas and plain meat only sandwiches at the cafe in the Castel Sant'Angelo (which does have a great view). Buying sandwiches from a deli counter is recommended before heading for either site.
Pizza is very good at the restaurant at the southeast side of Campo di Fiori (Total bill 38.9 E). Try the Campo di Fiori pizza with tomato, mozarella, salami and ham. The Penne Marimonti - short pasta with tomatoes, baby clams, porcini (yum) and cream is very good as is the penne all vodka e prosciutto. The bufala salad with sweet corn, olives, basil and buffalo mozzarella is ok but not spectacular. Worthwhile for the pizza and pasta. Although the name of the place is not too inspiring (Heartbreak), the sign can not really be seen because of the awning over the patio seats.
Lunch at the Ristorante Galeassi on the north side of the Piazza di Santa Maria Travestere, 3, is pleasant. There are street musicians and a nice view of the piazza with its unusual looking fountain. The asparagus looks and tastes awesome - all tender stalks and no bitter leafheads. The puntarelle (curled chicory shavings) in anchovy sauce is too bitter and salty for American tastes. A light lunch with four vegetables and one pasta shared is about 37 E - pricey)
Gelateria artigianale, Via Giustiniani 18A that goes west from the northwest corner of the Piazza della rotunda of the Pantheon. 2 E for small, 1-2 flavors. Best vanilla and crema (tastes like custard or eggnog). Best pear and tart creamy lemon (gelato as opposed to the sorbetto many other places serve for these flavors).
A place that had the neon word sign "Crepes" that was adjacent to the Heartbreak restaurant in Piazza Campo dei Fiori (on the receipt - Coffea srl partita iva, Piazza campo dei fiori N.49). 1.5 E for a small single flavor, 2 E for multi flavors. Best frutti di bosca (wild berries) and chocolate hazelnut (baccia).
Il Gelato di San Crispino at Via della Panetteria 42 near Trevi fountain. Opens at 11 am. Best overall single flavor - the San Crispino signature flavor of crema with honey. The scoops do not extend beyond the confines of the small cups, but this is a truly delicious and unusual flavor. The lemon is less tart then elsewhere and had zest flavor in it. The other flavors may not be that distinctive.
Tre Scalini had pretty good gelato and large scoops. They are known for the tartufo - chocolate balls around a cherry but STAY AWAY from the tourist trap restaurant with terrible service and oversalted and dry food.