Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Rome (part 2) - Eating out, where to stay and getting around

Italy is famous for a lot of things - football, the Roman Empire, looking like a boot - but one of their greatest feats has to be their food right?!

So of course, a good proportion of our time in Rome was spent eating! We did do the cultural things too, promise, so for things to see and do in Rome, see part one here

Eating out
Here are some of my suggestions where we were eating and drinking...

Vacanze Romane, Piazza Navona

We ate here on the first night, opting for the calamari (a holiday standard for me) and pizza. The food was good, the rose not over sweet and the atmosphere was bubbly, probably helped by the waiter who went around signing and dancing to the music being played by the buskers in the square. This was quite a pricey place thanks to its prime tourist spot.

Teerrazza san Oancrazio, Via di porta s.Pancrazio 

This was such a great terrace bar, with a cool vibe that perhaps bordered on pretentious which was probably evident by there being no obvious signage for the bar and down a side street of Via di Garibaldi. We only found it because it was near our hotel and we kind of wandered in, but very cautiously as it looks like you're entering someones house! There was no drinks menu.

you'd never guess this is the entrance to the bar!

Taverna della Scala, Piazza Scala
We ate lunch here on the last day and went a bit overboard for a lunch as we were trying to fit in the last of our Italian foods! The pizza here is uber thin and cheap! My pizza was 5 euros! 

1 starter of palma ham and mozzerrella, 2 pizzas, 1 tiramisu, 1 lemon sorbet, 2 drinks and 2 limoncellos (which I can confirm I do not like) came to just 46 euros. 


Sloppy Joes, Campo Fiori

Campo Fiori is a lovely little square, typical of Rome, filled with restaurants. We chose Sloppy Joes (only because I had a big lunch and was just looking a Greek salad for lunch and they had it on the menu) but I don't think there is much between them all. In fact, this restaurant seems to share the kitchen with the restaurant next door!!! One recommendation though, have the riondo prosecco.

my new found favourite prosecco

Bir & Fud,Via Benedetta

This came as a recommendation from a friend - it is a real beer place, with specialties, ,crafts and home brews. Be warned though as there are no other drink options. Even my cola was a unique "craft cola". The pizzas here are Neapolitan style so they are huge! 

We opted for a snack to begin with (as if the pizza wasn't going to fill us up?!) thinking we were ordering "chips" but it was actually more like crisps with a tomato and vanilla dip! For 4 euros, try it. I wasn't so impressed with the rice balls for starters.

Bacco in Travstevere, Piazza San Giovanni Della Malva
We were staying in the Giancolo area, so this was just a short walk for us. The piazza was full of restaurants (a stones throw from Bir & Fud) and we chose this one by chance. The battered fish starter was light and not greasy and I loved my home made lasagna. The Boy loved the meatballs. The staff were helpful, attentive and friendly. With decent prices and a gelataria opposite, what's not to love!

(another) cocktail

Via della rotonda 

This side street from the Pantheon is filled with lovely little restaurants. Considering it is right by a tourist spot, they were very well priced! We opted for salad (just 8 euro) as well as bruschetta and foccacia (although it was more like a flat bread).

Uva and Grano, Toro Vittorio Emanuele N249 - specialty shop 

I wasn't leaving Rome without buying myself a lovely bottle of olive oil. I also ended up buying olive pate and would have bought more if The Boy hadn't stopped me! This shop is packed to the rafters with oils, vinegars, pastas, cofffees and anything else Italian. 

The must eats in Rome

The Boy doesn’t like tomatoes in England. The boy loves tomatoes I Rome though! Bright, red and juicy; make sure you have a dish that incorporates tomato whilst in Rome. Won't be hard – think pasta tomato sauces, bruschetta, massive salads…

A fan of the fizz anyway, this is home of the prosecco so it would be rude not to have a few glasses (a day). My  favourite one was riondo. Limecello is another classic but I hated it and it made The Boy quite ill with stomach cramps after!

Pizza (wood fired)
It needs no explanation as to why you should have one! Some serve it “Neapolitan” style (aka a bit thicker on the dough as more saucy as I am told) or the very thin version. Don't expect to see a stuffed crust. The Italians keep it simple and don’t over do the ingredients. #lessismore

I have never really been a coffee drinker but my friend Liz recommended to me that I try a coffee out there. I did. I liked! The Italians know how to do a mean espresso.

Ice cream aka gelato   
When it comes to doing creamy ice creams, the Italians do it well! My go to flavour was Nutella. There are ice cream parlours (or gelaterias) everywhere, the scoops are huge and the prices are cheap -  couldn’t even finish my double scoop cone one night after dinner!

One of my favourite Italian sweet dishes (after biscoti)is tiramisu. Lady fingers dipped in coffee, with oodles of liquor and mascarpone cheese.  

Parma ham and mozzarella
Such a simple starter but in Rome, it is fresh and flavoursome. The mozzarella usually comes in  a huge ball with layers of ham, so you might want to share this starter! Actually all their starters seem pretty huge.


The Boy loves this dish and had it quite  few times. Succulent meatballs in a herby tomato sauce, mopped up with fresh crusty bread. 

Getting around and where to stay

Me and The Boy have this habit where were go on holiday and decide to cram everything in, in the shortest amount of time. This time, we were sensible, planning on mixing chilling by a pool with the crazy sighseeing. Turns out, if you look on, out of the 1000s of hotels in Rome, only 40 have an outdoor pool! So that helped narrow our choice down when w were booking it! 

Turns out Grand Hotel del Giancolo, in the Giancolo area, was a good choice. Clean, friendly staff and a satisfying breakfast included, and at a decent price. The interior was the kind of decor that I can imagine looked the bees knees when it was done in the 70s but a little out dated now.

view from out hotel

Getting around Rome is actually pretty easy, although I don't know if that is because I was with The Boy who is a navigation ninja.

Unfortunately, the public transport system didn't seem that great, and the metro system didnt' seem to go many places. We stuck to taxis and walking (10 euros or 40 min walking from our hotel to the centre). 

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