Restaurants in Rome

Like a Local: Aperitivo

While walking through the streets of Rome, you may see a variety of bars offering what is commonly referred to as aperitivo. But what does it mean? In this article we hope to share this distinctly Italian practice with you, as well as give you some of our recommendations for the best aperitivo in the city.

What is Aperitivo? 

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The word “aperitivo” comes from the latin word “aperire” – meaning to open and stimulate the appetite.  Although the practice can be traced to the northern regions of Italy, today aperitivo is served across the country and is seen as being an important part of socialization in Italian culture.

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Although aperitivo may be different depending on where you go, it can be simplified in one fundamental concept: a drink paired with small snacks that is meant to open the appetite and kickstart digestion before dinner. Some locations keep it simple with small snacks such as olives, mixed nuts and potato chips; while others offer a full buffet of pastas, sandwiches, cheeses, etc. It is also becoming more common to find aperitivo featuring international dishes like chicken curry and cous cous. You will usually find aperitivo being served between 18:00 – 21:00 and range from 5€ to 15€. 

Traditionally, an aperitivo drink is made with a bitter liquor such as Campari or Aperol.

Aperitivo in Rome: The Spritz 

Traditional Italian Spritz cocktail against lake Como, Italy

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Although there are a few drinks that are traditionally served with aperitivo, the Spritz is probably the most popular in Rome.  The Spritz can be traced back to the Venice region in the 1800s when soldiers of the Austrian Empire asked for their wine to have a small amount of water sprayed into it to make it lights.  In the 1900s carbonated water was substituted for still.  Later, bitter liquors (such as Campari or Aperol) were added.

5 Aperitivo Spots in Rome 

1. Gusto al 28

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Gusto al 28 is  wine bar located near Piazza Popolo, just off of Via del Corso.  In addition to their industrial-chic decor, they offer an extensive wine list and cocktail menu.  Their aperitivo is excellent – including pastas, pizza, and a variety of fried snacks.

Where: Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 28 (Via del Corso)

Price: around 10

2. Salotto 42

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Nestled in the perfect central location, Salotto 42 offers artisinal cocktails and a generous aperitivo buffet.  You can also sip you cocktail while enjoying the view of Hadrian’s temple. Salotto 42 is also located close to the Pantheon, making it the perfect stop after our walking tour of Rome at night.

Where: Piazza di Petra, 42

Price: around 10

3. Fluid

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This ultra-modern cocktail bar is one of the the best aperitivo bars in the city. Despite its, well, interesting decor Fluid is known for its extensive selection of liquors and cocktails.  In addition to their drink selection, Fluid has a huge aperitivo that features both Italian and international options.  It is also located just down the street from Piazza Navona – perfect for a post Ancient Tour aperitivo!

Where: Via del Governo Vecchio, 46

Price: 10€ – 15€

4. Freni e Frizione

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This trendy bar is located in one of Rome’s trendiest neighbourhoods – Trastevere. With expert mixologists manning the bar, its no surprise that Freni e Frizione is one of the best places to go for a cocktail.  They also feature an aperitivo bar in the evenings with pizza, pastas, and salads as well as an outdoor terrace between Piazza Trilussa and the Tiber. Check out aperitivo at Frene and Frizione after our walking tour of Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto. If you want to learn more about Trastevere, head over to our previous post where we explore the area and give you our highlights. 

Where: Via del Politeama, 4/6

Price: around 10

5. Panella

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Although their cocktails may be a bit pricey, you don’t want to miss out on Panella’s aperitivo.  They offer a wide selection of gourmet breads, fried foods, bruschette, crostini, and more.  Located in the trendy Monti district, Panella is also the perfect place to go for a stroll and a bite to eat near the Colosseum.

Where: Via Merulana, 54

Price: 15€-20€


Where is your favourite place to go for aperitivo in Rome? Let us know in the comments!

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Explore With Us: Navona

The city of Rome is made up of various neighbourhoods/districts that each have their own sentiments and atmospheres.  Twice a month, Enjoy Rome will be exploring these neighbourhoods and providing you with our tips to make the most out of your visit.  This week we are exploring the Navona neighbourhood; one of Rome’s most historic areas.  Book your spot on our guided tour of Ancient Rome to learn more!

The area surrounding Piazza Navona is commonly referred to as the Navona neighbourhood, but it is technically part of the Parione district.  Parione is the 6th district (or rione) of Rome and refers to much of the historic centre.  The large neighbourhood was actually split into two sections when Corso Vittorio Emmanuele was constructed in the late 19th century – a northern section surrounding Piazza Navona and a southern section surrounding Campo de’ Fiori.  If you want to read more about Campo de’ Fiori, check out last week’s Mercato Monday post.  You can also book your tour of Campo de’ Fiori by clicking here.

Here are our Navona highlights, as well as recommedations of what to see/do before or after your Ancient tour:

TO SEE: 

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No visit to to this area is complete without going to the piazza that is at the heart of the district – Piazza Navona.  The piazza was actually built on top of Domitian’s stadium from Ancient times! Although you can no longer visit the stadium itself, it is fascinating to imagine while standing amongst the Baroque palazzi, ornate fountains, and colourful street art that has come to define the square.  Piazza Navona is the final stop on our Ancient tour.

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At the centre of the square is one of Bernini’s most famous masterpieces, the Fountain of Four Rivers, that is said to personify the four major rivers – Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Plate).

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Also located inside the square is Chiesa Sant’Agnese in Agone.  The baroque-style church was built in the 17th century on the site where Saint Agnes was said to be martyred. Just next to the church you will also find Palazzo Pamphilj.  The palace was built by Pope Innocent X, but today is houses the Brazilian embassy.

Find interest in the supernatural? Piazza Navona is actually said to be haunted! Legend has it that the ghost of Costanza Conti de Cupis (a noblewoman from the 1600s) can be seen in the windows looking down on the piazza, but only when there is a full moon.

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Just outside Piazza Navona you can also find Museo di Roma – which was founded during the fascist era in order to preserve “old Rome”.  Today, it is largely a museum of art that is part of Rome’s network of civic museums.

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Not far from Piazza Navona you will find Piazza Pasquino.  The piazza itself has a lot to offer including a beautiful church and great restaurants.  However, the most interesting part of this small piazza is is the statue that is referred to as one of Rome’s “talking statues”.  The statues have been used for centuries as a means for political expression and anonymous civil disobediance. Even today you can see poetry and other forms of political commentary posted next to the statue.

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Chiesa Nuova (also known as Chiesa Santa Maria in Valicella) is located just a short walk from the Piazza along Corso Vittorio Emmanuele and features incredible frescos.  It was built in 1577 and also has an impressive library inside.

TO WALK: 

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Via Governo Vecchio is one of the areas main streets.  Grab a gelato and  to admire the cobblestone streets, boutique shops, and renaissance era homes. Via Coronari and Via della Pace are also worth a stroll.

TO SHOP:

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Piazza Navona has no shortage of places nearby to sharp, but the most noteworthy are the vintage and leather shops along Via Governo Vecchio. During the day (as well as sometimes at night)  you can also find a variety of artists and craft vendors in the actual piazza, as well as the surrounding area.

TO EAT: 

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The Navona neighbourhood has a ton to offer in terms of restaurants and the winding streets are home to many authentic italian restaurants.  Cul de Sac in Piazza Pasquino offers a large selection of wine and locally curated meat/cheese plates.  Pizzeria Baffetto is the place to go for pizza and eating in this family-run establishment is an experience in and of itself.  On the other side of Piazza Navona you can also find The Old Bear, whose pasta menu changes daily to ensure the freshest ingrediants.

TO DRINK: 

In addition to everything else it has to offer, this neighbourhood is also known for its nightlife.  Whether inside the piazza itself or on one of the many sidestreets, there are a variety of places to get a quality cocktail and people-watch.  We recommend Bar del Fico; they have an artisanal cocktail menu, aperitivo and even live music.  Mimi & Coco and Il Piccolo offer the perfect people-watching locations. If you are looking for your sports fix, Via Governo Vecchio is also home to an Irish pub called The Abbey. 

Want to learn more about this historic neighbourhood? Book your tour of Ancient Rome and experience it with a live guide!


What’s your favourite part about the Navona neighbourhood? Let us know in the comments! 

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November 4th – 11th in Rome

1. Roma Jazz Festival

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From November 6th to the 23rd, Rome will be holding its 40th annual jazz festival! The festival includes various events and performances to be enjoyed by the public.  This week You can see Radical Gypsy at Casa del Jazz (November 6th), Joshua Redman/Brad Mehldau Duo at Sinopoli Hall (November 8th), and Jacob Collier at Petrassi Hall (November 9th).

Where: Locations vary, please visit website

When: November 6th to 23rd, specific times vary

Tickets: Also varies based on performance

2. Exhibit: Star Wars: Play

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Until January 29th, visitors have the opportunity to experience the cinematographic history of the Star Wars francise right here in Rome.  The exhibit includes over 1000 items including scale models, toys, costumes, vintage prints and many more. Experience another level of the universe that has captivated audiences for decades.

Where: Complesse del Vittoriano ala Brasini, Via San Pietro in Carcere

When: Until January 29th – Monday to Thursday 9:30-19:30, Friday and Saturday 9:30 to 22:00, and Sundays 9:30-20:30

Tickets: 8€ – 10€

3. Cinema2Day

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Thanks to the Italian Culture Ministry, it will only cost 2€ to see a movie next Wednesday! The nationwide initiative hopes to encourage culture through the cinema and applies to over 3000 movie theatres nationwide. The initiative will also continue through the second week of February, offering 2€ movies on the second Wednesday of each month.

Where: Locations vary, please go to the Cinema2Day website for more details

When: November 9th

Tickets: 2€

4. Exhibit: Art and Politics

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“Arte e Politica” is MACRO’s newest exhibition exploring differenct political and social themes.  From 1930s paintings reflecting sentiments surrounding Fascism to more recent social/political attitudes and issues, this exhibit is both thought-provoking and fascinating.  The exhibit includes works by Mario Mafai, Claudio Abate, Ines Fontenla, and many more.

Where: MACRO, Via Nizza 138

When: Until May 10th – Tuesday to Sunday 10:30-19:30

Tickets: 9€-11€

5. MAXXI Raises Funds to Help With Earthquake Aftermath 

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Following a series of earthquakes in central Italy, the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art has decided to raise funds to help restore historic buildings, churches and other aspects of Italian cultural heritage that were damaged.  On Saturday November 5th, all proceeds from ticket sales at MAXXI will go directly towards these efforts.  This is a great opportunity to experience one of Rome’s best museums while also giving back to the community!

Where: MAXXI, Via Guido Reni 4

When: Saturday November 5th – 11:00-22:00

Tickets: 8€-12€


What are your favourite events in Rome this week? Let us know on Facebook! 

Visit our website to book one of our many guided tours of Rome! 

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Mercato Mondays: The New Testaccio Market

Although it has formed the reputation as being the hub of Rome’s nightlife, Testaccio has also been recognized as the original foodie dimercatomondaysstrict in Rome
where you can find both authentic cuisine and modern twists on classic dishes. The New Testaccio Market is
located in the heart of the Testaccio neighbourhood – a working class neighbourhood tucked away from the bustling centre of Rome.  The original market was located in the main piazza and was one of the oldest markets in the city.  In 2012, however, the New Testaccio Market was officially opened with 103 stands where vendors offer local products to buy and to taste.

The market offers an authentic local market experience in a quintessentially Roman distict;

That is why we chose the New Testaccio Market for this week’s Mercato Monday.

Where: Entrances from Via Aldo Manuzio, Via Galvani, and Via Franklin.  You can take Metro Line B, Piramide, Bus #23, or Tram #8 to get there.

When: Monday-Saturday, 7:00 to 15:30

Entrance: Free entry


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The market itself is located inside a modern building strewn with skylights that keep the natural sunlight pouring in. This market is the place to go to get basically everything you need under one roof.  From fresh produce, to high quality meats/cheeses, to cannolo, to wine –  Mercato Testaccio has it all.  There are even some vendors selling kitchenware, clothing, and other home goods.  It is the perfect place to go to experience a slice of local life. Here are some of our highlights:

Mordi e Vai is a must try at Testaccio market.  This Roman deli offers authentic Roman stuffed sandwiches.  The shop owner and chef Sergio has transformed traditional cucina Romana into an assortment of savoury sandwiches including tripe, meatballs, braised beef, and sausage – all served on freshly baked bread.

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La Prosciutteria di Enzo e Lina is the place to go for meats and cheeses.  The shop owner prides himself on high quality products and will tell you all about it if you ask.  Here you can choose from a wide selection of meats and cheeses from Norcia – the headliner is definitely the prosciutto.

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Tucked away in the centre of the market you will find Le Mani in Pasta where you have the opportunity to purchase fresh noodles and fully prepared pasta dishes to take home or indulge in their dishes on site.  Options include classic Roman dishes such as carbonara and cacio e pepe with truffles. All of their pastas are made from organic products and are hand-made in front of your eyes.

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On the outskirts of the market you will also find a vino sfuso.  Vino sfuso is traditionally known as wine that comes from grapes that are not good enough to be bottled.  Nowadays, vino sfuso locations can be found all over the centres of Italy’s major cities offering a wide selection of prosecco and wines for incredibly low prices and the quality will suprise you! At Mercato Testaccio’s vino sfuso you can grab a glass of wine or prosecco for 2€ and enjoy it while to explore the rest of the market.

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While strolling through the market you will also find a variety of fruit/vegetable vendors selling the fresh seasonal produce and artisanal products such as sauces, spreads, etc.

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Last but not least is Strit Fud, just on the edge of the courtyard.  Although this place may not be the most traditional in practice, it is worth drawing some attention to.  Strit Fud offers take-away meals that have been heavily influenced by classic Roman recipes. However, the chef has used his creative license to create modern versions of cucina Romana – such as his take on pizza.

One of the great things about Mercato Testaccio is that it is so much more than just a place to buy food.  It truly is an authentic cultural space where you can partake in Rome’s version of la dolce vita.


Whose your favourite vendor at Mercato Testaccio? Let us know in the comments! 

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Mercato Mondays: Mercato Centrale, Termini

In 2014, Mercato Centrale opened in the heart of Florence and it was a huge success. Thanks to the same team, Rome now has a Mercato Cemercatomondaysntrale of its own inside Termini Station.  Although this market does not exactly convey the traditional Italian market experience, it does bring together some of the region’s best food producers.  That is why we chose to explore the new Mercato Central Roma for Enjoy Rome’s first Mercato Monday.

Where: Termini Station – accessible from Via Golitti, 36

When: 7:oo – 00:00 daily


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Termini station is Rome’s main hub for public transportation as well as trains outside of the city.  The building itself was inaugurated in 1950 and takes its name from the nearby Baths of Diocletian (thermae in latin).  The newest addtion to Termini (Mercato Centrale Roma) officially opened on October 5th – transforming the station into a new cultural and culinary centre.

The first floor of the market houses 15 vendors offering some of Italy’s culinary classics as well as some modern twists.  Don’t let the food court-style seating fool you, each vendor prides themselves on the quality and authenticity of their food. There is an abundance of choices to satisfy any craving, but here are some of our highlights:

Baker Gabriele Bonci has brought his famous pizza al taglio (Roman pizza by the slice), foccacia, and cakes to the market.

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For an authentic selection of meats and charchuterie, Mercato Centrale has recruited renowed butcher Roberto Liberati. 

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Beppe e i Suoi Formaggi – one of Rome’s best wine and cheese bars – can also be found in the market and offers an impressive selection of cheeses from Piemonte and Sardinia.

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It is hard not to notice the enourmous marble chimney at the centre of the market. Composed of Portuguese marble, this chimney was designed by Angiolo Mazzoni in the 1930s and acts as a focal point for the market.

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On the second floor you will find additional dining space, a pantry-like grocer, as well as a small coffeeshop.  However, the gem of the second floor is Michelin star chef Oliver Glowig‘s restaurant.

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The third floor houses space for cultural events and seminars – both private and public.

There is no denying the chaos and somewhat daunting nature of Termini Station, but the new Mercato Centrale is changing that by providing a welcoming environment for both tourists and locals alike.

 

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5 Must-Try Gelaterias in Rome

No trip to Italy is complete without a cup (or 3) of gelato, but the number of Roman gelaterias can make it difficult to know which to choose. Below are 5 gelato shops – recommended by our staff –  you don’t want to miss! Each shop is also easily accessible from one of our tours. There’s no better way to end an afternoon of touring the Vatican or the Colosseum than with a serving of this delicious Italian treat!

1. Gelateria Frigidarium 

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Don’t let the line steer you away, it is definitely worth the wait! Located just a short walk from Piazza Navona, Frigidarium offers seasonal flavours and aritisanal craftsmanship. For all the chocolate lovers out there, Frigidarium also gives you the option of dipping your cone in freshly melted chocolate – think Dairy Queen dipped cone but 1000 times better.

Where to find it: Via del Governo Vecchio, 112 (3 minutes walking from Piazza Navona)

Our recommendation: Lemon and Raspberry

2. Gelateria Della Palma 

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This centrally located shop offers more than 150 flavours to choose from! Need we say more?

Where to find it: Via Della Maddalena, 19-23 (5 minutes walking from Pantheon)

Our recommendation: stracchietella & pistacchio
3. Gelateria Fassi 

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Operating since 1880, Gelateria Fassi is the place to go for a traditional gelato experience. This family run establishment is known for its artisanal flavour choices that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Hint hint: they are also known for their tiramisu.

Where to find it: Via Principe Eugenio, 65 (not far from Termini Station)

Our recommendation: Fiore di Latte
4. Gelateria dei Gracchi

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Just a short walk from the Vatican, this charming shop is your go-to for organic and gluten free ingredients.

Where to find it: Via dei Gracchi, 272

Our reccomendation: Banana and hazelnut
5. I Caruso 

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Also located near Termini station, I Caruso is the place to go for simple, fresh and artisanal flavours. Their hand whipped panna will also leave you dreaming.

Where to find it: Via Collina, 13

Our recommendation: anything with panna on top, also be sure to try their coffee!

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Do you have any gelato favourites in the city? Leave a comment and let us know! 

 

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What kinds of pizza can you eat in Rome? Where to find the best…

After a busy day spent visiting the most beautiful places of Rome with Enjoy Rome tours, what could be better than eating a delicious pizza?

Before to suggest you some of the best pizza restaurants where you can eat a nice pizza, here there is a  short introduction describing the main kinds of pizza you can eat in Rome:

Neapolitan pizza

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It ‘a round pizza with soft dough and high-sided (ledge) known as high. The “high” pasta is due to air, which during the phase of manipulation of the dough moves from the center outwards.
Classic Neapolitan dough is not allowed any kind of fat,only water, flour, yeast (beer or natural) and salt.
The cooking of the Neapolitan pizza, finally, is always and done exclusively through the use of the wood stove and then never using other cooking methods such as the oven. The pizza is one of the most common dishes in the world and is present in almost all restaurants and local Italian cuisine abroad.

Roman pizza

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It’s a round pizza very thin, low and crispy. The dough is made with wheat flour type 00 or 0, water, yeast (or sourdough), olive oil (or to get pizza crisper using seed oil) and salt in proportions such that it is tough and consistent, so often make it necessary to prepare with a rolling pin.

Roman Pinsere

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It’s a kind of pizza to ancient origins but which in recent times is spreading; of oval form, it is made with composed dough of soft wheat flour, soybeans and rice, with a high degree of hydration (75% of water compared to flour) and a leavening long (up to two days), making it highly digestible and light.

And finally, here there is our favourite list of best places where you can eat a nice pizza:

 

PIZZA RE’
Via di Ripetta, 14 – Rome
Tel: 06 3211468

Since 20 years, in this pizza restaurant located two steps away from Piazza del Popolo, Via del Corso and Piazza di Spagna, you can eat an excellent neapolitan pizza for its dough, smell and taste. Here you can eat other Neapolitan specialties like the delicious fried or sweets.
Considering the location and the quality also the prices are great.

 

AI MARMI
Viale Trastevere, 53 – Rome.
Tel. 06 5800919

Also called “Il Cassamortaro” from romans, essential environment, but you can find here very good roman pizzas of all kinds. Special mentions also for the fried, never frozen and homemade, like the delicious potato croquettes.

 

DA BAFFETTO
Via del Governo Vecchio, 114 – Rome
Tel: 06 6861617

A few steps from Piazza Navona this historical pizzeria in Rome offers classic Roman delicious pizza crunchy at low prices. Friendly staff and quick service but often very crowded.

 

REMO in Testaccio
Piazza Santa Maria Liberator, 44 – Rome
Tel. 06 5746270.

Located in the heart of Rome, this is the right place if you want to eat the real roman pizza, a place clean and simple, classic “low crispy pizzas. Very busy at weekends.

 

TONDA

Via Valle Corteno 31, Rome, Italy
Tel.: 06 8180960

For those who love “high” pizza, Neapolitan, but at the same time light and digestible this is the right place. Great variety of appetizers, the spectacular Trapizzini, try the rice balls amatriciana! Local is not very large, it should call for reservations.

 

PINSERE

Via Flavia, 98 – Rome

In central area, there this Pinseria where the Pinsa is always eat standing or leaning against the bench placed outside the room. The restaurant is small, but the Pinse are really special and are cooked in a wood stove only after being chosen and ordered.

 

LA PRATOLINA
Via degli Scipioni, 248 – Rome
Tel: 06 36004409

In the Prati district, near the Vatican, there is this “Pinseria”, not very large, with reservations required, but where you can eat the oval Pinsa from mixing light and fragrant and the many combinations of seasoning. Also excellent and original appetizers and desserts.
The staff and service are excellent.

 

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By |March 22nd, 2016|Blog, Restaurants in Rome|0 Comments