Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rome, Where to Eat? Expat gives great advice


Where to eat when you arrive in a new city is an opportunity or something to dread.....

While traveling I try to keep a list of restaurants and cafes where I am comfortable to drop in and enjoy a meal.    has taken all the work out of searching for 'food' while traveling in Rome.    Her descriptions of a number of restaurants and cafes in Rome have me looking forward to my next visit.

Thank you Diana for your great post.

New Places to Eat in Rome

Places to Eat in Rome, Italy - RED Feltrinelli - Restaurant
It’s awesome to see some new places opening up in Rome that are located in centro storico (historic centre). What’s even more important is that the food and prices are decent. I have also included two gelaterie in this listing as they deserve the mention.
Except for the couple of weeks I was in Sicily, I spent most of my summer in Rome and had the opportunity to check out the following new places with some friends.
RED Feltrinelli
Via del Corso, 506
06 3213676 or 3460162804 (Restaurant)
Daily from 9.00am to 10.00pm
Location: Between Piazza del Popolo and Spanish Steps
RED acronym for Read Eat Dream may not look like much from its small entrance. Step in and you will see how spacious it actually is. When meeting up with Gillian for lunch and walking to the restaurant area way at the back, I was thinking “How big is this place?”
It was packed when we were here for lunch and service was fast. I had a delicious black ink risotto and the creme brulee was as good. Another plus was we sat there for quite some time after lunch, to the point, we were the only ones there but they didn’t “kick us out”.
Places to Eat in Rome, Italy - RED Feltrinelli - Food
I love the atmosphere of this place, it must be the fact that it’s in a bookstore and they also sell specialty food items in the area before getting to the restaurant.
One thing to note is that I came back here for a small tweetup with LazioExplorer and SpacedLaw for a drink one afternoon but service was quite the opposite from lunch. We sat down and no one came with the menu. Eventually, we found they didn’t offer table service and you had to order at the counter.
Places to Eat in Rome, Italy - RED Feltrinelli - Counter
When we were at the counter, the staff asked us what we would like to order and my reply was “Do you have a menu?”. You would think a menu would be helpful!
Via Borgognona 43/44 00187 Roma
Tel. Fax +39 06.960.363.90 +39 06.699.408.36
Location: Near Spanish Steps
I have been here three times and love it. The interior, all painted white with a modern yet simple look feels like a world away from the heatwave we’re experiencing in summer. They also have an outdoor dining area with misters if you were courageous enough to brave the heat.
Places to Eat in Rome, Italy - Ginger - Seating Areas
There is lovely section with fruits and vegetables on display that makes it feel like it’s a place for some guilt-free eating. They also have a cold cuts area with legs of prosciutto hanging overhead.
While I saw some huge plates of cold cuts and some nice selection of fruit platters heading to other tables, I had a sandwich here. I wouldn’t say they are cheap but will say they are decent.
Places to Eat in Rome, Italy - Ginger - Fruits and Prosciutto
On another visit, I got a smoothie at the counter area instead of a table and the price was cheaper. It probably wasn’t a mistake on their part as when I went to pay, they asked if I was seating at the table or counter.
The price was about 20% less than the listed price on the menu which was a nice surprise. I’ll have to do this again, also ordering food to make sure that is the case.

One thing to note is that there were often crowded and service was slow. However, we were there when they just opened and probably didn’t have things quite together yet.
Via di Monte Giordano 60 / 61, Roma
Tel 06-68802461
Location: Near Piazza Navona
I missed the breakfast get together the first time around that Gillian had written about. I was drooling at the fluffy eggs and guanciale and couldn’t wait to have breakfast here when I got back from Sicily.

Thanks to Nathalie who arranged it again when I got back. It was a quiet morning as most residents are still away on vacation and we were only one of two tables that morning. Kudos to Coromandel for staying open when most places are closed.

They had a nice menu selection and though I was tempted by the cake selection, I was craving for a savoury breakfast. I had the image of the fluffly eggs in my head.
It was a hearty breakfast, starting with toast, not plain toast but Italian toast which is like a grilled cheese sandwich. I am not complaning as the scrambled eggs also came with plain toast. Unfortunately, the eggs weren’t quite what I had expected and what came to mind was “This isn’t like the fluffy eggs that I saw on Gillian’s post“.
Places to Eat in Rome, Italy - Coromandel - Set Breakfast

Disappointing but maybe the head chef was on vacation. Who knows? I will just have to go back again as their friendly staff, elegant interior and reasonable prices made up for the eggs..
Via delle Muratte, 23 / 00187 Rome
Open Daily from 8:30am to 2:00am
Reservations: 06 6994 1166
Location: Near Trevi Fountain
I was there just this past Friday for breakfast with some awesome company. Baccano claims to open at 8.30am but that’s probably when they open but not when they are ready to serve breakfast.
Places to Eat in Rome, Italy - Baccano - Breakfast
You would be less disappointed if you showed up at 9.00am. We got the set menu with eggs and bacon which were served with french fries. That’s new! Nathalie, who is French, also highly recommends the whole wheat croissant.
Places to Eat in Rome, Italy - BaccanoStaff were friendly and we were here until lunch. Very nice of them not to chase us away but they place was relatively empty.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One foot in Italy One foot in America: I am an Italian American


As an Italian American do you feel that you have one foot in America and one in Italia?

The Italian American dilemma...

Street Parking!
When I tell people in Italy I am Italian American,  they seem  'surprised' and not sure what that means.    I wonder if Italians really think Italian Americans are true  Italian?   Certainly not the same as a native Italian.

What about Italians who immigrated to the USA.   Did they consider themselves Italian Americans?Perhaps this is how an immigrant feels when they arrive at their new destination.  But when I arrive in Italy every year, I feel as if I have come Home to Italy.

Cafe in Piazza San Marco, Venice

I often wonder what traditions are the same in Italy that  families observed in America.   So I started to ask Italian Americans what traditions do they remember.

Did it matter where you lived in the USA?
     Were traditions practiced in the northeast differ from those in the Midwest or West coast? 

Where is your family from?
What impact did the region your family immigrated from have on  family traditions.   Did Venetians observe the same holidays as Sicilians?

Cloister in Capri
Since many first generations Italians are no longer with us I  have a sense of urgency to find the answers to these questions and many more.

So I am asking all my fellow Italian Americans to take a few minutes and tell me what  you remember about living as an Italian American?

   Topics can included of course food, holidays, did you speak Italian at home.   More interesting topics have been mentioned in the few interviews I have done:   making wine in the basement, the entire family meeting for Sunday dinner, at weddings the bride carried a bag for 'donations',  having a family garden,  viewings for funerals held at home, multi generational households.

 The list goes on and on.    And a few surprises popped up on my first few interviews:   relatives who had been 'away at college' really meant they had been incarcerated!

A memory I still have is of a  favorite aunt who had beautiful furniture covered with custom fitted plastic covers and how in the summer your legs stuck to the couch!        Italian may have  been spoken at home only among the adults almost as a secret language or when they wanted to swear in front of children.
View over Sorrento marina

Food was an ongoing theme.   And lots of food.   Holidays especially featured both Italian foods and an 'American roast or turkey'.   There is an ongoing battle over if you called it sauce or gravy.      Parts of NYC insist it was 'gravy'. But across the river in NJ it was always sauce. And I can remember my mother starting the sauce on Saturday and cooking it all day for Sunday's dinner. 

Loyalty to the family and your family responsibilities came first.     Respect for your grandparents who were the head of the family.    Secrecy. .......

Field Trip
Tell me where your family immigrated from so we can compare practices.   I want to explore
superstitions, folk stories, religious practices, patron saints  and even games you played.  I remember visiting Pepe in Sorrento on his 'naming day'.  I thought this was his birthday but it was explained that you have a patron saint that you were named for and celebrated that day.     During the short visit at his office  a number of friends came in to congratulate him on this day.....I thought I was part of a soprano episode.

Will anyone be able to tell me more about  the courageous Italians who helped allied soldiers who found themselves behind enemy lines.      Or the USA  Italian internment camps during WWII.

There is so much to learn and your comments will send me in search of answers.   I return to Italia in October and will search for some of the answers.

If you would like the complete survey when it is published, send me an email:   under comments