Who else to call for tips when going to Rome but the lady who introduced Filipinos to al dente pasta, Margarita Fores.
My first time in Rome a few years ago for the canonization of St. Pedro Calungsod, I asked for tips on where to eat and hunted down her recommendations. They were all delish!
Ristorante Al 34
After visiting the tourist must-see of the Spanish Steps, you can walk to via dei Condotti and just around the corner on Mario de Fiori is Ristorante 34. If you come in the spring or summer you may be lucky enough to eat al fresco and one of those musicians with accordions might just pass by and play on the street. A real Italian experience!
It is also beautiful inside, though, with a rustic charm about the restaurant. Their website says this restaurant was founded in 1968 (!) and is now a second generation restaurant, run by son Nicola and wife Maria Luisa of founder Walter Casalini.
They serve classic Roman cuisine. I was pleasantly surprised by how they incorporate arugula into their pasta!
Gelateria San Crispino
You can’t go to Rome and not have gelato. I mean, even Audrey Hepburn recommended it in Roman Holiday. Remember?
But Margarita Fores’ recommendation was nearer Campo dei Fiori. It’s a gelato store called San Crispino.
Incidentally, this is also the gelateria recommended in the book (and movie) Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts.
This is what the Telegraph UK had to say about this gelateria: “Rome’s original gourmet gelateria – as featured in the book Eat Pray Love – is still one of the best. It’s pricey by local standards but the most you’ll pay for a large tub is around £5. Don’t miss the zabaione flavour. Branches at Piazza della Maddalena 3 (Pantheon) and Via della Panetteria 42 (Trevi Fountain).”
Since it was supposedly the best gelato in Rome AND because there was a Filipino behind the counter, I had not only one flavor but THREE.
Forno, Campo dei Fiori
So apparently if you want pizza in Italy, you have to go all the way to Naples. Instead, you can have Roman pizza bianca which is essentially toasted bread LOL.
Margarita recommended Forno at Campo dei Fiori. It must be very popular because we met a girl from Turino on our walk to Campo dei Fiori and she was also looking for this place!
No cheese, no tomato sauce, nothing that you would expect from a pizza. LOL. But it was cooked in a brick oven and it was a really tasty flat bread! My mom and I and our new friend ate it right by the statue of Giordano Bruno. (We had originally joked it was Darth Vader!)
Another great place at Campo dei Fiori (down the alley) is a place that serves Italy’s response to Britain’s fish n chips: Filetti Baccala. They serve bacalau but fish n chips style .We happened to be beside these two guys (the seats are really close to each other) and they laughed at us when we asked for tartar sauce LOL. Italians are purists, apparently. And you just have the fillets as is or with just a bit of salt. Anyway, it’s alread yperfect as it is!