Mostly because we're running out of clean clothes (#grateful for Zara here) and I'm afraid to send my stuff to the hotel laundry because there's a chance it could get fried in the dryer (For the record, I'm anti-dryer unless we're talking about things like sheets and towels.), I asked B. to ask the concierge for a casual restaurant nearby with great food. When he started recommending, I distinctly heard him mention truffles which (in my mind) usually equal fancy, and pricey, so that place def got the kibosh. We also looked it up online and spied something about dark wood paneling and elegance. Does that sound cas? Uhhh, no.
Later, we ended up hanging out at the rooftop bar of the hotel, where you can get wine, mixed drinks, olives (fantastic ones actually), chips, and outstanding views of the city. There we met a guy visiting Rome on biz, who basically spent an hour trying to ingratiate himself into our group and our conversation. (Be warned - This happens a lot when your group includes a size 2, 20-something, socialable, blonde-ish girl.) He did tell us about this fab restaurant, hidden away nearby on one of the quieter side streets, where locals and tourists-in-the-know go, so guess there was an upside. (One more thing - he really wanted us to know he lives in the Hamptons and has a house in Miami...Whatevs.)
To the restaurant we went and as soon as we started digging in to the food, I knew I was going to be blogging about it. First off (and our friend with the multiple residences had told us this already), you get a menu, but that's essentially the end of any traditional ordering process. What they do after the menu drop is start bringing over plates to share, kinda/sorta based off your initial comments/requests when you sat down. Family style. Now, I think B. would agree that almost everything was incredible - the white beans with olive oil, the stuffed artichokes, the pasta fagioli, the pasta w/cheese and pepper, the mushrooms, the ravioli, the spaghetti, and the 3-4 other dishes I'm probably omitting due to the red wine which accompanied them. (For the record, B. did not like the beef carpaccio, but we've heard again & again that beef is really not the thing to order in Italy.) The dishes were also not loaded down with layers of cheese, which is way too common at most of the eateries that thrive on feeding the waves of tourists. (Yea, too much cheese is a thing here.)
Beyond the dishes, the interior of the restaurant is charming in that late 20th century, 'your grandmother's kitchen' (and specifically NOT the dining room, which was most likely cordoned off for special occasions, like visits from the relatives from Italy or something) sense and one of the waiters did remind us of Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. He even sang an Italian song on Snapchat with B. Our waiter, who gets points for even knowing what Snapchat is, had a running joke that the restaurant has the best food, but horrible service. ("You cannot have both.") Despite his refrain however, our service was in fact good and more consistent than a lot of the other cafes and bistros we've visited in the last few days. (We've found that the wait people tend to take your order, bring it to the table, and then, basically forget about you and disappear.) So, if you're ever in Rome - and I hope you are! - give this place a go:
Hostaria da Pietro, Trattoria Romana, Via di Gesu e maria, 18 - 00187 Roma
Ciao for Now,
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of us