A Little Rest and Relaxation in Rome

Last week Siobhan and I did something we haven’t done in over 7 years, went away for a night together, just us, no kids! Thanks to 2 special Aussies we made our escape to Rome for the night. Although Siobhan spends a lot of her time in Rome, I rarely get the chance to get down and I LOVE Rome.

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For this trip we did a bit of planning before and booked a nice hotel in a central location, the Hotel Adriano on Via di Pallacorda. A few of Siobhan’s brides have stayed here so Siobhan knew it was a nice place, we got a nice room in the annex building which are bigger than the main hotel room, they are on the 5th floor of the building and the little lift only goes to the 4th floor so you need to walk up the last, but that wasn’t a problem. The hotel is really smart and the breakfast spread was very good.

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We also did a bit of planning for places to eat, one of the main reasons for going to Rome for us! After reading through reviews on Trip Advisor, Katie Parla’s great blog, and a few other Rome Food blogs we found a few places we wanted to try.

The first of these was for lunch, after checking into the hotel we made our way in the pouring rain to the Monti area to find our lunch reservation at L’Asino D’Oro on Via Del Boschetto. This little place is run by an Umbrian chef, he originally had his restaurant in Orvieto and moved it down to Rome a few years ago, since then he moved again to its present location. At lunch, they only do a set menu, 3 courses plus water and a glass of wine for a very reasonable 13 Euro. (UPDATE: As of Summer 2015 this offer is no longer availble). The menu is different every day and using only in season produce, we loved it. The portions are small but perfect for lunch we thought. The food was well cooked and really tasty and well balanced, the service was perfect too. We had booked a table that morning and I would advise to, the place was full and it seemed that all the tables were booked in advance. A good start!

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After a bit of shopping and wandering the streets of Rome we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go out again! First stop was an apertivo at the Gin Bar in our Hotel, supposedly famous for its gin cocktails. The flamboyant bartender certainly loved his job, taking time to mix a few drinks, there was only 3 other people at the bar but it took about 10 mins for us to get our drinks. Seeing it was a gin joint I had my usual, a negroni and Siobhan got a white lady. I have to say it was probably the best negroni I have ever had, just perfect and the white lady was good too, just as well as it took him about 5 mins to make it and lots of ass shaking too. The drinks were good, not so much the price, 21 Euro for 2 drinks!

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Next stop we headed across the river to Trastevere, this is where our reservation for dinner was and seeing as it was still a bit early we headed for another recommended spot, Freni e Frizioni. This is a trendy hangout on Via Del Politeama, just off the Lungotevere. If you are hungry they lay on a big buffet of salads, pasta, rice etcetera, you can help yourself, just buy a drink and tuck in – a handy place if you were watching the pennies. As we were going to eat, we passed on the buffet and just had a drink and did some people watching before wandering over to our dinner reservation at Trattoria Da Teo on Piazza Ponziani.

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There was a really nice buzz in this place, and really good food, we found another great little gem and definitely a place where we will visit again. The portions were huge though, too big and after we ordered the 3 guys sitting at the table next to us, who were obviously regulars as all the staff knew them ordered just ‘mezza porzione’ of pasta each, they also shared a few different plates of antipasti, a good tip for future visits. Neither of us are normally dessert people but to finish our meal we shared a beautiful little dish of Zabaglione topped with tiny wild strawberries, just perfect.

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Being really greedy and trying to cram in as much as possible I had made a reservation at one last place for lunch before we headed back to Acquasparta, following good reviews we were booked into Armando al Pantheon. This restaurant you probably wouldn’t stop at unless you knew about it because it is right beside the Pantheon, but it is generally seen as one of the best places for authentic ‘Cucina Romana’. It is a tiny little restaurant but the food is very good, we only had a small antipasto and a pasta dish each but we will go back and sample more the next time, the food was pretty special, the simple little bruschetta was unbelievably good and the ‘mozzarella di bufala’, made that morning was amazing. Armando al Pantheon is a must if you are in Rome, book ahead though if you want to get a table.

– Conor.

Below some photos by Siobhan, who else?

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