How To Avoid Tourist Trap Restaurants In Rome

Rome, and Italy in general, are (also) famous for food. When you visit a City for the first time, or even when it’s your second or third time in a place, unfortunately you can encounter a tourist trap. An unpleasant experience, which can turn into a waste of money and even expectations. You have to be careful if you want to eat well.

How can you recognize a tourist trap, in order to avoid it? First of all, they are often located close to the most famous monuments. These are 5 signs more you should consider.

Hw to avoid tourist traps

Go off the beaten path

When you enter a restaurant and you find all the plates and ingredients translated in 5 or 6 languages, maybe you‘ve just picked up the wrong one. Probably it’s also close to the busiest area of the city. Try to run away as soon as possible, because you’ll probably eat something you won’t like. Lose yourself in the  Eternal City, walk around in the side roads, away from the obvious places, and you’ll discover better restaurants.

You find too many asterisks in the menu

In Italy all the ingredients in the menu that are frozen and not fresh must be indicated with an asterisk. If there are a bit too many asterisks – usually used for vegetables, fish or fried food – and even the pasta or pizza are frozen, you’d better escape.

Regional dishes in the wrong place

If you go to a restaurant in Rome and you find some regional dishes from another areas of Italy- like ‘trofie al pesto’, pasta with basil pesto, which is from Liguria, or ‘pasta alla norma’, pasta with ricotta, tomato, aubergine and basil which is from Sicily- there is a problem. When in Rome, try traditional Roman dishes, like cacio e pepe, amatriciana, coda alla vaccinara…

You don’t see locals

You don’t see locals around. On the contrary, the restaurant is full of tourists like you. If a restaurant or a pizzeria offers you a “tourist menu”, there are many chances you’re going to eat in a tourist trap. A good restaurant doesn’t usually have a menù like this. Maybe has some “dish of the day”, which is a different thing. And Romans go there to have lunch or dinner.

You don’t find that restaurant in a guide

Carry out research in advance. Check the local guides, read newspapers, have a look on websites. Don’t decide at the very last moment, otherwise you’ll probably too hungry to make the correct  choice. If you can, plan your holidays but also your meals.

Rome is full of good places to eat, don’t miss them! Check our blog for tips and book your holiday apartment with us: you won’t regret it!

 

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10 Experiences You Can’t Miss In Rome – Part 1

Rome is a city that makes you sigh and dream: we told it a lot of times. Its most famous monuments, such as the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, just to name a few, always leave you breathless, even after having seen them dozens of times. But Rome also has many other experiences to live. Here are 10 things that we think you should do at least once in life.

  • Take a walk to Villa Borghese and then visit the Gallery of Modern Art, which houses around 20,000 works including paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations as well as masterpieces by Klimt, Monet, Van Gogh, Hayez.

  • Visit the statue of Pasquino near Piazza Navona, one of the most famous and best-preserved “talking statues” in the city.
  • Eat the Roman pizza bianca, better if freshly baked, in the Campo de’ Fiori bakery (forno).

Photo credit: @richmondinrome-Instagram

  • Go up the 28 stairs of the Scala Santa, at the Basilica of S. Giovanni in Laterano, strictly on your knees, as tradition requires.
  • Read a book and relax in the wonderful Giardino degli Aranci, admiring the view of Rome before leaving.

  • Visit the Jewish Ghetto and the quiet square of the Fontana delle Tartarughe, before arriving at the bustling city life in via Arenula.

Photo credit: @hescia-Instagram

  • Try the typical and artisanal buiscuits and sweets of Valzani pastry shop in Trastevere, a historical shop that smells of authentic Roman history.
  • Visit the Protestant cemetery in Testaccio, an oasis of peace in which artists and writers are buried and in which many cats are often found to laze.

  • Try the “sorchetta“- a Roman cake with an equivocal name- from the “sorchettaro” near the Termini station, which is only open at night. A rather “sinful” experience that only Rome can offer!

Photo credit: @cocotoletta-Instagram

  • Do a roaring trade at Porta Portese, the historic market of Rome, where you can find almost everything: the important thing is to deal with the price!

An authentic Rome, as you may have never experienced before, is what you can often find in small gestures and in not very crowded places.

The Best GELATO In Rome! #2

With this not-so-ingenious title here we go with five more of our favourite gelato-parlours in the Eternal City – Enjoy or better, try them all!

 

il gelato torceIl Gelato
Via dell’Aeronautica, 105 (EUR)

We love to explore the districts of Rome following the tastes of artisan gelato! Here, we are in the heart of EUR (Esposizione Universale di Roma) impressive residential and business district planned by Mussolini. The Great Master of artisan gelato has his sober original laboratory here, though his creations can be found in several points of Rome. Claudio Torcè is famous for his meticulous research for perfection and clean, natural, high quality ingredients but not only! Some of his creations (especially the ones at the end of the long glass bar with over 70 flavors) are more than surprising! Would you try Mortadella (you know the pork sausage Sophia Loren tried to take to NYC in Lady Liberty?) or the spiciest Habanero? Celery or Gorgonzola cheese maybe? If you are for more classic flavors, try the fruit which are almost all without milk and other allergenic. Or choose from the almost 20 different choclolates, we recommend the one with Himalaya salt. Our absolute favourite flavors are the ones with ricotta! With honey and chocolate, with bluberries or with orange peels and bourbon…. and the whipped cream (home made, of course) is just so delicate and soft, a must try even if you usually decline it.
(They have a central located branch in Viale Aventino 59 too!)

 

teatroGelateria del Teatro
Via dei Coronari, 65

The Institution par excellence of the artisan gelaterie in Rome with timeless elegance. They have an open laboratory so you can admire the creation process from the very ingredient turned into addiction called gelato. We especially love to sit at the tiny space outside with the small round tables surrounded by beautiful flowers, sometimes a cat passing by, so intimate rounding the special experience of this extraordinary place. They play a lot with herbs as complementary flavors, lavender with peach, basil and rapsberry, sage or rosemary with lemon… give them a try you’ll not regret the refreshing taste and the mastery of the flavor combinations. (A new location has been opened in Lungotevere dei Vallati, 25 too!)

 

neve di latte gelatoNeve di Latte
Via Luigi Poletti, 6

New, fizzy, love at first sight. Though they opened in 2011 and won the Best Gelato in Italy prize in 2013, the minimal laboratory in Flaminio district feels brand new, with its clean and pure outlines. Near to the MAXXI (21st century Art Museum) Simone Romano’s pride is worth the (literally) extra mile you’re walking for it. The location features a separate room with wooden and metal design if you want to enjoy your gelato inside instead of walking. All natural ingredients and rigorous high quality are the very base of Neve di Latte. The origin of the ingredients are all listed, such as the organic milk from a German producer, Amadei chocolate, arabic coffee beans and seasonal, mostly local, organic fruit. The fruit flavors called sorbetto are all without milk, have a unique consistence and harmony in taste. Simone is there for you to recommend combinations of the actual flavors, explain the process of the creation and as well to share his passion for his beloved gelato.

 

neve di latte gelato bar

 

Come Il Latte
Via Silvio Spaventa, 24

Oh, the hedonistic gelato heaven… Can you believe we haven’t yet made it to a foto? When we get our cup we just forget about everything else… There.
Come il Latte (just like milk) is located near the central Piazza della Repubblica, and as we learnt, has been opened by a former employee of I Caruso (established gelato artisans, very worth to try). They make the most creamy and rich and soft gelato we have ever tasted!  Of course, only carefully selected high quality ingredients, additive-free preparation, but the cream! That’s amore, as the commercial says, the flavors are rounded and rich, smooth yet not in the silky way, completed with surprising crunchy pieces here and there. Salted caramel and Zabaione are Heaven on Earth, also the fruit flavors are just perfect. We loved Fig and Chestnut, worth to mention that some flavors among fruit are also dairy free.
And in Come il Latte is not all about flavors! The crunchy cones and whipped cream and chocolate topping take the gelato-experience to a higher level giving the hedonist what they deserve! You can have your cone or cookie dipped in white or dark chocolate, or you can ask the chocolate topping onto your gelato , it’s included in the price of your cone.

 

ilgrezzo urbana gelatoIl Grezzo
Via Urbana, 130

Ok, it’s not the classic gelateria but they are definitely a unique spot in the supertrendy via Urbana as the first raw and vegan place in Rome! All their creations are made with organic, vegan and raw very high quality ingredients. The heart of these is the raw chocolate of not toasted but dried beans. All the cakes, cookies, pralines and desserts are made this way, raw and vegan, and they are incredibly delicious!  In the summer they have also gelato, made with almond milk, cashews and coconut meat for the creamy texture, sweetened by coconut sugar. This preparation method takes to a very intense flavor, like in coffee and chocolate, you will definitely not need a coffee afterwards. Fruit flavors are also all with organic fruit, lemon is something fabulous, mango is also a favourite.
If you’re not so into gelato, try the Sacher cake or Mango cheesecake – you won’t regret it!

 

Read also the first part of the Treasure Hunt for the Best Gelato in Rome!

The Best GELATO In Rome!

Among The Best Things To Do In Rome there’s inarguably a nice afternoon – evening walk on the cobblestoned streets of the historical center… tasting a refreshing, melty, not too sweet GELATO!

fatamorgana betreasure

Gelato is a treat to enjoy almost all year round in Rome but in the summer gets definitely in the center of the attention. Becomes the lunch Romans choose instead of the usual tramezzino or panino. Families and group of friends see each other after dinner or after work for a big gelato-reunion staying till’ late night on the piazza in cheerful crowds.

I confess the title is a bit misleading. Truth is we haven’t found THE best yet… BUT!
Your satisfaction is our highest priority and we take this one very seriously. We don’t care about distance, time and effort, don’t fear elements and queues! Giving it all to keep our list of the best gelato places in Rome constantly up-to-date, verified and tested.

In our opinion the experience of having a gelato in Rome on a scale of 5 to 1 can be lifechanging, “can eat this all day long”, mediocre, “meh”, or “never again”.
We love gelato, (life is too short for the bad ones) so we frequent mostly the fivestar places; the particular, handmade or better, artisan gelaterie.
Here’s 5 of our favourites this year, second part is coming soon stay tuned, because we can’t stop eating exploring the flavours of the Eternal City!

 

fassiFassi
Via Principe Eugenio, 65
Il Palazzo del Freddo di Giovanni Fassi is a “can eat this all day long” but we have to mention it first, as it’s the Oldest Italian Gelato Factory. Fassi is an institution in Rome, you’d feel it right away entering the huge hall of the Palace. First you pay your portion size at the cashier’s desk then you go to choose your 3-4-5 flavours. Be aware, the sizes are named small-medium-large but they’re very very generous ones! Cream topping is also handmade, flavours are mostly the classic ones, though Fassi is an absolute must if you’re in Rome for more than 4 days or with children! It’s definitely a family place, you’ll feel at home and welcome every time, wether alone or with a party of 10. The sitting area is very well equipped, there’s a small fountain whenever you’d want water, a small bar and a tiny garden-courtyard to sit out on the bench enjoying your gelato.

 

fatamorganaFatamorgana
Piazza degli Zingari, 5
Our all time favourite of flavour-combination the wonderful Fatamorgana! They have more than one shop in the center, though we like this one on the small piazza with its fountain, and it’s just beside the supertrendy via Urbana, which is another plus. Glutenfree, many flavours are lactose and milkfree as well, all ingredients are high quality, natural and carefully selected… Strawberry-lemon-cointreau was one of the flavours of June, can’t wait for July! And absolutely to try the Seadas – this one is with pecorino from Sardinia Island and orange peel… Mmmmmm and the caramel! (Ok I stop here.)

 

olive dolciOlive Dolci
Via Emanuele Filiberto, 140
The first vegan gelateria and pastry shop in Rome! We were privileged to see its birth since we have our Casa Mara apartment right in the building, we fortunately have plenty of occasions to test and try all the goodies of this brand new beautiful place. All products are completely vegan and gluten free, if you have any food intollerance, this is the place for you! Not to mention how good their gelato is! Genuine, clear and intense flavours, try ginger and pear or go for the robust dark chocolate for a stronger experience. No cream topping here, for obvious reasons.

 

mcodgMela e Cannella
via Oderisi da Gubbio, 71
They are the best when it comes to fruit and spices combination! As their name says, apple and cinnamon are divine together just as their other creations are. We have high quality, natural ingredients here, no conservants, no additives, rigorous handmade preparation and proud artisan approach. Mela e Cannella is close to Trastevere station and Piazzale della Radio, afternoon hours are the best to go. Don’t miss it if you like fruit and nuts flavours, you’ll be enchanted by the variety of spices and their intense taste.

 

2552118154_2e0fae9dba_zFior Di Luna
Via della Lungaretta, 96
Only cups here, the cone is not for Trastevere’s best artisan gelateria! Fior di Luna stand for fair trade, ecologic and organic production, they use only fresh ingredients and season fruits coming from mostly local organic farms. We love them for the conscious approach and we adore them for the perfect gelato they make! Ask for help to combine the flavours, they are always very helpful and if there’s something you have never tried they’ll let you have a taste of it. The gelateria is in a busy street in the heart of Trastrevere so prepare yourself for a long line of gelato lovers especially in the evenings! It’s truly worth every minute of the wait.

 

 

 

 

Do you know which great Master artisan of the Italian gelato has created the weird kinky flavors of Habanero and Mortadella with Pistachios? Next time will be revealed!

il gelato

 

BeTreasure Tip: Do yourself a favour and check this perfect guide on how to avoid gelateria-traps in Rome (and in other cities). Thumbs up for Katie Parla!

 

(Images are own or flickr.)

 

 

Rome By Night – Friends, Secrets and Double Cream!

Ever wondered if there’s something cool and authentic to do between 1.00 and 5.00 am in the Eternal City? Sure you did! 🙂 In fact, there is something the books hardly write about. Since you are here, you’re not a common visitor (virtually or not) in Rome but a friend. And between friends there are no secrets, or better, they share them. We’re gonna share one with you now; the Authentic, Delicious Secret of the Roman Nights!

Campo-de-Fiori-at-night-photo-by-Kwong-Yee-Cheng-on-flickrThere are numerous valid reasons to find yourself wondering the cobblestoned streets of the Eternal City at, let’s say 2.00am. Such as a romantic Rome by night walking tour on an early summer night… An event with friends, like a concert at the Auditorium, a football match at the Stadio Olimpico, or a night out in a club around Testaccio.
Whatever the reason is, it’s 2.00am (or maybe 4.00 am if from Testaccio) and you’re heading to bed – now we give you 3 reasons why not to (yet).

Actually, the reason is only one. It’s called “cornetteria notturna“.cornetteria12 After a night out you may feel a very reasonable craving. You’re right, it’s not exactly feel reasonable but more becomes an extreme priority at that point – that’s why Romans have mastered to perfection the art of late night snacks in these special Labs of Temptation. They are open only at night with an intense perfume of freshly baked pastries that enchants everyone already as gets close to the entrance. Before heading home for locals is a must-stop, and highly reccommended for you too!

Remember the italian breakfast? They are the cornetti you’ll prefer for your perfect colazione, only at night they are much better! 7321764202_41f6162d12_zRecharge your sugar level and your mood with a hot, spongy, puffy cornetto, flat or filled with delicious cream, nutella, marmalade; or with a maritozzo, the tipical Roman sweet bun filled with whipped cream…! What can be better than a warm, soft, fragrant sweet pastry with a hot caffelatte at late night in a small cornetto lab, sharing the passion with your fellow night wanderers – because be aware, the best places are always full and busy with chocolate-signed faces, overpacked to-go bag carriers hurrying away with their treasure, happy child-smiles highlighted in the neon lights – just like yours!

Well, as the best ones, the masters of night cornetto worth gold to know, here you are three of our favourite addresses near the center!

Pasticceria Lambiase a.k.a.5838462813_bf56b34ca8_mIl Sorchettaro” via Cernaia, 49
Near to Piazza Repubblica and Porta Pia the cosy underground night baker patisserie, Il Sorchettaro as locals name the place, is the cornetteria notturna par excellence in Rome. Speciality is la sorchetta a doppio schizzo, a danish roll with whipped cream and chocolate topping. What to say? Got to get one. Or two… Now!

Dolce Maniera, Via Barletta,27
Near the Vatican City, always busy night place, not only sweet pastries but pizza, focaccia and panini. Crowded in front and inside, an underground tiny lab with all the delicacies of the cornetto-world. To try and to return, the “bomba” (doughnut) with chocolate filling is the most effective calory boost diet killer that exists in the entire world.

Il Cornettone, via Oderisi da Gubbio, 215
The biggest choice of cornetti you can ever imagine, always full of hungry groups, busy and loud, the must place to go after a night of clubbing and dancing with friends and if by car don’t be impressed to park in 4th line, it’s just the normality.

 

 

Christmas Stand-Off: Panettone vs. Pandoro

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas holidays is an excellent period to visit the Eternal City: life slows down, there’s time for long afternoon walks on the festive streets of the historical center full of lights and magic… here’s a really cool guide for things to do and see around.

And as for the Christmas Derby? In the Italian households it’s also time for the eternal debate of the season – Pandoro or Panettone? pandoropanettone

The two traditional Chrismas cakes are both sweet and spongey, though they are able to cause lively discussions on which to purchase for the family dinner. It’s a tough one, pros and cons on both sides – let’s see if you can pick a favourite!

flickr.comPandoro, “golden bread” has its origins in the beautiful Verona. Shaped usually like an 8 pointed star, it’s an elegant dessert on the Christmas table. Sliced accordingly, horizontally, it maintains the form and can also be re-assembled putting various fillings between the slices. Light texture, simple, delicious cake with sweet vanilla profume… Just perfect.

Beloved by children because of the nice interactive touch – you take out from the box the bag with the Pandoro in it and beside you find a small pocket of vanilla icing sugar. You pour it in the big bag, close the top and shake the bag until the sugar powder covers all the sweet cake. It’s really fun!

Curiosity: as reported in the wikipedia article, Pandoro was also the last meal eaten by Mussolini before his execution.

flickr.comPanettone, “large bread” or “Toni’s cake” is the traditional Christmas holiday cake for excellence originally from Milan. Shaped like a cupola, or like a high puffy muffin, inside with dried raisins and candied fruits: orange, lemon usually. The top can either be plain, or covered with icing and almond slices or with chocolate. For dinner with a glass of dessert wine or for breakfast with a hot tea… sweet indulgence.

Candied fruits – love or despise, that’s your call. Character, structure, masculine delight are the distinctive elements of Panettone, a popular cake not only in Italy but in Latin American countries as well.

Haven’t decided yet? The perfect solution is definitely to purchase both and alternate the slices, or also try the many variants of these sweet temptations! Chocolate filling, vanilla cream filling, chocolate on top, almonds on top… Afterall, there’s still plenty of time til’ Christmas and New Year’s Eve, isn’t there?