Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

(Published: 08/28/99)

The magic of the Eternal City lies in the unique balance of its trendsetting present with its hallowed past. Though Rome's monuments are legendary, it is a city first and foremost about people—people who enjoy food and la dolce vita. Business travelers should take time out to view some of Rome's architectural wonders, and to taste some of its gutsy, substantial fare prepared alla romana.


Explanation of the toques ratings system

Prices (€) indicate the cost of a three-course dinner per person, including tax and tip—but not wine.
€ --under €20
€€ --under €35
€€€ --under €50
€€€€ --€50 & up
Checchino dal 1887
Via di Monte Testaccio 30, (06) 5746318
2 toques

This century-old, family-owned trattoria adjoins Monte Testaccio, an imposing mound of pottery shards piled up over 500 years by Roman slaves. In fact, the restaurant's wine cellar was dug out of the terra-cotta fragments and as a result enjoys a cool temperature year-round. It's a perfect spot to try classic Roman pastas, and such unusual—but savory—dishes as tripe, stewed oxtail and beans with caul fat. Superb wines and cheese round off an unforgettable meal here.

La Pergola
Rome Cavalieri Hilton Hotel, Via Cadlolo 101, (06) 35091
3 toques

The chef at what many today consider to be the best restaurant in Rome isn't Italian but German—Heinz Beck. (According to fans, Beck's success springs from having mastered not only Italian cooking but the Italian mentality.) Among Beck's seasonal specialties: tomato terrine with deep-fried anchovies, marinated mackerel with tomato, guinea fowl with black olives and simple but sublime pastas. All this plus a breathtaking city view from this perch atop the Rome Cavalieri Hilton.

Agata e Romeo
Via Carlo Alberto 45, (06) 4466115
3 toques

Chef Agata Parisiella and her husband, host and sommelier Roemo Caraccio, have converted a trattoria into an attractive and comfortable spot for Agata's creative dishes. You'll marvel at her cod salad with sweet peppers and olives, eels with pine nuts and raisins, such pastas as risotto with nettles and porcini and rabbit with eggplant purée. The wine list lives up to this breathtaking cuisine.

Il San Pietrino
Piazza Costaguiti 16, (06) 68806471
2 toques

Pasola Di Mauro, known as the best "mama chef" in Rome, inspired her son, Armando, to open this terrific, new, rustic-yet-elegant jewel. The cuisine is classic with modern touches, and includes such stellar dishes as gnocchi with porcini and baby clams, and leg of lamb roasted with artichokes and herbs.

La Rosetta
Via della Rosetta 9, (06) 68308841
2 toques

Since this is one of Rome's most popular restaurants (for good reason) don't even think about arriving without a reservation. The seafood is the freshest in Rome—you'll be confronted with a tempting display of the daily selection when you walk in. Among our favorite dishes: spaghetti with scampi and zucchini blossoms, grilled turbot with oysters, red mullet perfumed with sage or striped bass baked in a salt crust.


Explanation of the Golden Key ratings system

Hotel Eden
Via Ludovisi 49, (06) 478121, Fax (06) 4821584

Built in 1889 and restored to its original glory, the Forte-owned Eden is the hotel of the moment in Rome. Its 112 rooms and suites are amazingly quiet (for a city full of honking motorists and noisy Vespas) and beautifully equipped; the bathrooms are sumptuous and the service is truly distinguished. From the rooftop terrace, there's a sublime view of the city, and the hotel's location near the Spanish Steps puts it at the center of chic.

De La Ville Inter-Continental Rome
Via Sistina 67/69, (06) 67331, Fax: (06) 678-4213

This excellent hotel, just steps from the top of the Spanish Steps, features 192 spacious guest rooms, a handsome bar and restaurant and lovely gardens. As an Inter-Continental catering to business travelers, the De La Ville features several meeting rooms and a business center.

Rome Cavalieri Hilton
Via A. Cadlolo 101, (06) 35091, Fax (06) 35092241

This recently renovated hotel complex stretches out over 14 acres atop Monte Mario, and offers a stupendous view of Rome. It boasts the city's largest conference and banquet facilities, a business center, an executive club floor with a private concierge and secretarial services, clay tennis courts, a swimming pool, a health-and-fitness center with a turkish bath and jogging paths. Its rooftop restaurant, La Pergola (see above) is superb.

(Updated: 06/23/08 HC)

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