Rome Restaurant Tips

After a couple of weeks home, I am slowly descending from the Rome food cloud. My re-entry strategy was to avoid Italian food for a week so my tastes could reset to my typical American palate.  So, of course, I've been eating Mexican food.

However, I'm emotionally ready to go back to one of the happiest food places you can find with a few practical tips.

Do your homework.

In my case, this meant trusting the researchers in our group.  Dave, Lisa, and Billy kept their buddy Rick Steves close by and that guy's not going to steer you wrong.  Yelp is also pretty consistent, providing there is a large quantity of reviewers, but on this trip when we were in doubt, Steves helped us out!

Listen to the experts

If you're fortunate enough to have a foodie in the group, let them take control.  For me, that was my dear friend Cathy who not only pals around with food critics, but reads EVERY single link she can click through.  Her list was a mile long, so I deferred to her recommendations every time!

Go Local

Pay attention to what's in the market (you MUST walk the markets!) and buy what's most available. In Rome that's going to mean hams, pasta, cheese, and fresh vegetables.  Get out of the "grilled chicken" mindset and if it's not summer, don't expect to find much fruit on the menu. Adjust and "have what they're having." We were fortunate enough to be in Rome during artichoke season so you could find beautiful shaved artichoke salads.Or the scrumptious fried version.

Opt for simple

Perhaps my favorite thing about Roman cooking was how simple trumps complex. A handful of REALLY fabulous ingredients are going to shine better than layer upon layer of flavors.  Fresh pasta with pepper -- sounds boring, right?  Wrong!

Even a humble bread "basket" shines when what's inside complements the meal so well.

Be Brave

Try new foods.  If you're traveling even if you don't typically "like" something, you haven't had THIS version of a dish.  What's the worst thing that can happen?  You miss a meal... maybe?

You'll be fine.

Expand your horizons.  If you haven't tried truffles, give it a go (YUM). Is the cheese name unfamiliar?  Don't worry! Try!!

Say yes!

This is not the time for anything on the side or any substitutions.Extra cheese? Yes please!!

Keep Good Company

Of course, the best part of any dining experience is the company you keep.  Enjoy the people you're with - listen well and laugh often. Be kind to the people serving you and make the most of your time. 

These shots are mostly from our first night at a tasty spot near Campo Di Fiori called Da Francesco.  (Thanks Rick Steves.)  Put it on your short list should you visit Roma.

You'll love it.