Monday, February 7, 2011

Belated Vacation Review - Days 1-5 - Rome, Italy

The long awaited quick summary of the "Big Trip" in 2010.  From October 23 - November 14 the dear wife and I took our first vacation to Europe.  We embarked on a  whirlwind trip encompassing 12 cities in 4 countries over the course of 21 days.  Our first stop was Rome, as we had 5 days before we were due to dock embark the Star Princes for our Greek Isles Cruise we decided to visit the marvelous city of Rome and take a side trip up to Montevarchi to visit the Prada factory.  

Alas since this is a food blog, I won't bore you with all the boring details. 

A beautiful morning at Piazza Di Popolo (near our hotel), our 5 days in Rome were generally sunny with some rain showers in the mornings on 2 of the 5 days we were there.  The weather was in the low teens and was quite comfortable.

The rain didn't deter the people visiting the Spanish Steps, in fact there was a ton of people wandering up and down the street, we were less than 1km from the Spanish Steps.

Our Hotel, at $250 per night Hotel Locarno wasn't cheap but it was a pleasant enough place to stay.  Although small the rooms were clean and the location was excellent the metro was a 5 minute walk and all the sites and attractions were within walking distance.  But who cares about that let's get onto the food.

We tried to sample as many local goodies but got "stuck" a couple of times where we were starving and the McDonalds/Burger King were the only food establishments that we were able to find.  Right near our hotel we went to dinner at a restaurant called "Osteria Del Tempo Perso"  Note when you google this you get some other restaurant as the first hit.  The address is Via dell'Oca, 43 00186 Rome, Italy  

Picture I took as we were walking by on the day we were leaving for the cruise port at Civitavecchia (Pronounce that 3 times fast)

On to the review  (Special thanks to Yas for terminology)

To start dear wife started had a plate of mussels for her antipasto she says they were tasty although no better than what you can find at a higher end restaurant in Vancouver.  There was not a whole lot of juice at the bottom to dip the bread that came with the "bread charge" More on that later...  8.5/10

For the Primo I had a carbonara and she had the prawn risotto

The noodles of the carbonara were absolutely amazing, there was great texture and it was seasoned properly, the portion size was a little lacking but for a starter pasta it really got you going.  8/10 for this

Dear Wife got the prawn risotto, now the first thing out of her mouth was WTF...  when the plate arrived, in Vancouver we are used to seeing spot prawns and tiger prawns so this was a little unexpected.  Taste wise she says it was pretty good and the risotto was also good.  8/10

For the secondo I ordered the steak off the menu

Medium rare, this piece of beef was very lackluster, it had no flavor at all but was at least cooked properly, the side of salad and roasted potatoes were ok,  quite disappointing for a $30 piece of meat. 3/10

For dolce we ordered the Tiramisu

Dear wife ordered the tiramisu and it's been a while so she can't remember exactly how it tasted but she remembers it tasting different than what we're used to as well as being enjoyable.  9/10

To summarize, all in all the food on the most part was quite enjoyable but wow at the cost.  I believe at the end of the night our bill was close to 100 Euro's.  Yep that's right, the food itself was quite pricy but the real kickers were the "water" and "bread" charges of 4 and 3 Euro's per person for tap water and crusty old bread.  As you will see later on there were significantly better tasting and greater value things that we ate.

Moving on, one night after trekking aback from the Coliseum,  we stopped by a corner pizza parlor.  From the various pizza places we poked our heads into on the most part pizza in Rome is served by the weight, you tell them what you want, how much of it you want, then it's heated up, weighed and off you go. The place we stopped by has an awning that says "Pizzzeria" it's in between an awning that read "Trattoria" and "Goeteia"  located on via di Ripetta no more than than 100m from piazza di popolo on the east side of the street.  If you walk across a street you've gone too far.

Brocoli and cheese pizza - or so we're led to believe, we ordered about 5 euro's worth of this and although the crust was very tasty the filling was umm "strange"  7/10

Prosciutto and cheese pizza - The second pizza we ordered was a meat and cheese pizza, this was pretty amazing, so much flavor and the crust crunchy just like the other.  Couldn't get enough of this one. 9/10

Continuing our adventures one of the interesting things I enjoy are outdoor markets, during one of our side trips we stumbled across the following

The produce all looks so fresh and really I don't know what most of these ingredients are, first time I have seen many of things.  Drop me a note if you know what they are and what they are used for.

I really regretted not having more room in my luggage and so many more places to go otherwise I would have brought home some of the wonderful fresh local pasta.

Got to love the wonderful fresh looking produce, everything smelt so fresh and looked so wonderful.

The last couple market pictures, like seriously what is that and how do you cook it?

Lots of beautiful tomatoes !

Another pizza meal coincidentally located one store down on the street corner  the building occupies a number of addresses and consists of unit 13/14/15 with a sign saying "Pizzare"

We were completely exhausted from running around all day and ordered take out.

I got myself a prosciutto and mozzarella calzone, made fresh in front of your eyes, for 8 euros I can only say wow.  Oily tasty goodness, finished the whole thing and I wanted more ! So tasty filled to the brim with oozing and dripping cheese. 10/10

Dear wife ordered the funghi pizza, again made fresh. For 6 euros this was a definite bargain.  If we had known of this place ahead of time we would have ordered from this place more often.  Everything was very fresh baked in a real wood burning pizza oven.  Wife had her fill and had tons left over. 9/10

That's all for this update.  The next post will be from the Star Princess.


  1. Wow!!! I'm hungry especially for the pizza. Not sure I buy the 'We *had* to go to Burger King in Italy thing!'

  2. Well the We "had" referred to it being around 3pm and walking south from the Republica Metro station, we walked south for about a kilometer before turning around. We didn't see any eateries on either side of the road except for one McDonald's and one Burger King.

  3. Hey Al, great blog. I can help identify some of your mystery ingredients: the first market pic (cuscino della suocera) is an ornamental cactus, the one below it (treviso tardivo) is a variety of radicchio and the pic below the chillies and eggplant (carciofi) is of artichokes without their stems removed. The only one I'm not sure about is the one above the pasta, but I believe that's a terribly unappetizing squash.