My husband and I went to Rome back in September 2010 and tried to eat at a particular restaurant in the neighborhood of Trastevere (Le Mani in Pasta) after I'd done some research online and figured out that some of the best pasta places in the city were concentrated in that 'hood. We'd already eaten at one of the best pizza places (Dar Poeta - amazing... but also super cramped and loud - see my post about it here) in the neighborhood, and fell in love with the awkwardly narrow, cobbled streets, piazzas filled with locals drinking beer and wine, dining al fresco, countless scooters whizzing by thisclose to where we were walking. It was magical. It feels exactly the way you would expect Rome to feel.
We had arrived at said restaurant and the harried waiter asked us how many, and assured us that we'd have a table in 20 minutes. Twenty minutes later, it was another 20 minutes. This continued for about an hour (we were patient!) until another waiter dropped an entire tray of food on his way to a table, and we finally realized: We are not going to sit anytime soon. Luckily, another couple had just been walking by and suggested that we check out the restaurant around the corner. We set off in search of our consolation dinner immediately, stomachs rumbling and hanger building with each step.
After navigating a small maze of streets we found ourselves in Piazza dei Mercanti, standing in front of Osteria Da Meo Patacca.
|Pollo alla Romana|
|Panna cotta with chocolate sauce. Simple and delicious.|
After an amusing, enjoyable, and admittedly super touristy dinner of bruschetta, pollo alla Romana, penne all'arrabiatta agnolotti a la casareccia, and panna cotta with an Italian group of musicians going table to table, playing all of the traditional hits (Volare, That's Amore.... you get the picture), a man dressed as the Pope appearing at the balcony to "bless" the diners and crack jokes, and some VERY cheap table wine (10 Euros for a liter, 7 Euros for a half liter... you know, we like a good deal. It would have been wrong and fiscally irresponsible to order only a half liter), we walked back into the maze of medieval streets.
Bellies full, we strolled lazily around the back streets, dodging groups of student-age young adult revelers, arms slung around each other, off to drink beers at Bir & Fud or Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà, tourists looking lost, and local families on their way home from dinner.
Trastevere may be one of my favorite places in the world. It's certainly my favorite place in Rome. So, when you find yourself at Castelo San Angelo, cross the Ponte San Angelo and let yourself get lost.
P.S. We did eventually get to eat at Le Mani in Pasta - 4 years later, on the first night of our honeymoon and our triumphant return to Rome. Post coming soon :)