We left our hotel looking for a meal on our first night in Rome. We did three things, the travel agent told us not to do---have a group larger than six, have no reservation and try for a table during the busy part of the evening. Our group of 14 (yes, we looked like refugees) were turned away politely at one café but decide to try the nearby Fagianetto based on good Trip Advisor reviews. We were met at the door by a friendly waiter—a good sign. I looked in the café and saw that it could seat about 50 patrons at least. We were escorted to two tables that seated all of us. And then, Mario greeted us like long lost hungry relatives. Between our limited Italian and his English, we had a great dinner. He entertained us with his stories of his New York background and his love of his family of nine boys. His wife spoke no English but I saw her wince when Mario announced that he wanted to try for a daughter! Most of us tried the evening special of cannoli and raviolis and smooth vino rosso. The price was less than the lunch we would have the next day at the Vatican gift shop and café behind St Peters. (It’s all about location.) There were also many locals eating there including one boys soccer team…another good sign.
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