My partner, Lady Katherine, is a meticulous researcher. Before we leave home on our trips, she always compares sites and reviews and prices, and comes up with the best places to stay and to eat. I have learned to appreciate this skill, because her selections are invariably unbeatable. On this trip to Rome, she selected two restaurants close to our hotel (the Albergo Cesari ... see my hotel review.) The two restaurants she chose were "La Sagrestia" in Via dei Seminario, and "Antica Trattoria da Pietro al Pantheon" in Via dei Pastini.
"Antica Trattoria da Pietro al Pantheon" is (as its name suggests) close to the Pantheon, in Via dei Pastini, which leads off the Piazza della Rotonda. It's a busy little street, and sometimes very crowded; but the restaurant itself is quieter and very atmospheric inside. There are a few small tables outside, if you want to closely observe the passing parade. But the inside is better, with a few candles casting their light on walls covered with mirrors and framed pictures, photos and documents, and other odds and ends. It all looks very warm and cosy ... and it is!
As I said, Lady Katherine had marked this place as a definite 'must visit'. The first time we poked our noses in here, however, it was booked out. So we simply made a reservation for a few days hence, and came back. The second time we came here, there was some momentary confusion over our booking because, amazingly, a man with the exact same name as mine had also booked a table on the exact same night as me, and been given the table beside me! I took this as a good sign. The man and his wife were from the USA, and were very nice folk too. They enjoyed their meal as much as we enjoyed ours, and we chatted the night away.
The dish we ordered was home-made pasta with black truffles, a speciality (but not the only one) of the house. It was delicious. In fact. all the food here was delicious. So delicious in fact that we came back here again on our last night in Rome, and this time we didn't need a reservation because we came early and there were a few tables available inside. There's your hint ~ if you don't have time for reservations ... arrive early.
I really loved this little trattoria. It has atmospheric dignity, the staff are very friendly, the food is excellent, and the walls are covered in interesting history (see my photos). I'll be back, for 'shore'! One thing puzzles me, however: When I made my original reservation at this restaurant, they put a RISERVATO card on my table, which I kept. The curious thing was that the reservation card they used did NOT carry the name of this restaurant. Instead, it had the name of ANOTHER RESTAURANT in Via dei Pastini called "Ristorante Antonio al Pantheon". Perhaps the two are connected in some way. Finding a different restaurant's reservation card on your table, however, can be a little confusing when it comes to writing reviews later. Luckily, I took a photo of the menu, so I'd be certain where I was dining. Anyway, see my photos, and mark this restaurant down as a 'must visit' when next you're staying in the old historic centre of Rome. Just make 'shore' you write down the right name so you end up eating in the right restaurant!
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