Subject: Re: Rome restaurant tips
Dear Gwen,

Here are some general tips on dining in ROme, with a few suggesstions. Sandy in LA


When you go to a restaurant you MUST take the bill when you leave and keep it for about 100 meters. It must be an official receipt, not just the amount written on a piece of paper (as they often do). The reason for this is that the tax people can stop you when you walk out of a restaurant or bar or store and ask you to produce the receipt. If you don't have one, they'll fine both you and the restaurant owner, as well as for items purchased in any store, this is to ensure that the restaurant or store owner issues proper receipts and thus pays his taxes!!

Menus should be read carefully since some restaurants add substantial cover charges.

Tuck a collapsible cup into your day-pack; drinking from Rome's many potable water fountains saves shelling out $3 for a soft drink every time thirst strikes!

Being willing to eat and drink standing up saves a bundle; in Rome, one pays nearly twice as much for the privilege of dining while sitting down, even more for a cafe's outside table. At a

number of cafes you can pay for your drink or sandwich at the cashier, then carry it yourself to a table for no extra charge. (there is usually no sign, so ask the cashier if this is the policy.)

Lunch in Rome is after 1 pm and dinner is after 9 pm.

For inexpensive meals watch for signs reading Tavola Calda (hot meals eaten at stand-up counters, the Italian equivalent of a lunch bar), Rosticceria (self-service, similar to our cafeterias) and Trattoria, specializing in regional foods and enormously popular with Italians. (Cost of a multicourse meal with wine is about $20.)

If you are on a budget, don't order a meat course, which can be expensive. Instead, help yourself to the antipasto buffet found at most restaurants, then order pasta.

Another tip for those on a budget is to order the house white wine, which in Rome has a well-deserved reputation for being good and cheap.

Because Romans tend to eat late restaurants rarely open until 7:30 or 8:00 p.m.

In most Roman restaurants everything is ordered a al carte. Some restaurants offer complete tourist menus at reduced prices. Don't take the quoted price for granted. Some tourist menus include a cover charge and drinks in the price, others don't. This may be listed on the menu, but it's best to ask.

Restaurants are required by law to give you a formal bill, which you are legally required to carrry with you out of the restaurant. Don't hesitate to compare everything on your bill wit the prices listed on the menu, or to add up the figures given by the waiter. Question anything you don't understand; every summer tourists get charged ridiculous sums by unscrupulous proprietors.

Beer halls (birrerie) and pizzerias usually cost a lot less than other restaurants, although most sit-down pzzerias are only open evenings.

A rosticeria, a cross between a take-out and a cafeteria, is a good place to eat less expensively. Many offer a beautiful selection of hot and cold food displayed on counters or in windows. (Franchi, at the corner of Via Cola di Rienzo and Via Fabio Massimo, near the Vatical and Castel Sant'Angelo, is one of the most elegant. Delfino, on Largo Argentina in the heart of downtown Rome is another.)

Fast-food restaurants have become very popular, partly because of their lower prices. The McDonald's near the Spanish Steps has one of the best salad bars in the city. Homegrown Italian fast-food outlets like Big Burg and Italy & Italy also serve quick pastas, salads and sometimes pizza.

Another inexpensive way to eat is at sandwich bars (paninoteche), which offer a wide vsariety of imaginative sandwiches. You will find several in the old town center.

Best Roman cuisine: Checchino dal 1887. Specialties include artichokes braised with garlic and mint... sweet-breads in white wine. Via di Monte Testaccio 30, 06-574-6318.

Best savings for lunch: Caffe Palombini (near the Square Coliseum). Pasta, salads and sandwiches. 12 Piazale Adenauer Konrad.

Best museum meal: Il Caffe delle Arti at Rome's Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna. Intimate minibalconies. 131 Viale delle Belle Arti.

Best Italian ice cream: Gelateria San Crispino. Specialties include lemon sorbet. Via Acaia 56.

Monte Testaccio, has become the city's most popular district for restaurants and clubs Visit: Caffe Latino, at 96 VIa di Monte Testaccio, a late-night jazz bar. Alibi, 44 Via di Monte Testaccio, a wild discotheque. Spago, 35 Via di Monte Testaccio, piano bar. Checchino dal 1887, 30 Via di Monte Testaccio, 574-6318; adjacent to a former slaughterhouse. See the wine cellar, it's built into the mound of ancient potsherds. Dinner for two without wine about $120.