|Subject: RE: Dining in Rome|
I'm not sure if you'll find restaurants that are both chic and fun,
but anyway here are my suggestions.
For something really chic, she can try the Hassler Rooftop, which overlooks the Spanish Steps. It's quite chic (expensive) - although as far as the food goes, well I only ate there once many years ago, and it was ok, but not fantastic.
For excellent food in a chic, romantic setting, try Chez Albert, which offers French cuisine (and delicious).
For people watching, the best area is Trastevere (across the river), and one of the most popular restaurants (and very touristy) is Santini, right on the piazza called Santa Maria in Trastevere.
For a fun restaurant, I'd suggest Nuraghe Sardo, a Sardinian restaurant on Via delle Medaglie d'Oro. Not exactly in downtown Rome, but it can be reached easily by taxi. The fun thing here is that there are waiters coming at you from all sides, bringing you about 15 different types of antipasti (hors d'oeuvres), including smoked ham, ricotta cheese, spicy olives, zucchine, eggplant, tiny mozzarellas, slices of small salami in spicy oil - and a basket FULL of different kinds of salamis, as well as a wooden board and a knife, so that you can cut off as many slices of the salamis as you want. The waiters are very friendly and helpful. After the antipasti, they'll bring 3 different types of pasta for you to try.
One of my favourite restaurants is called Le Grotte di Livia (Livia's Caves), but it might be too far away for your cousin. It's quite far in the north of Rome, in an area called Prima Porta. But the place is beautiful: inside, it is almost cave-like (in fact, the restaurant is right in a mountain - they blasted the mountain to make the restaurant), and the white stucco walls have wine bottles stuck all over them. There are one or two tiny caverns inside with barely enough room for 2 tiny tables in each, and there is an interesting wine cellar. In the summer, you eat outside on a beautiful patio with vines hanging overhead, and a lovely, lit fountain in the center. Although I wouldn't describe it as chic, it's a lovely restaurant with delicious food.
Charly's Sorciere is another classy restaurant with good food. Pinciana is another classy one, just a street or 2 away from Via Veneto.
Hope this helps.
Laurie in Mexico City (formerly from Rome)