Where to eat, Roma e Firenze, 2023


New Places


Trattoria la Casalinga   Via dei Michelozzi 9


I ate here my last night in Firenze, after a lonely and fairly miserable week attending language school where I was forced to take private lessons.  To add to the misery, my Air BnB apartment was horrible, gloomy and dark and poorly equipped, especially the kitchen, making it difficult to cook a decent meal.  So I’d been getting by on panini and wine.

The host for our Rome apartment recommended Casa Linga, so I made a reservation for early Friday night.  The waiter (and man he was good looking) was less than thrilled to have a woman alone and pretty much dialed it in.

But the food was amazing!  One of the best meals ever; roast chicken and potatoes, insalata mista and a ¼ liter of house wine, all for 20 euros.  The chicken was crisp and juicy, basically falling off the bone and I inhaled everything in less than an hour, a record for me.  It almost made the rest of the week worth while.  I just wish I’d known to eat here earlier in the week.

Ditta Artigianale Sprone   


The host of our Firenze apartment recommended this café for coffee and it turned out to be a real find, especially since it was only a couple of blocks from our apartment.  My daughter and I went there our first morning in Firenze after her flight was canceled and soothed our nerves on good cappuccino, finding that the café also offers several good breakfast selections as well as brioche, something fairly unusual in Italy.  My daughter had a tiramisu French toast (way too sweet for me) and I had the yoghurt with granola, a huge serving of the protein I needed and very tasty.  My sister, niece, her friend and I came back Saturday morning and I had the same yoghurt and granola.  Our last morning, I stopped for take out cappuccino and brioche before we headed to the train station.  Although somewhat more expensive than my favorite, Caffe Finisterrae, I highly recommend it.

Caffe l’Opera   Piazza del Duomo


We discovered this small café/restaurant after walking from the Christmas market in Piazza Santa Croce to Piazza del Duomo realizing they were about to start the Christmas celebrations and light the Christmas tree.  We were freezing so decided to go into l’Opera and have a quick glass of wine and warm up.  My sister had coffee and a slice of cheesecake that everyone thought was amazing.  Our last night in Firenze we walked from our apartment to Piazza del Duomo to enjoy the lights one more time and once again chose l’Opera to warm up and share a slice of the divine cheesecake with our prosecco.  The waiter was friendly and amusing, asking us to show our id’s.  Since we’re all past the age, I gave him the look and he started laughing.        As you Caffe l'Operacan see from the photo it has an unparalleled view of the cathedral.


Terra di Siena  via del Governo Vecchio, near Piazza Navona


My daughter doesn’t like late dining so we were the first people there around 7:30 pm. She continued her quest to find a ‘not too dry’ red wine and then we ordered an aperitivo of buratta and sun dried tomatoes.  Yum  One of my new favorites.  My daughter had been insisting that she needed protein so she ordered a pasta con salsa Bolognese and I ordered tortellini with what turned out to be one of the most amazing tomato sauces ever, partly sweet, partly spicy, which my daughter commandeered for her pasta.  She may have had a tiramisu also.  All in all a perfect ending to the day.

Roscioli Salumeria  via dei Giubbonari


My niece’s friend, Callie, said Roscioli Salumeria e Cantina was not to be missed.  So she made reservations for us and that was our ‘big’ dinner for Rome.

It’s a relatively small restaurant on via dei Giubbonari  just southeast of Campo de’ Fiori.  The restaurant has two seatings and we had the early one at 7:30 pm, I think.  They make it very clear that you must be finished before the second seating which put a bit of pressure on getting through our meal.     

The aperitivi were excellent, mortadella and buratta with the restaurant’s amazing focaccia, the best I’ve ever had.  My main course, some type of pasta, wasn’t memorable and my daughter said her roast pork was dry.  But three bottles of 50 euro vino made it very fun.  It didn’t seem like quite so much fun when I found out later that the meal cost more than 300 euros.  Yikes.

Caffe Sant’Eustachio  Piazza Sant’Eustachio

Home Coffee

My daughter’s driver from Fiumicino to the city, recommended Sant’Eustachio and it was everything he said it would be.  She brought me here after I arrived in Rome.  As promised by my daughter, we had the most amazing cappuccini and chocolate brioche ever. We returned the next 4 mornings, even joking with some of the staff, then I returned our last morning before heading to the airport. I’m not sure what makes their coffee so good but it may have ruined me forever on other cafes.

Saltimbocca Via di Tor Millina 5

We ate here our last night in Rome and to be honest I don’t have a great recollection of what I ate, largely because we had been doing  spritz’s in Piazza Navona which is just a couple of blocks east of the restaurant. Saltimbocca also served us a powerful after dinner drink that was the equivalent of a ‘mind eraser.’   I may have had cacio e pepe

They don’t have much of a web site but you can read reviews and see their food on Tripadvisor; https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d7646558-Reviews-Saltimbocca-Rome_Lazio.html#photos;aggregationId=101&albumid=101&filter=7&ff=286384024



SignorVino’s     Via dei Bardi 46


I stopped here the week I was attending Italianme language school, after a history walkabout from the school to Palazzo Medici-Ricardi.  It was fairly chilly and I was dreading going back to my hideous apartment so I decided to have an aperitivo and vino here.  Like 2021, service was poor, the food was weird and the vino was small and expensive, something I mentioned to the woman at the counter.  I could have had twice the food for half the price and far better quality at Pino’s.  The one positive was that when I walked out of the enoteca, it was getting dark and I took a picture of the Arno that has become one of my favorites of Firenze.  Ponte Vecchio

Because of that experience,  I hesitated to suggest SignorVino’s to our group after we first arrived in Firenze.  But it was just around the corner from our apartment and everyone was starving.  And like 2021 the experience was totally different for our group than it was for me individually.  We had an excellent wine and a huge tagliere, that was three levels of meats, cheeses and breads.  A couple of people also had panini and we were all more than satisfied.


Osteria de’ Pitti (Trattoria de’ Pitti)     Piazza de’ Pitti 32 R  


Like Signorvino’s, Osteria de’ Pitti followed the pattern of 2021, great when I was with our group, not so great when I was alone.  My second night in Firenze, I ate dinner alone, having my favorite pasta with the slightly spicey sauce, (Strozzapreti) a bottle of wine  and an order of ribollita to go.  It cost nearly $50 and when I warmed up the ribollita for dinner the next night, it was terrible.

But our group came here our first night in Firenze after the lighting of the Christmas tree and watching the Banderai degli Ufizzi and the food and service were terrific.  We shared a pizza, some crostini, caprese salad, two bottles of wine and a pasta dish, gnocchi sorrentino and it wasn’t a lot more than my individual meal. In fact 5 of us ate for just over 100 euros.

We came back late Saturday afternoon, the nicest day of our stay, and sat outside having prosecchi and snacks, joking with our waiter who was pretty funny.  That did get a bit pricey but we enjoyed sitting under the heaters and enjoying the people watching in the pizza.

We returned that evening because my niece and her friend decided to try Bistecca Fiorentina and after a lot of debate, chose Osteria di Pitti.  Unfortunately her friend didn’t know that Bistecca Fiorentina should only be ordered rare and was very unhappy with her steak.  When she complained to the waiter, he just shrugged and said, ‘You ordered it medium rare.’  I had my Strozzapreti and loved it and think my sister had her usual carbonara.

Quattro Leoni   Via delle Sprone, 15


It had been at least 6 years, probably longer since we’d eaten here, but my niece hadn’t forgotten and as soon as we knew the dates we’d be in Firenze, she made reservations for Friday night.

I’ve always liked the warm ambiance as well as the excellent food.  My niece and sister ordered the fiocchetti di pere in salsa di taleggio e asparagi, their signature dish of tortellini like pasta with slices of pear in a cream sauce with asparagus.  Yum.  I chose osso bucco which was divine and the 4th member of our party chose another type of pasta.  We also ordered two side dishes, cannellini in olive oil and fried zucchini.  Unlike other restaurants, especially post COVID, Quattro Leoni has maintained its style and excellent food.

Osteria Santo Spirito       Piazza Santo Spirito

I’ve placed this restaurant in the ‘old’ section because my sister and I had lunch here twice in 2018 (see  Firenze, old and new post) and thought the food was good, although the service wasn’t wildly friendly.

Our last night in Firenze, after walking through the city to see the lights and having a snack at Caffe l’Opera, we were trying to think  of someplace to eat close to our apartment.  So I suggested Osteria Santo Spirito.  We got there at 7:15 pm and had to wait until 7:30 pm to get in but were seated immediately even though we didn’t have a reservation.

I had a tagliatelle type pasta in a butter sauce with small rounds of zucchini.  My niece’s friend had the same pasta and loved it.  I think my sister had a pasta carbonara and my niece decided to go crazy and have something called pasta ‘morbido.’  We speculated as to what it might be and were totally surprised when she received something similar to tortellini with a thick ‘crust’ of melted cheese on top.  It was delicious but probably the richest pasta I’ve ever had.

Osteria Santo Spirito doesn’t have a web site but you can read reviews here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d716349-Reviews-Osteria_Santo_Spirito-Florence_Tuscany.html


Mimi e Coco’s     Via del Governo Vecchio, 72 


I ate here twice in 2021, once with my sister which was a fantastic meal, (see Six Days in Rome  post) then by myself which I didn’t enjoy because of the way I was treated, although the food was fine.

After my daughter and I had walked all over Rome Saturday afternoon, we were starving by the time we got back to the apartment.  I started to suggest Mimi e Coco’s but my daughter wanted to check with a friend.  Weirdly one of her friend’s suggestions was Mimi e Coco’s.

So we headed there between 7:00 and 7:30 pm snagging a table inside.  I ordered cacio e pepe and my daughter ordered a pasta with a tomato basil sauce.  She was disappointed in her food, saying it was bland but in retrospect I think it may have been her American taste buds.  We also had a bottle of wine, a Montepulciano red, I think.

Bistrot  Q    Also on via Governo Vecchio


This was my biggest disappointment in 2023.  I ate here three times in 2021, always having good if not exceptional food, cacio e pepe, capricciosa pizza and fried zucchini flowers.  So on our 4th day in Rome, I suggested to my daughter that we stop here for lunch after doing some shopping near Piazza Navona.  We ordered the capricciosa pizza and fried zucchini flowers and both were inedible.  Soggy, cold, one tiny piece of artichoke on the pizza.  We ate two bites, slammed down our vinos, paid and left.

Pesci Fritti    Via di Grotta Pinta, 8


I’ve bored everyone I know with stories about the fabulous food we had here in 2021; pasta con vongole, sea bass stuffed with shrimp and pistachios and wonderful service by the charming Nikko, so our whole 2023 group came here for dinner our last night in Rome.  We were somewhat tired and chilly after viewing the lighting of the Christmas tree in Piazza di Spagna and ready to eat.

Unfortunately there was no sea bass on the menu and I didn’t see the pasta con vongole.  So we ordered scallops and mussels as appetizers, then three of us had the sea food risotto, my daughter had a pasta with sea bass ragu and my sister had pesci fritti.  While I didn’t think it was as good as our meal in 2021, my daughter thought it was the best meal during our stay in Rome.





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