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Restaurant Guide to Rome:
Campo de' Fiori & Vicinity

 

     The Campo de’ Fiori is Rome’s most famous outdoor food and flower market. It is smack in the historic center of the city, practically next to the Piazza Farnese (where the French embassy is housed in a Renaissance palazzo designed by Antonio da Sangallo), and a short walk from the Piazza Navona (where the Bernini fountains are a must-see sight and one of the places young people hang out at night). If you want to see the food stalls, make sure to get to the Campo before lunch. All the vendors clean up at lunchtime and the bare square is of little interest. In late afternoon/early evening, however, it comes alive again. This time, the perimeter is filled with tables and chairs from all the caffès, restaurants, and bars, that surround the Campo, and it is one of the places where Romans meet their friends after work.

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Osteria La Carbonara
Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 23
Tel. 06.68.64.783

This old restaurant on the famous market square of Rome has its ups and downs. Last year, I ate here on an up day and had wonderful antipasti, mostly vegetables bought that morning in the market at its door. The standard Roman pastas were good, too – carbonara and amatriciana. This year, my Roman friends say it is in decline. If you are tempted to try it – mainly to sample all the vegetables you’ve just seen in the market -- walk inside and inspect the antipasto table just inside the door. If you decide they look fresh and tempting, you can probably fill up on the antipasti array alone. Besides the vegetable dishes there are frittate, cheeses, fresh marinated anchovies, and probably a salt cod (baccala) dish. Moderate prices.

   
   
 

Antico Forno Campo de’ Fiori
Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 22
Tel. 06.68.806.662

If this isn’t the best white pizza in Rome, I don’t know where it is. (Well, Roscioli – see below -- is terrific, too.) Buy some to eat while walking through the market.

   
   
 

Aristocampo
Piazza Campo de’ Fiori

This is a sandwich shop located directly on the Campo –. I’d forgo everything but the porchetta, the whole roasted pig flavored with rosemary and garlic that you will see laid out on the counter. It may look dry, but it is consistently succulent and delicious. A generous sandwich on a fresh roll is under $5 the last time I looked.

   
   
 

Il Fiorentino
Campo dé Fiori, 17/18
Tel. 06.68.80.12.96

This is an extraordinary butcher shop on the perimeter of the Campo. It’s worth a look. The meat is displayed as it if were jewels at Harry Winston. You might even be tempted to walk off with a taste. There are some prepared items that you can snack on without reheating – such as lemon flavored veal meatballs, and eggplant slices topped with seasoned ground meat and a slice of mozzarella.
   
   
 

Antico Forno Marco Roscioli
Via dei Chiavari, 34 -- Bakery
Tel. 06.68.64.045

Via dei Giubbonari, 21-23 – Groceries, cheeses, salumi (under renovation as of 1/03)
Tel. 06.68.75.287

www.anticofornoroscioli.com

These two shops are owned by the same family. The Via dei Chiavari store is a bakery, one of the best in Rome. There are lots of items to buy as a snack, particularly the Roman pizza. You buy it by weight (it doesn’t weigh much) and eat it out of hand at room temperature, as a Roman would.

The other location on Via dei Giubbonari, which is the street that runs directly out of the Campo, used to be a large specialty grocery. It has recently been converted into a smaller grocery, still carrying artisanal cheeses and salumi (cold cuts) from all over Italy, but with a stylish restaurant and wine bar (enotecca) behind it an downstairs. Inside the ancient building shell, 30-something Pierluigi Roscioli, whose passion for wine motivated the change, has installed a cutting edge-contemporary steel and glass interior. Wine bottles stand on floating glass shelves under ancient wooden beams. It’s a great look. The food comes out on geometric white china. To my pleasure, what is on the china is as traditional as the offerings of the grocery in front – raw milk cheeses from all over Italy, the best cold cuts, grilled vegetables dressed with artisanal olive oil. There are also sandwiches, pastas, and second courses. Because of its contemporary look and attitude, the restaurant is attracting a young clientele, especially at night, but this is a good place for a light lunch. Both the food and wine prices are moderate.

   
   
 

Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara
Largo dei Librari, 88

Tel. 06.686.4018

A tiny restaurant on a tiny piazza off the Via dei Giubbonari, it specialize in fried baccala. Do not eat anything else, except perhaps some fried zucchini and/or cold bean salad to go with the salt cod. It is most appealing in warm weather, when tables are set up in the Largo outside the cramped restaurant. Inexpensive.

   
   
Rome Guide: Some General Notes - Campo De' Fiori & Vicinity - Piazza Farnese
Piazza Navona & Nearby - Testaccio - Piazza Del Popolo Vicinity - Vatican
Fontana Di Trevi - Pantheon - Parioli - Trastevere - Via Condotti
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