I grew up watching Cheers. I have always like the idea of having a bar that was similiar to home. Although, if home is like a bar that is still very questionable, possible troubling yet …it could be nice….. maybe. Back to the bar. I want a bar to call my own, the people know me, telepathically know my drink order and is a chill place. I am not a big drinker just have my own bar, where everybody knows my name and their always glad I came…most of the time at least. When I think like this I always rememeber when Norm steps into the bar and they all say “NORM”!! , that to me is kudos yet again troubling yet it rocks. In the States I frequent some bars and I was getting the Cheers feel. It was nice , just not frequent enough.
Now, I live in Roma, Garbatella to be exact. I have a bar! Bars here are not just for night life, but all times of the day life. In the morning, they have fresh cornettos , slightly warm and delicious. Here a cornetto is more than just a croissant looking pastry, but a variety of pastries filled with all kinds of surprise yummy goodness or without; sprinkled with cocoa, glazed or not. They have variety, I have big eyes so I have tried just about everything. Note: there is also Cornetto the ice cream, very popular on-the-go treat about a one euro and fifty. My bar is lovely. I walk in they know my morning drink ; caffè macchiato. It is ready by the time I reach the counter. I am then greeted with a smile and chocolates by my lovely bald headed bartender ,who wants to date me. By midday the cornettos disappear and are replaced with cold and colorful gelati and little pastries. They also serve simple and tasty lunchtime choices. Then to end the day its a free for all of choices including aperitivo. I like my bar they know my name, they know my drinks, they are always happy to see me despite my horrible Italian.
When people ask me about appetizers in the states , I say peanuts and hot wings on a good day, but a full on meal is reserved for all you can eat buffets. They find interesting that a bar in the States is not like here. The bar is the foundation of every neighborhood here. practically every corner has a bar. The bar is natural. It took my family a bit to understand when I said I was at the bar , I wasn’t just drinking myself into a stupor. My mom was getting nerve, now she has eased up on the idea of me always being in a bar. ( Love you MOM) !!
I must say America is slacking when it comes to aperitivo; appertizers. In many different bars, you pay maybe 9-12 euros ( 12-15 USA) depending on the zone( area) and it’s an amazing feast of food from 7-9pm, all you have to do is buy a drink. The food choices also depend on the type of bar. For instance, some bars only serve bruschetta ( bru-sKe- ta), Americans we say it wrong ( bru-She-ta) with tomatoes, olives, and chips. While others give you mini sandwiches, olives, brushcetta with different topping, fresh meats, cheese and fruit. And the ultiimate places to do aperitivo serve you dinner. At Caffe Letteriario they cook you a full on meal, you name it , it is there and it’s all you can eat plus desert and all the others foods I listed. It ‘s a great way to eat on a budget or when you want to eat a massive mix of foods without going home to cook after a long day. They place nice music and the place has a mellow atmosphere to it. Caffe Letterario is located in Ostiense, which a trendy area with out-the-box street art, contemporary style and lively night life.
Naurally, you will be in the center where all the sites are. There are a places that are good to have a meal on a budget without forgoing the European feeling. Now people say that places in the center are expensive. They are. When you walk in at random times that are not lunch or dinner , they charge you big. The key to eating is to go in during the lunch time or dinner time so that you can get the affordable rate. Tourist forget that by being in the center everything cost more and is outrageous. Restaurants and bars charge crazy prices because they know tourist don’t know about the lunch , dinner buffet. So, if you go in before 1pm and order a cappuccino it will cost you close to 5 euros, it’s business not personal. However, if you went during the lunch time special the same cappuccino comes with an endless meal.
Bulldog Inn, it’s English friendly and pub style. A hot spot to watch sports. They have an amazing variety of choices for lunch and dinner. At lunch you pay 9 euros all you can eat and the drink is extra , evening time the drink is included in the price.
Another place that is worth visiting is La. Vi Latteria & Vino off via del Corso , it have a hip, posh atmosphere yet it is very laid back place in the heart of the city. They serve a very nice buffet style lunch that is affordable, otherwise it can be expensive. Another place to eat in the center is near the Spanish Steps, is Il Pastificio on via del Croce. this place is far from fancy -it’s simple and clean. No chairs no fancy anything, in fact it’s plastic plates and cups , eat on a shelf enjoying amazing pasta for 4 euros including house vino (upon request ) and water. This place gives you a hearty helping of pasta that at a fancy restaurant would cost maybe 10-16 euros. Pastifico usually has a long line between 1-3 pm because this where many Romans go on their lunch break. I have been told they do this also around 5-7 but I haven’t tried in the evening, so I cannot verify. To make life easier at Pastifico bring exact change.
There you have it. Some tips on place to go when in Rome and you are hungry. If you want to do the Bella Notte moment from Lady and the Tramp, don’t act a fool when the conto(bill) arrives and you feel that’s it’s too much, pay it and take a stroll, look into your lovers eyes and if no lover eat a gelato.