You guys already know how obsessed we are with Maria Brito’s new line of clutches, artful pieces bedecked in a variety of patterns from tacos to coffee and ice cream all the way to Natalie Frank prints. What you may not know is that she’s our travel guru, and while she’s already given us her guide to Barcelona, this time we joined her on her most recent trip to the Eternal City – Rome. Here’s everywhere Brito ate, ambled and art-ed (yes, it’s a word)…
Maria Brito’s Guide To Rome
Rome is an extraordinary place to walk endlessly and get lost. From the lively are of the Trastevere to the super chic Pinciano neighborhood, the city is filled with gelaterias, trattorias, osterias, enotecas and super upscale restaurants. Here is my edit of the best places to try across categories.
1. Dar Poeta: This is a small rustic pizza place in the Trastevere but please don’t be misled by the appearances because they have, perhaps, the best pizza in Rome. Everything is made in their wood-fire oven including their famous Nutella Calzone (a must).
2. Osteria Al 16: You know when you’ve heard that the best pasta is cooked al dente to perfection? Well, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a more perfectly cooked spaghetti than here. Al 16 is super casual but the service is really good. If you want to be truly Roman, order the Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe.
3. Frigidarium: I think there is a gelateria in every corner in Rome. Frigidarium has, hands down, the best gelato in Roma (my kids tried at least six other places and kept begging me to go back to this one). Creamy, balanced and outrageously delicious. There’s always a line outside but it moves pretty fast. Try the Bacio (chocolate and hazelnuts) and the Frigidarium (cookie dough with nuts). They also have plenty of fruit sorbets.
4. Open Colonna: The space and location of this restaurant makes the environment really breathtaking, as it is inserted in the massive structure of the Palazzo delle Esposizione which is the largest interdisciplinary exhibition space in Rome. While the building itself is from 1874, Open Colonna is contemporary and carefully designed to look very sleek. Super high glass walls and ceilings distributed in more than 4,500 square feet across two levels plus a gorgeous terrace make this space a necessary visit for foodies who love art and design. The menu is inventive and a mix of contemporary and classic flavors.
5. Il Pagliaccio: This is very chic two-star Michelin restaurant in a very hidden street in the center of Rome. It’s quite small and reservations are required. The fusion menu is interesting, exciting to the palate and utterly delicious. The wine and champagne lists are extensive and stunning.
6. Aroma: The experience here is all-encompassing: a rooftop and an al fresco candle-lit dinner overlooking the Colosseum. It doesn’t get more Roman than that. The menu is upscale – a combination of Mediterranean and classic Italian dishes.
7. Da Simo Pan & Vino: This is a tiny hole-in-the-wall that serves homemade food with two options: either taking several of the daily dishes and combining them in a panini sandwich (like beef and sautéed spinach, for example) or having a mix of the menu of the day served on a plate. This is greasy comfort food at its best.