Chef Riccardo Di Giacinto and his wife Ramona Anello own the Michelin-starred Ristorante All'Oro in The First Luxury Art Hotel Roma. The restaurant is a Popupla Favorite and features in our new Popupla for kate spade new york Rome city guide. They have great style — for cooking and for living. We asked Riccardo to share his top spots around Rome, from the favorite beach to the password-before-entry speakeasy.
BEST WAY TO START THE DAY
When we're at home, we start the day having breakfast with Pavarotti or Bocelli playing at full volume, eating our homemade bread with jams created from the fruit in our garden. Breakfast usually lasts about 90 seconds, then we hit the ground running. Otherwise, coffee at Sorpasso (Via Properzio 31-33; +39-06-8902-4554) in Prati is the best way to start the day.
MY LOCAL CAFFÉ
Viale Eritrea 140/144, Corso Trieste; +39-06-8632-5077
For what is hands-down Rome's best maritozzo, a traditional pastry comprised of a bread made from raisins, pine nuts, and candied orange peel that's then sliced in half and stuffed with whipped cream. Though a bit out of the way, but the maritozzo is worth it.
FAVORITE OLD CLASSICS
Ristorante Da Robertino
Via Panispera, 231, Monti; +39-06-4740-620
Great Roman classics, particularly the artichokes prepared bothalla romana (braised with olive oil, garlic, and usually some lemon, parsley, and mint) or alla giudea (deep fried).
Via Sacrofano Cassia, 2229, Monterotondo; +39-06-9011-2135
I know this isn't in Rome, but it's from my home town, so I couldn't resist mentioning it. It's just a 25-minute train ride from Rome, and they serve three courses of authentic Lazio cuisine for about five euros. I'm not kidding! One of my favorites is pollo con peperoni (chicken with peppers) a Roman/Lazio classic that takes me back to my childhood.
HOT (ALMOST NEW) COMER
Cesare al Casaletto
Via del Casaletto 45, Monteverde; +39-06-536-015
The owner, Leonardo Vignoli, is a great friend — he's from Monterotondo as well. He took over the kitchen a few years ago, so it's not exactly new, but the restaurant is still hot. Arguably Rome's best trattoria is in Monteverde, which is easy to access from the city center on a #8 tram from Piazza Venezia or Largo Argentina to the last stop, Casaletto. The restaurant is just across the street. From the fried starters (meatballs, gnocchi) to traditional Roman pastas (carbonara, amatriciana) to classic cucina povera dishes such as oxtail, it's cucina Romana at its finest. The dining room is full every night of the week, so you should make a reservation. Cesare gets a lot of buzz. Believe the hype.
Men's outlet: Piazza San Cosimato 10; women's outlet: Via dei Colli Portuensi 98b
Ramona and I are both fans for their great selection for men and women.
For me, 40 Gradi (Via Virgilio 1, Prati; +39-06-6813-4612) has great menswear. Unfortunately for me, Ramona loves Prada.
FAVORITE LOCAL JOINT
Trattoria dal Luigino
Via Nomentana 728, Fonte Nuova; +39-06-9059-338
Stellar Roman food that's constantly rotating with the seasons. It's close to where we live, and if I'm not cooking at home, this is most likely where I'll eat.
Via Archimede 69, Parioli; +39-06-367-221
It's the best bar in Rome. American style with a great cocktail election.
Via Properzio 31-33, Prati; +39-06-8902-4554
Sorpasso has a lovely aperitivo as well, with a nice spread of meat and cheese.
WHERE I GO TO RELAX AND UNWIND
Just 25 miles from Rome and easily reachable by car or train. During the warmer months, it's no secret that Rome becomes unbearably hot, and there's nothing more refreshing than passing Sunday on a breezy beach after having been inside the restaurant all week.
WHERE I GO WHEN I NEED INSPIRATION
Abruzzo or Tuscany so that I can be around nature.
WHERE I GO WHEN I NEED TO ESCAPE
My home in Fonte Nuova in the Lazio countryside. Ramona and I just built it together, and we love our garden.
When we're looking to get out of Italy, there's a beach in Spain we visit for a few days, but if we share where it is, then our secret would be out and everyone would know where to find us!
FAVORITE ROMAN ICON
It's a tie between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum.
Near the Vatican. The streets are beautiful and the neighborhood is vivacious and full of life, especially during the early evening.
FAVORITE LATE-NIGHT HANGOUT
The Jerry Thomas Project
Vicolo Cellini 30, Centro Storico; +39-06-9684-5937
This speakeasy is open until four in the morning. When you ring the bell, the door opens just a crack and you have to give a password. (You can find a hint on the website.) The design recalls the days of Prohibition, and they have one of Rome's, if not Italy's, most exciting and innovative cocktail lists.
MOST UNDERRATED THING IN ROME
The small pizza with onions from the pastry shop Galliganni (Via Nomentana 935/b, Monte Sacro; +39-06-823-254).
MOST OVERRATED THING IN ROME
The Lazio football team. We're Roma fans!
NO TRIP TO ROME IS COMPLETE WITHOUT
A visit to the Colosseum and dining at a trattoria so that you can have a plate of something traditionally Roman such as carbonara, or at one of Rome's Michelin starred restaurants for something unexpected.
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Inset photo: AS Roma by Brent Flanders / Flickr