Il conto, per favore (part 1)

This blog is about my holiday to Italy with my girlfriend. We went to Rome and Venice. It was a tale of two cities and two guidebooks and two food experiences

I shall start the story in Rome. We left for Rome on Saturday 8th September 2012, flying from Gatwick. We arrived at the airport and got through to the departure area with an hour to spare. We were both peckish and so looked at Cafe Rouge ( a tasty French restaurant) but the queue was too big. So we decided to be all sophisticated and eat at a seafood bar. We ordered a seafood platter and a glass of wine each. It was yummy. The seafood platter had oysters, prawns, gravadlax, salmon. It all tasted amazing and was a great way to kick off the holiday.

A few hours later we landed in Rome, got ripped off by one taxi driver, arrived at the hotel, saw the hotel room (lovely if not a bit pokey) and we were off to venture for food. We were only a ten minute walk away from the Spanish steps so we decided to eat around there. This restaurant was the beginning of two of my favourite things of the whole holiday. The first was the amazing temperature at night, which I told everyone about, when I got home and the second was the amazing, yummy starter prosciutto with mozzarella.  It is such a lovely companionship between the two. It was scrumptious! For the main, I had a Pasta in arrabbiata, which I was pleasantly surprised by. I enjoyed the restaurant especially as the location was good. Usually on holiday, a good location means rubbish food but not here. My girlfriend didn’t agree as much. She had bruschetta for starter and beef ragu with tagliatelle  Her meals were pretty average. After the lovely meal, we went and sat on the Spanish steps (romantic tip at night).

On the Sunday, we did what we enjoy on holiday, sight seeing. We went to see the Colosseum which turned out to take longer than expected as we got lost.

After we saw the amazing Colosseum we went and had some lunch near it as we were both starving. We decided as it was quite late in the day to have something small. So I had Aglio e olio ( Pasta with chilli , garlic and oil) and my girlfriend had Pesto pasta. Both of us were not blown away but we were happy not starving anymore. Afterwards it was onto more sightseeing, the Forum. We then ventured back to the hotel, chilled, went down to the hotel bar for happy hour then back out for food, near the Spanish steps. We searched around and got touted into a restaurant by being offered a free glass of prosecco whilst we waiedt. When we sat down, I once again had the same starter of Prosciutto with Mozarella and my girlfriend had antipasti. However, what was more interesting was my main. I ordered lobster pasta (below).

I have to say it tasted nicer than it looked. My girlfriend had tomato and basil ravioli which was wasn’t bad. The restaurant was named Surgo I think, if you are interested in going or trip advising it.

On Monday, we did the other famous Rome sight, which is the Vatican. The Vatican is my favourite sight in Rome as St Peters as the size of it mind blowing. The views from the top are amazing but the only bad thing was that it was packed so we couldn’t enjoy the sights for very long. After St Peters, we decided to eat at a restaurant near the Vatican. The guidebook warned us not do it and it was correct. We shared a Margarita and a plain dull side salad and was ripped off on the prices of drinks. However, this didn’t damper our spirits for the rest of the Vatican where we looked around the Vatican museum and the famous Sistine Chapel  My girlfriend enjoyed it, but I was less impressed. Afterwards we ventured back to the hotel via unknown places as we became lost. You should never let me lead the way as my sense of direction is non existent.

That night we went to the worst restaurant of the Rome trip. My starter was cured thin slices of beef while my girlfriend had tomato soup, which was just tomatoes blitzed up. There was no seasoning in it at all. The mains were the worst part though. I had tortellini in a tomato sauce which was just horrific and my girlfriend had gnocci in a tomato and basil sauce, which was pretty revolting. A photograph of the tortellini is below. The photograph probably does not do it justice in how bad it is.

Tuesday was the last day in the fabulous city of Rome. In the morning we visited the Pantheon and then had some food in a Piazza near by, but not by the Pantheon. I ordered a carbonora, which was my way of trying to improve my taste buds. For a long time I haven’t enjoyed creamy foods and occasionally I allow myself to try and get accustomed to it. It started off well but after a while the cream became too overpowering and I had to throw in the towel. My girlfriend had a salmon pasta dish, which she enjoyed. The salmon pasta dish was creamy so I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much.

In the afternoon, we decided to chill out, go up the Spanish steps and enjoy the park for a hour. The views at the top of the park of Rome are fantastic and worth a visit, especially as it isn’t as populated as other sights. This makes it a great place for photographs without anyone wanting you to move two seconds later. After the park, we went back to the hotel, went to happy hour in our hotel for the last evening and went to Edy. Edy was a restaurant recommendation in the guidebook. We decided as the last few nights hadn’t been great for food, we would try it. The food was the best by far we had all week. I started off with a tomato & basil pasta, which was interesting and had an awful lot of Parmesan added to it, which I am not very used to.

For main I had the mouth watering, amazingly yummy suckling pig which was massive and tasted amazing as you can see below. My girlfriend had Tortelini in a consume for starter and swordfish for main, which was pretty awesome also. Our recommendation for Rome is going to Edy

On a sidenote, I would also like to point out the amazing hotel’s, (the River Palace Hotel) breakfast. It had everything you could ever want for a Italian breakfast including antipasti, cereals, fruits, proscuitto, American muffins… it can go on. It was a splendid way to start the day.

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