ROME: THE RESTAURANTS
Tullio - 26 Via San Nicola da Tolentino, tel. 481 8564: Loyal clients and waiters who have been with the restaurant for more than a decade makes Tullio a worthy stop. Much of the food-for instance, the steak classic bistecca alla fiorentina and most of the excellent wines originated in Tuscany. The quality and the quantity are abundant.
Tavema Giulia - 23 Vicolo dell'Oro, tel. 686 9768.: The menu is Ligurian, which means great pasta made properly, with pesto and potatoes. Another draw is Rome's best creme brulee. Prelates, who know good food, like to lunch here, since it's the only fine restaurant near Vatican City.
Il Drappo - 9 Vicolo del Malpasso, tel. 687 7365.: A candy box of a restaurant - the walls that aren't covered in mirrors are draped in fabrics whose colors are changed with the seasons. The set menu, which is different every day, lists Sardinian specialties, such as baby pig with myrtle.
Colline Emiliane - 22 Via degli Avignonesi, tel. 481 7538: displays a touch of Emilia-Romagna, the region known for Italy's best cuisine. The restaurant excels in traditional Emilian recipes, from the tortellini in broth to the homemade tagliatelle. The mixed boiled meats with green sauce and the stuffed pork chops are excellent. The wine selections are almost exclusively from Emilia.
Osteria Marcello 37 Via Aurora, tel. 481 9467. , around the block from Via Veneto, has a friendly, lively ambience. It's always packed with movie people-both working crews and nostalgists of la dolce vita. If you can attract Marcello's attention, you will be treated well; you can trust him to bring you the best the kitchen has to offer. Known for pasta with vegetables (fusilli with eggplant, pasta with artichokes and olive oil) and stracotto or brasato (pot roasts simmered for hours in red or white wine).
La Buca di Ripetta 36 Via di Ripetta, tel. 321 9391.: A line often extends outside this restaurant known for dependably good food at fair prices. Once persistence gains you entry, you find tightly spaced tables and a jovial atmosphere. A short stroll from the Piazza del Popolo, La Buca is a favorite with the actors and directors who live in the area.
Beltramme 39 Via della Croce. No telephone: An institution in Via della Croce. Everybody calls it Da Cesaretto, and the sign on the door simply says FIASCHETTERIA (wine bar): Go figure. Good hearty pasta e ceci, bean soups, and pastas at good prices. Paintings by well-known clients of yesteryear line the walls, and everybody sits together wherever they can find a spot. Not the place if you're feeling unsociable.
La Campana 18 Vicolo della Campana, tel. 686 7820.: Packed with politicians and journalists, this is truly a trattoria of habitues. To newcomers, service can seem almost surly, but the Roman specialties in this, the oldest trattoria in the capital, are dependably good and hearty.
Nerone all Collie Oppio - 96 Via Terme di Tito, tel. 474 5207.: A typical Roman trattoria, next to Emperor Nero's ancient palace. Friendly waiters and a great antipasto table laden with vegetables and tasty side plates. Homemade ravioli and lasagna are the first courses to look for. If it's warm enough to sit outside, you're treated to a view of the Colosseum.
La Gensola 15 Piazza della Gensola, tel. 581 6312., in Trastevere, is best known for its Sicilian pastas-filling dishes such as pasta with broccoli or eggplant or alle sarde (with fresh sardines). Unusual for Rome, fish makes a fairly cheap meal here
SOME OF THE BEST IN ROMEBest Artichokes: Evangelista. The specialty is the carciofo al mattone, a tender yet crunchy artichoke that's been grilled while flattened under a brick. 11a Via delle Zoccolette
Best Atmosphere: Girone VI. The walls left from a seventh-century church give this restaurant its ancient aura; romantic tables are set outside in warm weather. Girone, near the Pantheon, is one of the very few fine restaurants in Rome open in August. 2 Vicolo Sinibaldi
Old Reliable: Otello alla Concordia. The Romans eat indoors here, while the covered courtyard patio is favored by tourists. 81 Via della CroceBest Waiters: Scarpone. On the Janiculum Hill, this is a large restaurant where families are well treated by the extremely friendly and welcoming camerieri. 15 Piazza San Pancrazio
Spaghetti with Clams: Gino. Those who frequent this Trastevere restaurant know that the recipe for spaghetti alle vongole veraci is unsurpassed in Rome. 85 Via della LungarettaGarden of Delights: Villa Tor Carbone Sora Rosa. Summertime lunch among the lush green flora on the Appia Antica. 74 Via Tor Carbone.
Best Steak: Maurizio e Natalino. Ask for the chateaubriand; Natalino grills it himself over the huge fire-fabulous. Corso di FranciaPizza: Osteria Picchioni. There is absolutely no ambience in this quirky place, but, remember, we came for the pies. 16 Via del Boschetto