Readers Ask: Why Is Some Rome Restaurant Advice Off the Mark?

Written by Katie Parla on October 9, 2012

If you’re at a place that serves artichokes in June, the odds are someone gave you bad advice.

I love Parla Food’s readers. They are smart, snarky, and don’t put up with BS. They take food seriously and are highly critical. They are also a bit bitchy and send me hilarious emails ridiculing restaurants (and those who recommend them) for being terrible. We are a match made in heaven. Let’s call this blog post a collaborative effort inspired by such emails.

Why do so many allegedly serious food writers recommend so many places that flat out suck?

Good question. I have a few answers: Caving to editors’ insatiable quest for new trends and succumbing to pressure from editors to write lots for no money are two major culprits. As an esteemed colleague wrote to me recently, “These days journalists get so little money and time to go and explore a place properly, so a lot of recommendations are just collected and thus endlessy perpetuated.”

I also believe lack of palate and experience is an issue, too. In the past, having a mouth and a journalism background were the prerequisites for food writing. Well it’s a new ball game now and restaurant experience and academic credentials count. Indeed, they are essential. Food is serious business and it takes more than an editor and a digestive system to become an expert.

How could anyone in her right mind still recommend Gusto. It’s obscene.

I couldn’t agree more. Gusto is a deal breaker. Anyone who recommends it should seek immediate medical attention for their malfunctioning taste buds. The food is just plain awful, the staff is insufferably rude and inept, and its concept hasn’t been interesting since the mid-1990s. The same goes for Da Giggetto in the Ghetto. That’s a red flag. It’s pure crap, deep fried in old oil with agribusiness artichokes.

Grom is boring. What’s to like?

Yeah it really is. It still beats the nasty soft serve they pass off for gelato at Eataly. But I digress. Consumers are attracted to marketing, packaging and queues. Grom has all 3.

You should write a post calling out all the worst places in Rome.

Wow. That would be a long one! How about the highlights? In addition to Gusto and Giggetto being abjectly awful, Sora Margherita hasn’t been good in years (RIP Sora Margherita! They are dragging your name through the mud over there). Maccheroni is very very bad. Giolitti does not serve amazing gelato, nor does Fassi (thankfully these places do). And if I never return to Obika’, Enoteca Corsi, or Hang Zhou it will be too soon. I could go on and on. Why don’t you jump in and propose more venues for retirement?

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