/The Layover Rome, Parla Food Edition

The Layover Rome, Parla Food Edition

Gabriele Bonci’s Pizzarium was featured in The Layover.

Anthony Bourdain’s new show “The Layover”, in which the host spends just over 30 hours eating his way through a city, visited Rome last week. I’ve already gotten a dozen emails inquiring about the venues he visited and asking for my judgement. I’m not one to mince words so I’ll just come out and say it. The show’s location manager needs her head examined. If the gastronomic visitor has 30 hours in Rome, he or she should be directed to places that are actually worthy of being inserted into a brief, food-driven stop-over.

Instead, the show visited some rather random and some not very good spots. Among the places covered in The Layover, one is an absolute must (Pizzarium), another is a personal favorite for good, cheap food (I Porchettoni), but the rest are far from being the best in their category (sorry but Gelateria dei Gracchi, Il Ristoro degli Angeli, Cacio e Pepe and Sora Lella just don’t cut it–the latter most of all–and certainly not on this tight schedule).

I thought it would be fun to do my own written version of The Layover and make corrections suggestions of where to eat if you only have a day and a half in Rome.

Day 1: Coffee and a pastry at Sciascia, lunch at Pizzarium (at least one of the venues from The Layover actually deserves a short term visitor’s time!), gelato at Fatamorgana in Prati, Il Gelato di Claudio Torce near the Spanish Steps, or Neve di Latte in the Flaminio neighborhood. Before dinner head to Il Goccetto for some wine, then Roscioli for burrata and carbonara. Round out the evening with artisanal Italian beers at Open Baladin or Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa.

Day 2: Make breakfast a savory one and pick up a slice of pizza bianca at Forno Roscioli. For lunch visit Armando al Pantheon for exceptional gricia and coda alla vaccinara or L’Arcangelo for suppli’ and gnocchi. Grab a late afternoon pastry at Regoli near Stazione Termini and hop the train back to the airport.

What places do you recommend in Rome for the gastronomic traveler on a tight schedule?

2017-02-17T15:22:18+00:00 December 14th, 2011|Categories: Food & Wine, Restaurants, Rome & Lazio, Travel|25 Comments


  1. BuzzInRome December 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    ciao Katie, I agree with Bourdain’s choices of Cacio e Pepe and Gelateria dei Gracchi. I think both places convey a very Roman atmosphere, i.e. small, informal, chaotic venues with very good products and a limited choice.
    I love Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè but I think it is very neutral or maybe not Roman at all in terms of identity and origin (the unprecedented quantity of flavours on offer isn’t very Roman either).
    I agree with you that Sora Lella should never make it into any Rome good spots list. It used to be very authentic, but now….
    Maybe Bourdain was looking for peculiar venues rather than those offering the best food

  2. Mitch W. December 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    I am much more in agreement with you, KP, than Bourdain.

    We loved both Roscioli and Pizzariu, and have enjoyed Il Goccetto many times. Thanks again for all your great suggestions!

  3. Justine December 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Love this post. Wouldn’t be surprised if bourdain is kicking himself for not consulting you beforehand Katie! Can’t wait to try this itinerary when I’m back for my next visit; and instead of 24hrs I guess I’ll round to 30hrs 😉

    Ps: interested to hear about Claudio vs. Gracchi. As a gelato enthusiast I’d chose the better quality gelateria over roman nostalgia if I had 30hrs in Rome…

  4. Engred December 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Great post Katie! Guido was visiting us last week and we watched this episode and he said the same thing. Glad to see Roscioli on your list! I am going to be in Rome with some girlfriends for 1.5 days in June (coming back from A/C) and will valiantly try to live up to your list!!

  5. Sarah May December 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    I would also eat the Caponata at Roscioli. Their’s is the best I have ever had in Rome. They make it with FIGS for Christ’s sake.

  6. Johanna December 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    When I saw Gabriele Bonci eating with AB at Sora Lella, I took it as kind of a stamp of approval. Glad to hear your thoughts on this restaurant, because I was thinking of making reservations there.

    Pizzarium is on my definite go to list. Looks like I can go on the 28th for lunch after the Vatican. Hoping it is open. Do you have the hours?


  7. david December 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    no ristoro degli angeli?? that’s madness. i’d miss my flight if it meant dinner there.

  8. Tom December 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    When I saw this episode I kept thinking “Where would Katie eat?” Glad you weighed in on this. I also found the choice of Sora Lella suspect. Maybe a Bourdain vs. Parla smackdown episode is in the future?

  9. Kelly December 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    I like watching his show but never take the locations too seriously. When he went to Buffalo he went to some really suspect places that I would never have sent him to so I kind of figured that the person in charge of the location picks the spots. You can kind of tell when he thinks something is alright and when he thinks it is great.

    They should have hired you!

  10. Kelly December 14, 2011 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    AND I’m super annoyed he showed my favorite dive bar on the Miami episode., Now it’s going to be filled with annoying people. Yuck.

  11. BrowsingRome December 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Katie, I love Regoli but on a tight schedule, I would head to Boccione and Fassi. I agree with pizza bianca at Forno Roscioli but the one at Antico Forno at Campo dei Fiori is also decent.

  12. mart December 15, 2011 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Haha, anyone knows there is a best one stop info point for Rome. … Have not been to all places but Pizzarium Yes, yes, yes!! I’ll be there in February will invite you 😉

  13. Francesca Barreca December 15, 2011 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Perfect correction, even if I like also Gelateria dei Gracchi.

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  15. Peter Longenecker December 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Katie, we are in Rome right now coincidently. Re: your suggestion of Armando al Pantheon, have you recently had the Coda alla Vaccinare there? I know it is on the menu, but the last time we were there, I ordered it and was told by the waiter it was not available, “it takes too long to make” !! By the way, we walked past it last night (Saturday night) on our way back from dinner (around ten or so), and the place was closed. Also by the way, I had a very good Coda alla Vaccinara at Roma Spirita in Trastevere the other night. Also, also BTW, love your iPad app.

  16. Peter Longenecker December 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Just checked — Armando is only open for lunch on Saturday. Mystery (to me at least) solved.

  17. s December 23, 2011 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    i am 100% with you, Katie. why didnt they ask *you* to do write it? Roscioli, Il Goccetto, Claudio Torce, Armando…i would suggest Monte Carlo pizzeria for a simple margherita or a capricciosa and Cul de Sac for their brandade di bacala and amazing selection of cheese and cured meats.

    merry christmas, Katie- to you and yours. xo s

  18. Oliver W Douglass February 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    I love Il Gelato di Claudio Torce (my favorite) … But no reason to diss Gelateria dei Gracchi; they have the best pistachio in Rome (as evidenced by the double-wide bin) and I dig their take a number system. The one I complain about (and I live due passi from them and still go there quite often) is San Crispino. I am not complaining about the gelato but their “Se ne frega” attitude.

  19. […] disappointment of mediocre restaurants with tourist menus (and ripoffs!). Plus she gave a pointed rebuttal for Anthony Bourdain’s episode of The Layover in Rome that you’ll want to pay […]

  20. Alexandra March 4, 2013 at 3:29 am - Reply

    I had a fabulous meal at Palatium near the Spanish Steps on my last visit. The emphasis is in the food of the region, with a stunning collection of olive oils, salumi and other local specialties. If you love eating local, and want to put your mouth where your money is, check this one out!

    • Katie March 4, 2013 at 4:01 am - Reply

      I LOVE Palatium. one of the few examples of government working for the people here in Rome. great spot in a sea of tourist traps near piazza di spagna

  21. Rachael Olkin January 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    Question, I will be in Rome for one day during my honeymoon. We get in at 8am and leave at 630am the next day. We don’t need to sleep and just want to get the most out of our 24ish hours. Is the Day 1 plan doable, meaning geography wise, is everything generally close enough to pack it all in? If so where would be a good central location to stay so we can reach all the places and see some sites as well?

  22. Katie January 15, 2014 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    totally doable. just get my app


    (map works offline) and get a place somewhere in the centro storico. rome shuts down by 2 so youll def have time to sleep after being out and about.

    here are my accommodation reccos http://www.parlafood.com/where-to-stay-rome-hotel-apartment/

  23. […] The Layover Rome, Parla Food Edition – Parla Food […]

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