These have been complex times for the cities of art. However, we are now returning to normal and the love of travel is back up to pre-COVID numbers (as seen by the enormous difficulty of the air transport sector in facing the growing demand with staff still reduced by the cuts made during the pandemic). In Rome, the “return” of domestic and international tourism is truly palpable: in its iconic places, the city is teeming with life and crowds, just as it always used to be. And, as evidence of the attractiveness of the city and the interest it generates, big business is ready to wager on the Italian capital, at the highest levels. Not just because of the wealth of historical wonders, which are obviously paramount. But also because of the amazing food, the quality local crafts, the great chefs.
Between 2021 and 2022, countless hotel groups that have chosen Rome to open new venues with high-end eateries: the Marriott[LI1] , with W Rome and a complete offer, with a string of names including Ciccio Sultano, Emanuele Broccatelli, Fabrizio Fiorani and Pierdaniele Seu.
Or the new Shedir group (already owner of the stunning Vilòn Roma) with the delightful Maalot Roma, its versatile ‘all-day dining’ restaurant Don Pasquale near the Trevi Fountain, and new projects in the pipeline, again in the old city center, foreseen for after the summer. And then Bulgari–which for some time now has invested in the hugely successful Niko Romito–arriving in Piazza Augusto Imperatore at the start of 2023.
This year, the Pavilions [LI2] group has tripled its presence in the city: following The First Arte with the fine dining restaurant Acquolina and the rooftop Terrazza Molinari and The First Dolce with the pastry shop Velo, it opened The First Musica, a third boutique hotel with the Mediterranean restaurant Oliva and the Alto cocktail bar (again, a trend within a trend, the focus is on pizza), grand design and beautiful view of the Tiber.
As we said, views. And wonderful terraces, which in recent years are increasingly popular among foodies in Rome: the latest successes include Divinity Terrace, winner of the Tre Cocotte (the highest award for bistros) at The Pantheon Hotel, and Baccano, today run by Nabil Hassen, another great venue in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Businesses are consolidated in wonderful places of art.
This full desire to enjoy the beauty of Rome is found in the new bistros in the museums and historic buildings, from Palazzo Massimo alle Terme to Galleria Borghese, Palazzo Brancaccio (where Spazio Field has opened the restaurant Roland), Palazzo Doria Pamphilj (where the Caffè Doria, with tables in the splendid internal cloister, is an increasingly popular venue). But it is also the time of the little guys and of small revolutions, with courageous entrepreneurs who bet everything on good and healthy food.
This is the case for Tulipane, a new entry in the awards this year, devoted to the word of good bread, and for Pizzicàrola, another all-female business awarded for bringing a breath of fresh air to our understanding of the neighborhood store.
There are also very promising new arrivals, such as chef Davide Puleio, who has finally opened his city venue - Pulejo - and the group of young entrepreneurs who have added a contemporary twist to the Sabine countryside with La Tenuta Resort Agricolo in Casaprota, combining food, hospitality and horses.
At the top of the ranking in the guide Rome and the Best of Lazio 2023 by Gambero Rosso, presented at the Spazio Field in Palazzo Brancaccio in Rome, the Tre Forchette are reconfirmed, with slight changes to the scores, while there is a new entry to the Tre Gamberi with a large traditional restaurant in the heart of the city, Il Grappolo d’Oro in Piazza della Cancelleria. The Tre Mappamondi see the return of Dao Restaurant, authentic Chinese eatery, while the special awards include best Servizio di Sala (table service) and Servizio di Sala in Albergo (hotel table service) to the very strong teams at Il Pagliaccio and Imàgo at the Hotel Hassler (whose patron, Roberto Wirth, died recently).
For the second consecutive year, the growth of regional heritage is highlighted with the ‘Genius Loci’ award, which is given to one business for each Lazio province, that stand out for their virtuous promotion of local heritage, while at the ‘Valorizzazione del Territorio’ award goes to a virtuous eatery that successfully promotes local food and wine. The Gruppo del Gusto from the Stampa Estera Italia association, on the other hand, has the task of rewarding the eateries that most impress the foreign journalists who have chosen to live and work in Rome and the Lazio region.
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