Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ciao, Italia!

I was in Rome for a dear friend's wedding (that was a six course meal, not counting the cocktail hour appetizers or the dessert table). Once I recovered, I was able to find some lovely spots.

1. Aperitivo

Though this is a Milanese tradition, Rome has caught on. At Obika near the Spanish Steps, 10 Euro will buy you a cocktail (my favorite is Negroni, a mix of 1 part gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, and 1 part Campari) and unlimited visits to the buffet, which runs from 7 to 9.30. This is a happy hour done right. I was happy to find one in Milan (across from the Duomo on the top floor of La Rinascente) and overjoyed to find out that they have an outpost in New York. 6 types of Mozarella di Bufa, to start...

Obika Mozarella Bar
Piazza di Firenze - corner Via dei Prefetti
00186 - Roma

2. Paninis
At the fabled De Santis (autographed pictures of Sophia Loren, Pavarotti, and several football jerseys grace the walls), I had an amazing panini with prosciutto crudo (the kind you seldom find in the US, except for the citterio fresco at Trader Joe's). The space is tiny, the menu only in Italiano, but the staff is friendly, the ingredients very fresh, and the bar fully stocked. A great pre-Cenacolo meal.

De Santis
Corso Magenta, 9

3. Coffee every which way
Even a caffeine junkie like me can appreciate the fact that Naples is a city that takes its coffee seriously. Since it's a faux pas to have Capuccinos after 10.30 AM, I had a caffe con pana (so sweet, hot and thick that it is no wonder Starbucks has yet to overrun the country, as it has done Paris). Gambrinus is the stuff of legend - across from the Palazzo Reale, former watering hole of Oscar Wilde. Terrible service and steep prices, but what a view, and I am not talking about this lovely cup, either.

Caffee Gambrinus
Piazza Trieste e Trento, Via Chiaia 1-2, Chiaia, 80132

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