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SIPPING AND SUPPING: Piazza di Spagna PDF Print E-mail
May 15, 2009 at 03:58 PM

ImagePublished first in Wanted in Rome.
 Babington’s Tea Room dates back to 1893 when it was founded by two English ladies at a time when  tea could only be found in pharmacies. In its present location at the bottom of the Spanish Steps (to the left of the staircase) where it has been since 1896, you can get brunch, tea and high tea here, enjoying one of the tearoom’s dozens of blends and enjoying  more or less traditional fare such as sggs Benedict, pancakes, Scottish scones and hot buttered crumpets, sandwiches and hot dishes such as chicken curry.


                 Babington’s is not cheap but the food is tasty and the "different" atmosphere a welcome change.
Babington’s English Tea Room, Piazza di Spagna 23, tel. 06 6786027. Sun.closed  


ImageJust a block away in Via dei Condotti is another place known for its atmosphere,  the Antico Caffè Greco, which, founded in 1760 by a Greek named Nicola della Maddalena, may be the city’s oldest surviving coffee house. Situated in the heart of what was once called the English quarter (see the piece on Piazza di Spagna), its client list grew through the 19th century to include famous world-famous literati, intellectuals  and musicians. You name them, they’ve been here.
Many habitués donated paints or sculptures to the ornately-decorated café and in 1953 the Italian Education Ministry made it a "protected center of artistic life". 


 Excellent coffee, tea and hot chocolate, drinks, cakes and candies.

Caffé Greco, Via dei Condotti 86, tel. O66791700. Sun. closed. 


Two streets over on Via Frattina is Palatium, an appealing winebar (at street level) and restaurant (upstairs)  founded - and funded - by, of all things, the Lazio Region’s  Department of Agriculture.  But the region didn’t do it alone; it had help from the well-known Roman restaurateur Antonello Colonna, and the result is a great place for an aperitivo with friends or even a light meal if you’re downtown and want to take a break from shopping.

ImageThe enoteca features Lazio’s increasingly better wines and  features Roman and Italian dishes. With your aperitivo you can sample all sorts of goodies, from bruschette made with bread from nerby Genzano (my favorite pane casareccio) with olive oil, pachini tomatoes, and ricotta, beans and ceci, prosciutto, organic vegetables and torte rustiche, a sort of Italian meat or vegetable pie.

Palatium. Via Frattina 94, tel. 0669202132 Sun closed. 


The resurrected luxury Hotel de Russie boasts a  quiet, terraced, oasis-like garden in the center of bustling Rome that has become a much-appreciated spot to meet a friend for an aperitivo or even, in the sunny months,  for an expensive lunch on the raised, al fresco patio. Location, location, location, that’s what this terrace  - the outside portion of the Bar Stravinskij – has going for it. The minimalist wrought iron tables and simple white Roman umbrellas are a contrast to the luxuriant garden, juniper, cypress, palms and vines and give another dimension to the simple act of sipping a Campari or an ice-cold Prosecco.

Bar Stravinskij
Hotel de Russie, Via del Babuino 9, tel. Tel: 06328881.   

The founder of the Rome Wine Accademy, opened in 2002 around the corner from Piazza di Spagna is Roberto Wirth, owner of the Hassler Hotel and the  newerIl Palazzetto Restaurant & Wine Bar, the latter sharing space with the academy. Activities revolve around wine and gastronomy with wine courses, wine tastings and wine tours as well as “Meet the wine-maker” and “Great Chefs” dinners, in which a winemakers or chefs are invited to the evening and present their wines or culinary creations.

International Wine Academy of Roma
Vicolo del Bottino, Tel. +39 06 6990878

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