While the essence of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita in Rome and images of Anita Ekberg swanning about in the Trevi Fountain are but a distant memory, the famed Via Vittorio Veneto is still home to the most elegant hotels of the "Eternal City."
Standing proud on the strip is the Regina Hotel Baglioni, which was built way back in 1904. (Well, that wasn't so long ago in Rome terms!)
This five-star luxury establishment boasts almost 120 rooms; a penthouse suite with 360-degree views of the city; and the feather in its cap: the opulent Brunello Lounge and Restaurant.
Buffalo mozzarella with candied cherry tomatoes and Gaeta olives at Brunello Lounge and Restaurant — Photo courtesy of Maria Pasquale / HeartRome
Under the guidance of Chef Luciano Sarzi Sartori, Brunello showcases the best that the Mediterranean has to offer, using only the highest quality of Italian ingredients.
And the best part? The restaurant isn't reserved to hotel guests, and it offers a street entrance right on Via Veneto.
Sartori's dishes are unique and innovative. He's racked up professional experience across Italy.
At lunchtime, as one looks out to Via Veneto to watch people pass by, the menu offers Italian specialties like certified buffalo mozzarella, candied cherry tomatoes, Gaeta olives and bottarga; Roman-style carbonara or fettuccine with braised oxtail ragu; and salads, including a deliciously fennel, Sicilian orange and squid one.
Also at lunchtime, diners can choose from a few piatti unici, a complete dish that combines a first and second course; this is great for lunch on the run.
For example, you might try the cacio e pepe (pecorino cheese and black pepper) risotto served with strips of beef cooked in a Brunello wine reduction.
In the evening, the lights turn down and the ambience turns to cozy, as the menu takes on a regional Italian feel, a virtual journey from north to south, if you like.
Expect dishes like Roman-style fish and chips (fried salt cod) served with puntarelle (a sort of chicory local to Rome); Piemontese-style steak tartare served with regional hazelnuts, truffle emulsion and Castelmagno almond brittle; Tuscan ravioli filled with potatoes and ricotta and served with a butter and sage sauce and pecorino cheese flakes; and a Sardinian-inspired roasted sea bass fillet with seafood stew.
And their sommelier is more than happy to help match some local or international wines to your selections.
There are plenty of vegetarian dishes available, too, and on request, any dietary restriction can be catered for.
Whether you're staying at Regina Hotel Baglioni on the famed Via Veneto or not, Brunello is a fine choice for your Roman holiday lunch or dinner.