Move over New York. And you too New Orleans! Rome has jazz clubs too you know! And at Elegance Caf� Jazz Club you can sip on cocktails (like ones called Charlotte, infused with rose water), eat, drink and be merry - all whilst enjoying the smooth tunes of a live jazz show! Owners Remo Proietto and Daria Venuto have just moved Elegance to a stylish, underground new venue and the kitchen is now under the guidance of roman chef Gabriele Cordaro who has worked with Italian and internationally renowned chefs of the likes of Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, 3 Michelin Stars), Heinz Beck (La Pergola, 3 Michelin Stars) and Cristina Bowerman (Glass, 1 Michelin Star). He brings experience and creativity to a menu that boasts the best of local produce with some fusion twists. Like the steak tartare with a carbonara cream sauce and guanciale (pork cheek) powder or the braised roman-style artichokes with burrata and chorizo. Or gnocchi with violet shrimp, zucchini and tomato infused breadcrumbs for a first course and Japanese inspired tuna tataki with a mint yogurt dressing for the main course. Desserts and their expertly mixed cocktails are also a treat for the senses. All this to the dulcet tones of a nightly concert from swing to smooth or Latin jazz and weekly events dedicated to a soul, funk, jam sessions open to the public and a big band focus on Sunday nights. Evenings only and closed Mondays. Dinner from 8 pm, show starts at 9 pm. Metro: Piramide.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Cozy up for great food and cocktails with a side of jazz!
Maria's expert tip: Be sure to book as the place can really fill up.
Coincidently, Domenico Stile's surname means 'style' in English. And it couldn't be a more appropriate description for the service, cuisine and location of Enoteca La Torre. This fine-dining establishment is housed within the elegant Villa Laetitia - a property owned by the Fendi family, of international fashion house fame. Again, a fitting location for Stile's philosophy because the stunning Art Deco interiors, particularly the floor-to-ceiling glass arched doorways that look out on to the property gardens, are as impressive and refined as his plates. Born in the Gulf of Naples, he began his career at age 15 and it has taken him across Italy and even as far as Chicago. In Italy, he learned from the best having worked with Antonio Cannavacciuolo, Enrico Crippa and Massimo Bottura - to drop just a few names. He and his brigade have managed the kitchen here since 2016 and at 28, is the youngest chef in Rome to have a coveted star in the Michelin Guide. He is accompanied by talented sommelier Rudy Travagli, the impeccable Luigi Picca as Maitre and a wonderful service team. The dishes here provide the perfect balance between Stile's technical capabilities and his passion for innovation and outstanding produce. His amuse bouche can include anything from toasted pasta parcels filled with carbonara to a play on the Ferrero Rocher with hazelnut-encrusted blue veined buffalo cheese balls. Highlights on the entree and first course list include tuna tartare with beetroot, Greek yoghurt and a roasted rabe broth; red shrimp with cardamom, stracciatella cheese, caviar, citrus essence and mint croquettes; pasta filled with 'coda alla vaccinara' (Roman-style braised oxtail); amatriciana semolina rice with a smoked squid twist; and a divine risotto infused with lemons from Amalfi. Take your pick for second courses with one of the standouts being the flame-grilled duck with coriander, offal croquettes, fennel chutney and blood orange. Like all the perfectly presented dishes, desserts are a treat for all the senses, particularly the adventurous meringue and biscuit crumble with wasabi sorbet. Outside the a-la-carte menu, there are two (blind) tasting degustations to choose from 5 courses at E95 or 7 at E130 (excluding beverages). Closed Sunday and Monday at lunch.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Stunning art deco details with outstanding elegant dishes to match.
Maria's expert tip: The evening is special, but a daytime visit with light filtering the gorgeous glass doors won't disappoint.
From the moment you walk in, you can tell Perpetual is different. They even state that in their sub-name, 'Ristorazione Differente'. And not just because the interior design is impressively stunning with evocative mood lighting. Nor because the gourmet menu is a spread of on-point contemporary dishes invented by Romanian chef and Italy transplant, Cesare Predescu (in consultation with Michelin Star chef Paolo Cappuccio) and meticulously executed by a team of young chefs including Gennaro Pernice. What makes it special is the service. On arrival, you're invited straight into the kitchen to meet the team and see the gleaming facilities. Then in one of the dining halls, a hidden pastry kitchen is revealed. Try the white asparagus served with cream of toasted almonds and bean shoots to start, tortelli pasta with scampi in the middle and poached salt cod to finish. The finale of a classic tiramisu' is a nice bookend. If you'd like to leave the meal up to the chefs, go for their eleven-course tasting menu at 85 euro. For an additional 45 euro you get wine pairings and at lunch, you can dine on three courses for 30 euro. Entree and first courses are around 20 euro and main courses, 30 euro. Open Monday-Friday for lunch from 12:30-15:30 and dinner from 19:30-midnight. Open Saturday for dinner only from 19:30-midnight. Closed Sunday. METRO: Colosseo.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Modern and elegant dining, right by the Colosseum is a win-win combination.
Maria's expert tip: Bookings are essential and they can even be made online.
Young Roman chefs who take a risk with the drive to open their own restaurant in this current Italian economy must be applauded. And Antonio Ziantoni is the latest to venture out on his own after stints in some very reputable dining establishments. For four years he worked with Anthony Genovese of Rome's two-Michelin starred Il Pagliaccio and even with England's Gordon Ramsey. He chose Trastevere - a neighborhood in need of dining evolution - and his could very well be the Rome restaurant opening of the year. His stellar curriculum and talent will certainly stand him in good stead. The interiors and fit out at Zia are an ode to those all too familiar Scandinavian lines infiltrating the city but with Made in Italy design touches, Ziantoni and co. have truly made it their own. With less than 30 covers, it's an intimate space and away from the more crowded zones of the quartiere. The menu will attract a crowd looking for quality and innovation on the plate, but the prices are extremely reasonable for Trastevere and for the refined technique you find on the plate. There are 5 entrees,5 first course and 5 main courses to choose from as well as a 5-course tasting menu (55 euro) and a 3-course lunch menu (30 euro). The menu will change each season and some of the current highlights include lamb sweetbreads with mozzarella and tomato; a delectable pulled pork salad; panzerotti with smoked cockerel; and a most tender lamb and mustard dish. And when it comes to dessert, Christian Marasca's delights don't disappoint, especially the spectacular Tourbillon. If innovative fine dining is what you're after in Rome but you don't want to break the bank, Zia certainly won't disappoint. TRAM: 3 8. BUS: 75, H.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Fine dining without being stuffy, Zia is perfect for a special romantic outing.
Maria's expert tip: Let the chef treat you to a degustation that you won't soon forget.
Rome's Ristorante All'Oro has a new home and a stylish one at that! Chef Riccardo di Giacinto and his partner Ramona Anello have just unveiled their 5-star boutique hotel The H'all Tailor Suite and All'Oro (not new to Rome, formerly in Via del Vantaggio) sit like a jewel in her crown. This is not your average hotel restaurant but in a sense, a fine dining restaurant with hotel rooms. Riccardo and Ramona have thought of every particular detail to make you feel as though you're dining at their place! The restaurant is fitted with plush and luxury colorful interiors and everything from the charcoal fabric covered tables to purple velvet sofa seats are designed with client comfort in mind. The menu brings the same fun and spunk to their age-old signature dishes with a few new ones on the list. Some of the standout dishes included the potato and salt cod tiramisu; a deconstructed carbonara cream in an eggshell; mascarpone ravioli with duck ragu and red wine reduction; and the cheeky take on the old Roman classic, a ball of coda alla vaccinara (slowly braised oxtail) that resembles the Ferrero Rocher chocolate. The fun doesn't end after dinner with a mirror prop arriving at your table for a Snow White 'mirror mirror' moment complete with small apple delights to cleanse the palate. All'Oro is a gastronomic journey that surprises and makes you smile at every turn.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Cozy and warm interiors and award-winning cuisine, All'Oro is the perfect romantic combination.
Maria's expert tip: Bookings here are essential and there's also a boutique hotel here if you want to take romance further!
Sleek and chic. If Retrobottega was one of Rome's hottest addresses for contemporary dining before, its recent restyle has sure taken it up a notch. Located right in the heart of the city, between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, there are only 26 seats at this modern eatery so you'll have to book to get a seat. The venue has two dining spaces that are centered around the open kitchen so not only do you get to taste Giuseppe Lo Iudice and Alessandro Miocchi's creations, you see their artistic preparation unfold right before your eyes. These young and experienced chefs (they count brands and names like Bulgari, Anthony Genovese, Il Pagliaccio and Enrico Crippa between them) are all about refined, seasonal dishes in a convivial, minimalist setting. Walking in off those off those old cobblestoned streets is a contrast from old and new and the design features and lighting stand out right away - here, your cutlery is built into the specially designed high top tables which always make for a great conversation starter! You can choose to dine from the menu or a 5-course degustation (where you select two starters, a first and second course and dessert) for 50 euro. The menu changes frequently but think squid and wild boar tartare for entree and first courses like blueberry and veal shank risotto or sea eel and fennel tortellini. On the main course list, you'll find anything from cuttlefish to pork to pigeon. Dessert is a decadent affair too with an almond, licorice and raisin delight or heartwarming chocolate and salted caramel treat. The wine list is extensive and the staff is super knowledgeable and friendly. Open daily for lunch and dinner. BUS: 64, 70, 85.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Classy, fun and contemporary dining in Rome doesn't get much better than this.
Maria's expert tip: Look for your cutlery in a cute drawer built into the custom design tables.
Mirabelle is perched on the 7th floor of the luxurious Hotel Splendide Royal and is home to one for the most elegant terraces in Rome. Unobstructed views of everything from the Pantheon to the dome of St Peter's Basilica can be enjoyed from the roof garden which acts as a magical panoramic space all year round. Executive Chef Stefano Marzetti and Food and Beverage Director Luca Costanzi run the show here and what a delightful show it is. Their impressive wine cellar boasts a never-ending selection of Italian and international labels (over 700 to be exact) and the refined menu with gourmet touches will delight even the fussiest of fine diners. In addition to the a la carte menu, there are three tasting menus to choose from, including Rome's current complete gluten-free degustation consisting of 5 delectable courses. The classic decor with the live piano gives it an olde world cabaret feel. One thing's for sure: the meal, the staff and lively atmosphere will more than impress. The view will leave you speechless. Metro: Barberini.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: What could be more romantic than dinner with a view of the Eternal City? Mirabelle delivers on both levels!
Maria's expert tip: Try to get in before the sun sets for a pre-dinner cocktail with unforgettable views of the city.
Located in the heart of Rome's Trastevere, an area full of casual trattorias and bars, Glass Hostaria stands out as a contemporary gem. With a Michelin Star, Cristina Bowerman and her team deliver fine dining in a sophisticated, yet relaxed atmosphere. The fine dining menu is inventive as modern as the interiors and the wine cellar is as impressive as one would expect of an establishment of this caliber. With an international and local crowd, the menu changes seasonally and a degustation experience is the best way to sample the outstanding selection. Tram: 8, Bus: 23, H.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Fine and innovative dishes in a timeless contemporary setting.
Maria's expert tip: Don't go past Cristina Bowerman's steak tartare - it is the best in Rome.
With sweeping views of the Roman cityscape, perched above the Spanish Steps, this sixth-floor dining room would attract attention for the impressive location if nothing else. But Neapolitan head chef Francesco Apreda has created a menu of internationally influenced Italian cuisine that sees tastes of Asia and wider Europe enter the dishes. With a Michelin star under his belt, early reservations are an absolute must, as well as a jacket and tie for men at dinner time. This is fine dining in Rome at its very modern best and the atmosphere makes for a very romantic setting. METRO: Spagna.
For those looking to add a little more bling to their dining experience and when money isn't a question, eating at La Pergola restaurant is the icing on the cake. It will turn your Roman Holiday into the ultimate Dolce Vita experience. The exclusive restaurant located on the rooftop of the swanky Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It boasts the best view of the city thanks to its prime position perched atop the Monte Mario hill of Rome. With 3 Michelin stars, it is ranked among the top 50 restaurants in the world. The sommelier can advise you on the best pairing of wine (over 1800 labels) to choose from with your meal. Award-winning chef, Heinz Beck whips up refined and innovative dishes such as veal fillet with black truffles and apple puree, carpaccio of scallops on amaranth, and beef tartare on liquorice-gelatine with caviar. Expect to pay a pretty penny (at least 150 euro a person and that's on the low-end of the spectrum). BUS: 913.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: La Pergola is the best restaurant in Rome, if not Italy.
Maria's expert tip: You will need to make your reservation at least two months in advance.