Ristorante Nino in Rome: the ideal lunch shopping break

If you find yourself famished after a marathon shopping round in the Via Condotti-Spanish Steps area of Rome, you have to go to Ristorante Nino on the Via Borgognona. The restaurant seems to have been around forever and although it does attract a lot of tourists and celebrities, there are enough local regulars who make the place such an ideal lunch stop. Eating out in Rome is so wonderful because the food is fabulous and watching Romans — what they’re wearing, how they greet one another, what they’re drinking and talking about — is utterly fascinating.

At Ristorante Nino, we watched an elderly couple who must have been in their late 70s, perhaps 80s, perform what seems to be their Saturday afternoon ritual which consists of discussing the menu of the day with the chef, then with the maitre d’, then with several waiters. Finally, they settled at their favorite table (riservato, of course, lest some unknown, never-to-return-again noisy tourist family occupy the sacred spot), but not before the man assisted his wife with her fur-trimmed coat. He took off his felt hat and his impeccable wool jacket, handed all of them to the waiter, then ordered a carafe of wine. In other cities, these people might be considered strange birds of a dying species, but in Rome, one sees elegant couples like them eating out in places like Dal Bolognese and Al Pompiere.

It’s difficult to get a table at Nino unless you reserve in advance or you arrive before the 2pm Saturday lunch rush. We had no reservations, but we were patient and waited for 15 minutes. It was very much worth it. For antipasti, we had thin slices of finocchiona toscana which melted in our mouths. Then we had the bean soup. “You must try the beans at Nino,” one of my friends advised us, and we are glad we did. Of course they have pasta dishes and secondi (meat and fish), if you are very hungry. You can also go there for dinner but again, you must reserve in advance. The prices are reasonable. The house wine in a carafe was very inexpensive for a place that’s just a block away from the luxury boutiques.

Ristorante Nino
Via Borgognona, 11
00187 Rome
Italy
+39 06 6795 676

** Check out: my favorite restaurants and cafes, and favorite hotels in Rome.

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About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.