They say time stands still in the restaurant Alfred and Ada: it is one of those old Roman Osterie that neither the sands of time nor the advance of modern fast-food outlets has managed to sweep away. It’s a typical tavern with an old, small and rather austere environment, where you eat what is available that day, and there is no formal printed menu. Here real Roman dishes are on offer, the kinds that take you right back to Grandma’s kitchen. Such dishes are rigatoni with tomato and meat sauce, veal roulades, tripe on Thursday, salted cod on Friday, fruit and hard doughnut biscuits to finish up with, all washed down with the house wine from the Lanuvian Hills. Alfredo and Ada is one of the few remaining restaurants typical of the center of Rome as it was fifty years ago. This place was already operating in the 1930s before it was taken over by Alfredo and Ada. Alfredo died many years ago, and until her death in June 2008, it was run by Ada with beautiful and gracious hospitality. Now it has been remodeled, keeping the old structure, and Ada’s son, Sergio, and above all, his daughter, Chiara, run the restaurant.
I visited it for dinner with Dr. Armin Schwibach, a Bavarian professor of philosophy at various pontifical universities as well as a contributor to this magazine. We started off with rigatoni cacciopepe (cheese and pepper garnish). Next we had involtini di vitello (roulades) with potatoes. The dinner ended with fruit and those biscuits. The house wine from the Lanuvian Hills is very good, and we also had some sparkling mineral water. Our conversation revolved around the study of philosophy and life in the Roman universities. Our check came a fixed 18 Euro (about $23) each to which we added a tip for great service.
Da Alfredo e Ada
Via dei Banchi Nuovi, 14 (Piazza dell’Orologio)
Tel: +39 06 68 78 842
Lunch and dinner every day except Monday.
Not far away, just over the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, is the Relais Group Palace Boutique Hotel. It’s a charming four-star hotel in the area of Piazza Navona and Campo dei Fiori, situated in the Via dei Banchi Vecchi. This is just the right location to reach the major historical and tourist attractions in the city. From its convenient location you may explore all of Rome’s major attractions on foot, leisurely discovering wonders such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia and the Pantheon. The large rooms, decorated with elegance and style, offer all the best comforts and amenities. A wide selection of services will make for an unforgettable stay in this Roman palace that dates back to the 1400s. This building has been very painstakingly remodeled and offers modern, elegantly furnished rooms, decorated with shades of black, pink and white.
There are ten large, spacious suites available whose dimensions are around 40 square meters each, all pleasantly decorated. All suites are classical in style and extremely comfortable, with a unique atmosphere containing a balanced mix of antique and contemporary fittings, fine tapestries, spacious beds and comprehensive modern amenities, including flat-screen plasma TV sets and individually-controlled air conditioning. The hotel is richly adorned with fine marble, beautiful ceilings, and a copper and mirrored elevator, all making for a truly attractive setting. The hotel has a bar, restaurant and a 24-hour reception service. It is possible to request daily papers, non-allergenic rooms and non-smoking rooms. An English and a continental breakfast (included in the rate) is served in the Breakfast Room, where you can order from the menu or serve yourself from the buffet. Room service (free of charge) is available every morning from 7:30 to 10:00 and includes coffee, milk, pastries, yogurt, cakes, fresh fruit, bacon, eggs, cheese, ham and juices.
Relais Group Palace Boutique Hotel
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 115 00186 Roma
Tel: +39 06 97 60 12 86
Prices: for further details contact the hotel.