“ Pizzeria near Piazza Navona in Rome / Address: via Del Teatro Pace, 44, Roma / Tel: 06 686 9278 „
On our first night in Rome we were looking for somewhere close by to eat. We asked the owner of the apartment where we were staying and he recommended a couple of places. We chose Navona Notte because it was the closest and it was supposed to be reasonably priced.
Navona Notte is located at 44 via del Teatro Pace. It is just off Piazza Navona but as it is located in a side street it is cheaper than the restaurants on the Piazza itself.
We arrived at the restaurant at about 8pm and we were absolutely starving! We looked at the menu outside, decided that it looked fine for our needs so we headed in and asked for a table for two. We were shown to a table at the back of the restaurant. The place has seating for about 50 people inside and some seating outside as well. Inside the decoration was fairly traditionally Italian with painted landscape scenes on the walls and checked table clothes. The restaurant is not that big inside and they really pack the tables in so it's not the place to go if you're claustrophobic!
The menu was in English as well so it was easy to work out what we wanted. The waiting staff were very efficient and polite all night. Most of them spoke some English which was helpful when our Italian ran out.
To start we shared the Italian hors d'oeuvres for two. When it came it consisted of a basket of bread, different meats and two bruschetta. The bread was nice but there were no dipping oils which meant that it was dry. We were fairly surprised at the lack of oils but to be fair we didn't ask so I'm not sure if we could have got some. The bruschetta were really nice: covered in mozzarella and tomato. The meats were nice as well, although there were too many of the cheaper looking ones for me and not enough Parma ham. The pieces of Parma ham and salami were delicious but some of the others were a bit plastic-y and didn't taste as nice.
For the main course I had the capricciosa pizza. This was a really thin base and the toppings were Parma ham, artichoke, mushrooms, egg and olives. The pizza was delicious and all the toppings were really tasty. I would have preferred all the toppings to have been spread all over the pizza instead of confined to different areas as they were but this seems to be an Italian thing as I experienced it at other restaurants as well. Mr Tart had the four cheese gnocchi (parmesan, gorgonzola, caciotta and gruyere). As we both tried each other's I can comment on how his tasted as well. The gnocchi was piping hot and really tasty but it was incredibly rich and I know that I couldn't have eaten the bowlful that Mr Tart had. Mr Tart was feeling very full after it and had to sleep sitting up slightly (and he eats like a horse normally and nothing usually effects him so this must have been rich!).
To drink Mr Tart had a half litre of the house red wine and I had a bottle of beer. The drinks menu was not extensive. There were a few wines, two types of bottled beer and one beer on tap. At the beginning the waiter asked us if we wanted water and we thought that being asked like that would mean it was tap water. However, he brought over a bottle which we were of course charged for. This wasn't a huge problem but it does bother me paying for water in places where the tap water is fine to drink so we made sure we said no in future and took our own refilled bottle if we needed water.
The other things on the menu were a mix of traditional Italian food. There were lots and lots of pizzas, together with pastas with various toppings. Both Mr Tart and I could quite happily have chosen lots of things on the menu. There were desserts as well but we were stuffed after our massive main courses, but they included the usual panna cotta and tiramisu.
Our meal cost us Euro37.50 not including a tip. We didn't think it was a bad price considering it's proximity to Piazza Navona, although food on the Continent all seems expensive now because of the Euro! We were slightly unimpressed with the starter. Although the meat was nice it needed something else with it like some olives and dipping oil for the bread. The main courses were very tasty and clearly fresh. The service was also good. If you had asked me on the night I probably would have given Navona Notte four stars for doing what was asked of it it was never meant to be gourmet. However, we ate at places offering the same types of food later in the holiday which were much better and also cheaper, hence the three star verdict. I think if you're looking for a reasonable meal close to Piazza Navona then I would recommend this place. However, if you can travel to other areas I think that there are better places in Rome (see future reviews!!).