Food fads come and go, but brunch has endured in Rome and been embraced by eager locals and curious visitors. Restaurants have added their own twists to the meal. Here, it’s not so much about bacon and eggs, but long buffet tables stocked with enticing all you can eat vegetarian and meat dishes. Some brunches are accompanied with live music, others provide play areas for children, and a few offer great views of the city. If you can’t arrive early, make reservations to avoid waiting in line.
If you wake up hungry on Saturday or Sunday, CamilloB (Vatican, Piazza Cavour 21/A, noon-3:30pm, tel. 06/683-2077, €18) can help. This new bistro a block from Castel Sant’Angelo serves a changing menu of sweet and savory dishes for gulttons as well as the health conscious. The buffet includes quiches, omelets, curry chicken, pizza and many other freshly prepared delicacies competing for space on your plate. Leave room for the desserts, and compare their cheesecake with the one back home. Children are occupied in a dedicated fun zone overseen by a qualified brunchsitter. In between refills you can try your hand at table soccer or ping-pong.
Margutta Ristorarte (Tridente, Via Margutta 118, tel. 06/3265-0577, Sat.-Sun. 12:30pm-3:30pm, €25) is a vegetarian institution that has thrived in a city of carnivores. The classy interior and strictly biological buffet may even make you reconsider your diet. The buffet has over 30 vegetarian and vegan plates along with four nutritional themed menus. Bread, water, juice, fruit salad and coffee are included in the price, and a pianist in the corner provides the atmosphere.
Queen Makeda Grand Pub (Aventino, Via di San Saba 11, tel. 06/575-9608, Sat.-Sun. 12:30pm-3:30pm, €19) is a couple blocks from the Circus Maximus in a leafy residential neighborhood. The industrial interior and bamboo garden give it a Brooklyn meets Japan feel while the long row of taps dispensing craft beers answers any questions about the name. The buffet strays from traditional Italian into spicy international flavors and a roasted meat table where chicken, pork and lamb are carved. Toddlers have a place to play, and several tables are equipped with self-service taps.
If you don’t get to Gusto (Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9, tel. 06/322-6273, daily noon-midnight, €10) early you’ll be left salivating in line. The problem isn’t the lack of tables inside or underneath the monumental portico facing the mausoleum where Rome’s first emperor is buried. It’s just a popular place. Here, price is determined by weight. Brunchers are given large metal plates and unleashed on a fairly standard but well executed buffet of Italian classics. The first 500 grams is €15 and every 100g after that is an additional €2.50. Plates are weighed after each filling.
La Veranda (Vatican, Via Borgo Santo Spirito 73, tel. 06/687-2973, Tues.-Sun. 12:30pm-3:15pm and 7:30-11:15) offers a baby (€15), light (€18), veg (€24) or big (€27) fixed brunch menu served in a medieval palazzo with vaulted ceilings and original frescoes. This is brunch with historic charm, plenty of space between linen covered tables, and a soothing courtyard view that suited to romantics.
Coromandel (Piazza Navona, Via di Monte Giordano 60, tel. 06/6880-2461, Sat.-Sun. 8:30am-3pm, €8-12) takes the more familiar approach to brunch. There is no buffet but a special brunch menu filled with American classics given an Italian makeover. You can order freshly squeezed juices, pancakes with banana and almonds, eggs benedict, bagels, cheeseburgers, or the regular specials. The bohemian furnishings and wood beamed interior is an ideal place to linger over coffee and plan a day in Rome.
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