Aug 20, 2018

Dinner nostalgia

As a child, I dined out often with my family. The decades have changed the city's dining scene, for better and worse.

dining out in the 1970s Rome
Photo Roma Sparita

My earliest childhood memories are sensory. Restaurant meals played a big part in their shaping. For social and financial reasons, dining out, once commonplace, played a big part in my upbringing. Throughout my youth, I heard the words a cena fuori almost daily. 

I also recall the wonderful feeling of falling into slumber at the end of a meal as adults continued their animated conversation. In the background was the gentle hum of the dining room. I'd hear glasses clink, silverware tap bone china, and the "glug glug glug" of wine being poured. I'd rest my head on folded arms and drift securely into dreamland.

I treasured these post-prandial naps. I'm not sure I ever slept more soundly than as a small child in a restaurant.

For better or worse, that romantically lazy side of the Rome dining scene has vanished. Many places I remember from decades ago are gone or have changed ownership and mood. Charm is harder to find. So are quality meals.

Childhood visions are unique, and I've also changed. My taste is more sophisticated, and more demanding. But let me set all that aside for a moment to remember some of the restaurants that shaped my youth. Modern day alternatives are listed after each memory.

Continue Reading → On Viale dei Ricordi, as appeared on The American Magazine


  1. A little bit off topic but I remember meals at my parents house when we (the kids) went to bed and we could still hear the adults talking as we drifted of to sleep. It is one of my fondest memories. Now as an adult I love it when I head for bed a bit earlier than the rest and I can hear talking and TV as I close my eyes. It takes me back to being a little kid. Thanks for a great memory, Ele.

    1. Not off topic at all! The sensations, the family, the warmth are everything. the rest is just details <3

  2. Lovely memories and great ideas for our inevitable return to Rome. I so often think about places we frequented when we lived there and wonder if they woudl still be favorites. Perhaps it is better to try some new options and make new memories.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I think seeking out the old favorites is both romantic and dangerous, because if the place has worsened, you risk ruining the memory...
      But it's inevitable, like my dad so wanted to re-enact the memories he ignored the shift in quality! :)