We had heard of Rome's famous appertivos, and decided we should really try one out...for the culture, of course. We found 'Gusto, a swanky little spot not too far from our hotel, to kick off our night out in Rome.
Lesson #1: fashionably late is not 5 minutes in Rome...The happy hour started at 6pm, so we showed up at 6:05, not wanting to miss all the fun. The waiters were still setting up when we arrived, and we were the only patrons for a good hour! Next time, we'll delay our start time by a bit.
Lesson #2: Aperol spritzes are a little bitter. To kick off our night, we decided to order some spritzes that we had been hearing so much about. They're pretty, and they're very Italian, but we learned that wine is our preferred go-to. As they say, to each their own! Give them a try...I bet on a hot day they are delightfully refreshing.
Lesson #3: Amarone wine is delicious. After polishing off the spritzes, we moved on to the wine menu. This was when I stumbled upon Amarone, a complex wine from the south of Italy, made from partially dried grapes. This is now one of my favorites.
Lesson #4: don't fill up on the apertivo small plates if you're planning on dinner after. But it was so hard with the delicious spread before us! Our waitress kept bringing small plates over to us, and invited us to the buffet of fresh meats and cheeses. It was delicious! After a while, we realized it was time to call it quits and make our way over to our dinner destination, Ristorante Al 34. Twist our arms...more eating!
Lesson #5: do like the Romans, and take a passeggiata stroll around the streets. We may have done this mostly to make room for dinner, but it was fun to be a little dressed up, exploring the tiny winding streets along with the locals while finding our way to dinner.
Lesson #6: There is often more than meets the eye in the restaurants. We came upon the cute doorway to Ristorante Al 34, and were amazed at how large it was when we got inside. It had this funky charm to it, with waiters that were hilarious.
Lesson #7: If the waiter suggests something, you should probably listen. Case in point, this conversation at Al 34:
Me: Shrimp pasta, per favore.
Me: (stunned look)
Waiter: You like crab?
Waiter: It's fresher, you'll get that instead.
And he was right... :)
After all this eating and drinking and a day of sightseeing, we made our way back to the hotel, very happy with our evening. We can't wait to go back to have more nights out in Rome like this! Such fun.