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A couple more restaurant questions

Hello all. I have previously asked some basic dining questions and have researched the topic quite a bit, so I know about the courses, the coperto outside of Rome, etc. As I continue planning for my trip I have a couple more questions.

First, does everyone dress up for dinner? I ask because based on the recommendations from this group we will be traveling light, so we cannot be changing outfits frequently. Also, we won't always want to go back to the hotel and change for dinner.

Second, before joining this forum I had read about Armando al Pantheon, and thought we should try to get reservations. I have looked at pictures of their menus (YELP, TA, Zomato), and have seen first courses and appetizers in the 13-15 euro range, and Secondi around 20 euros. Lately I have read about this restaurant in this forum and see people say its a splurge. One post compared it to Salumeria Roscioli, with Armando al Pantheon being a splurge and Salumeria Roscioli not. Am I am missing something? To me Salumeria Roscioli seems more expensive. And more importantly, am I way off when I look at picture menus on sites like YELP and TA (I always try to look at the dates to make sure they are recent). We have a good budget for food (again based on guidebooks, menus, forum advice, etc.) but want to make sure that my research strategy has been correct.

Posted by
5052 posts

...does everyone dress up for dinner? we cannot be changing outfits frequently...won't always want to go back to the hotel and change...

Not everyone "dresses" for dinner. It depends entirely on restaurant. There are casual places, semi dressy places, and places where one should dress more formally. We've dined in cafes where we simply wore the walking about clothes of the day, places where the men wore sport coats, collared shirts, and nice slacks, and on rare occasions where men were in suites and ties. Women often wear very casual clothes with just pants and a nice top. Other times a short jacket and a scarf upgrades the outfit a notch, and occasionally just a nice dress or skirt with flats. No need to take heels for just one or two meals.

Changing outfits frequently shouldn't be necessary. Who in the second or third restaurant will know what you wore before.

If circumstances make returning to the hotel to change a problem, simply pick a more casual place to eat that night and save the fancy dinner for another night.

Most importantly, don't stress about this. Italy has wonderful food enjoyed by people in all sorts of dress.

Posted by
1050 posts

When are you travelling? In the summer months the heat and humidity can make shorts and a t-shirt uncomfortable. But, I wouldn't recommend that as dinner attire. A nice 'summer appropriate' outfit should suffice. As a man, I wear slacks and a linen shirt. I don't feel under or over dressed anywhere I go.

Posted by
15471 posts

If a restaurant calls for formal attire I don’t go there at all unless invited because it is certainly an extremely expensive restaurant that probably serves innovative “nouvelle” cuisine dishes which aren’t even authentic traditional Italian. But even in those fancy places, a smart casual attire (basically long pants and clean not faded collared t-shirt) will probably do.

Any other restaurant, not even necessarily a budget restaurant, will take you even wearing bermuda shorts and sandals. Just avoid wearing a bathing suit with a tan top and flip flops and you can eat almost anywhere without fear of being underdressed.