Panama City; Restaurants and Fish Market

September 20, 2010
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Most of the time, when I travel, “it’s all about the food” is my mantra. I’m happiest when I travel some place where not only do I enjoy eating the food but the local culture embraces and celebrates their cuisine. I believe this is why I keep returning to places in the Mediterranean and South East Asia. Sometimes though, the trip is not as much about the food as it is about the location and the other things it has to offer such as magnificent beaches or fascinating wildlife. In July we spent a week in Panama and I’d have to say it falls in the latter category.

Still, if there’s good food to be found or a market to check out, I’ll do my best find it. While we had our share of mediocre meals (my recommendation; stick with the Panamanian food instead of other “international” options), …

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Four Favorite Markets in Rome

January 27, 2010
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I love markets. I love the beautiful array of produce, the gleaming fish, the wet floors, the smell of meat and flowers. There’s something about a local’s market which can put me in touch with a culture more than any museum, monument or religious structure.

Rome is filled with many options for buying food; large wet markets, both indoors and out, small supermarkets, and speciality food stores. There’s no shortage of beautiful vegetables and fruit, meats and cheeses and one can eat well, and cheaply, without ever setting foot in a restaurant, should you choose (though I’m not recommending you skip out on the city’s fantastic ristoranti ). Below are my favorite markets in Rome from my visits in the last two years.

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Restaurants in Rome; La Tavernetta

December 29, 2009


The last restaurant I’d like to feature from my trip to Rome is a place called La Tavernetta. It’s on a tiny back street near the frenetic, touristy area surrounding the Pantheon. The street is not much more than an alley with almost no traffic; it’s surprisingly quiet for being so close to the center.

When we arrive at La Tavernetta (Via degli Spagnoli 48) it is full inside, but has empty tables outside. It’s chilly, and threatening to rain. But we’re hungry and the €12 lunch menu sounds good so we take our chances and sit under a large umbrella. It does indeed begin to rain while we are eating, but the umbrella keeps us dry and the food and wine warms our bellies.

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Restaurants in Rome; Cantina Cantarini and Armando al Pantheon

November 25, 2009

Cantina Cantarini

This is a place I came across randomly while doing restaurant research for Rome on Chowhound. Usually I troll their message boards but this recommendation came from an article on their site which had the tagline of “You can get a bad meal in Rome.” This however, was an example of what the writer considered an authentic, non-touristy place, so I filed it away in case we were in that neighborhood at some point. On the day we were headed to visit the Baths of Diocletian, we needed somewhere to have lunch and this little spot was only about 5 blocks away.

After a lengthy, hot bus ride across town, one where the bus veered unexpectedly off the map,  we walk up to the restaurant and I am praying we will find it open. I don’t have a lot of options otherwise in this area, and it’s already …

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Restaurants in Rome; Sora Margherita and Dar Poeta Pizzaria

November 11, 2009


When is a restaurant not really a restaurant?
When it’s a “cultural association.”



Sora Margherita

We get a little lost, trying to find this place, wandering in Rome’s Ghetto neighborhood. In fact, we have to stop and ask someone for directions and end up back in a Piazza where we’d just been five minutes before. It’s no surprise because this place has no sign or visible entrance, unless you know what you’re looking for. Stand in the Piazza delle Cinque Scole and look for the doorway with the long red ribbons/ropes (the kind used to keep flying insects out). See it? Then look closer at a metal plate on the wall next to the doorway and you’ll see that someone has hand written “Sora Margherita” on it.

There is a gentleman standing in the doorway, policing all who dare to enter. We ask for a table for four. …

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Restaurants in Rome; Il Fico and Hosteria Da Nerone

October 21, 2009

Rome abounds with fantastic restaurants. Toss a coin over your shoulder (a la Three Coins in a Fountain) and you are liable to hit a decent one. On the other hand, like most cities with an abundance of tourists, there’s no shortage of crap either. This is why it’s imperative you do your homework and don’t settle for the first place with a laminated menu in four languages and a nice view of the coliseum.


The Centro Storico is the “historical center” of Rome and there are literally hundreds of restaurants clustered around the Piazza Navona, Pantheon and Campo di Fiori area. We ended up at Il Fico after pulling out my restaurant list and map and looking for whatever was closest to where we were standing. In truth, that wasn’t Il Fico, but the first place was full without reservations and we moved on, calling Il Fico and …

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