HOW TO BE ROMAN: Lucy Chiswell’s top ten substitutes for tourist traps in the eternal city

1) APERITIVO

If you find yourself hunting for an aperitivo in Rome, you are already leaps and bounds ahead of the coach loads of iPhone snapping tourists in the race to becoming Roman. In fact, you are even miles ahead of some of the Roman residents. Something that sticks firmly in my mind is a bus journey I spent listening to a student describing a bar in Florence to her peers that has this ‘really cool thing where you like only spend like eight euros on a drink and then there’s like a whole buffet of like food for free’. Welcome to Italy. This is called aperitivo and it can be found in pretty much every bar in the country. Bless.

Thanks to luciagalant

But the trick to becoming one of the locals is to know where to go, when to go and most importantly, how to go. An aperitivo (more commonly known as an aperitif) is traditionally a drink before dinner which, in Italy, is accompanied by plates of food laid out in the bar area. What I might like to call a ‘forky talky’. It is routine for Italians to go for an aperitivo before making their way to the trattoria for dinner. For us English people however, it doesn’t tend to work like that. Doing things in moderation is what the Italians do well, and the English do badly. So for us aperitivo tends to replace dinner.

Search: combination of delicious food and good cocktails. Result: Fluid.

Disguised behind heavy, wooden, sign-less doors, in daylight the bar is tricky to pick out from Via Governo Vecchio’s endless restaurants and vintage shops. But between the hours of 6pm and 2am, you will find a hip and buzzing bar, full to the brim with trendy Italians gazing into each other’s eyes over passion fruit Mojitos and Moscow Mules. You will be drawn to the low lighting, the minimal music, the psychedelic oil-filled floor tiles and tables and the LED lit stools.

Not to give yourself away, remember to buy your aperitivo ticket as you enter and then choose from the extensive menu of deliciously fresh cocktails (I recommend the two aforementioned and the ‘Fluid’) whilst helping yourself to one, two , three, maybe four plates of Italian scrumptiousness. Aperitivi are traditionally carby and salty to encourage more boozing and thus more spending. But at Fluid, not only do they keep salt to a minimum (something that Freni e Frizioni could learn from – another great but salty aperitivo in Trastevere) but as well as offering pasta, risotto, rice and bread, you also have salads, cheese, vegetables and fruit to choose from.

The delicious food, the exotic cocktails, the fantastic atmosphere and the beautiful people, all make Fluid hands down my number one aperitivo in Roma. Just make sure you get there early to get a table and to be the first to get your hands on their gourmet spread.

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