Dining en Plein Air

by Danilo Brunetti

Believe it or not, Rome reigns as the greenest city in Europe: roughly 4000 hectares of Italy’s capital are composed of parks, historic villas, and public gardens. A stroll through these verdant oases is the best way to take in all of October’s beauty; many also are home to restaurants that promise satisfying fare and the last chance to soak up autumn sunshine before winter’s arrival.

Tucked inside Villa Doria Pamphili, Rome’s largest park, charming Vivi Bistrot stays open from morning to night, serving breakfast, lunch, tea, aperitivo, and dinner. All dishes are healthy, natural, and composed of seasonal organic ingredients, like salads, veggie bowls, smoothies, and juices. Vivi Bistrot is perhaps best known for its picnic service: take away a wicker basket packed with your lunch and enjoy it in the spot of your choosing. They even have specialty picnics like an Engagement Picnic if you’re inspired to propose to your other half.

Via Vitellia, 102. Tel 065827540. vivibistrot.com

Art and nature collide in Villa Borghese, arguably the most beloved and frequented park in all of Rome. Restaurant VyTA  has real estate here and treats its guests to traditional Roman dishes like cacio e pepe and carbonara, or specialty burgers, like their sword sh burger served on a sun flower seed and pistachio bun. In the evenings, treat yourself to an aperitivo immersed in the park’s fresh air and greenery.

Largo Marcello Mastroianni, 1. Tel 0687716019. vytavillaborghese.it

La Limonaia  looks out onto the magni cent, verdant theater that is Villa Torlonia. The restaurant is housed in what was originally a citrus grove and flower greenhouse, giving it a unique architectural style. Dine en plein air on bucatini all’amatriciana, shrimp and asparagus risotto, tuna steak, and more, all washed down with a good bottle of Italian red.

Via Lazzaro Spallanzani, 1a. Tel 0695065250. limonaiaroma.it

The majestic ruins of Appia Antica serve as the backdrop of restaurant Garden Ristò, whose outdoor space is spread out within a veritable flower nursery brimming with all sorts of blooms. Sea- and land-inspired dishes round out the menu, including calamari parmigiana, fettuccine with porcini mushrooms, sea bass, pizzas, and homemade desserts.

Via Appia Antica, 172. Tel 0678348607.

Opened in 1960, Giolitti EUR consists of a restaurant, gelateria, coffee bar, and patisserie, all within a park looking out onto the laghetto, the picturesque lake of the neighborhood. The space also features a playground for kids, making it ideal for families. They are known internationally for their gelato (they also have a location in the historic center), so don’t miss a cup or cone of your favorite flavor when you stop by.

Viale Oceania, 90. Tel 065924507. giolittieur.it