What's new on the Rome restaurant scene

Larger than the print size of their specialty dishes and in bold print are the words “No Coperto and No Service Charge”.  The pricey restaurants around Piazza Navona and elsewhere want us to know that if we dine with them, we will no longer get slugged with a cover charge and service charge.

Strolling through Piazza Navona, we notice that the restaurants seem to have emptied out at 11:00 p.m.  Whereas in the past there’d be many customers, mainly tourists, sipping their expensive wines or drinking coffee till the early hours, tonight only a sprinkling of couples are left, looking lonely in the deserted restaurants.  So, is “No Cover Charge and No Service Charge” an indication that the more expensive end of the restaurant scene is feeling the pinch from dwindling diners?

At the opposite end of the scale, cheaper eateries like Da Baffeto, Montecarlo or Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara in the neighbouring piazza are doing roaring trade.  Seeing the queues at these cheaper restaurants, you’d think that they were giving out free food.  Even at 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday evening, long queues of diners wait patiently to get a table. There’s certainly “no coperto” at these places.

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