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“A very mixed experience”
Review of La Pergola

La Pergola
Ranked #85 of 13,622 Restaurants in Rome
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$70 - US$600
Cuisines: Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, After-hours, Delivery, Reservations
Description: One of the best restaurants in Rome, if not in Italy, La Pergola is much more than just a famous menu. Its three-Michelin stars - the only Rome restaurant to be accorded such an honour - attest to the excellence of its cuisine. A wine cellar with over 53,000 bottles, a water menu with 29 choices, olive oils and vintage balsamic vinegars from the best producers in Italy, and the finest ingredients to be sourced in the Mediterranean -- all attest to the pursuit of culinary excellence. In the last decade the major Italian gastronomic guides such as L'Espresso, Gambero Rosso, Bibenda have consistently voted La Pergola the "Best Restaurant of Rome" and one of the best in Italy. Since November 2005 the Michelin Guide has honoured La Pergola with 3 stars and 5 forks, symbol of exceptional cuisine and "worth a special journey". Furthermore, the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences has awarded La Pergola with the coveted "Five Star Diamond Award!" Each year the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, renowned worldwide, bestows its coveted International STAR DIAMOND AWARD exclusively on five star establishments that are deemed to be of pinnacle quality by its esteemed Board of Trustees. The award is the most prestigious emblem of achievement and true quality: an award many strive for, but few obtain.
Reviewed 3 September 2017

La Pergola is perched atop the Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria (formerly the Hilton) - a ghastly yet authentic relic from the 1970s that is yet to realise that interior design has long since moved on - with impressive views looking down on to the city below. As Rome's only 3* restaurant, my expectations were not unjustifiably high. Sadly the decor of the room itself blends seamlessly with the hotel's, so the 1970s nostalgia continued. Ironically, a lot of the furniture in the restaurant is antique yet the 1970s elements and the way that the room has been designed makes it look as if it is all reproduction which I am sure isn't the intention.

It is now getting on for nearly six months since I dined here so I shan't provide a course by course report, rather I'll focus on the thoughts that remain foremost in my mind, so if you like something of a distillation of what I liked and what I really wasn't impressed with.

Whilst the water menu was doubtless innovative initially, perhaps it is now time to move on... does anyone really order a EUR 200 bottle of water for anything other than the novelty of it? Similarly the salt selection is quite fun, but again feels like a novelty.

The wine list is undeniably extensive and arrives as a very heavy leather bound volume (in keeping with the decor of the restaurant) rather than an iPad which is so much more user friendly; markups are very fair especially for a restaurant at this level. The topping up of wine and water throughout was patchy at best which just isn't acceptable; so much so that I still had about a third of a bottle of wine left to finish when the savoury courses had ended.

The food itself is generally very good (as you would expect)... the fish dishes were all very well executed and married complex techniques and flavours and were light and fragrant using wonderfully fresh fish and vegetables. The absolutely standout dishes were the pastas; the famous fagotelli were a delight and executed with such a delicate touch. A prawn pasta dish had a sauce worthy of any French restaurant that had such a shellfish depth that was juxtaposed with fragrant orange, simply incredible.

The sweet dishes in terms of complexity and quality were a notch down from the courses that had preceded them; they lacked finesse. Worst of all were the mignardises and petit fours. The chest of drawers that was presented at the end of the meal contained chocolate themed items, none of which were remotely impressive and were the sort of thing that would have been forgettable and just about forgivable at a restaurant pushing for 1* status; hugely disappointing. To accompany these was the most expensive mint tea that I've ever been served; the theatre of freshly snipped herbs is a nice touch, but having had the full tasting menu and wine would it really be too much to include a cup of tea in the price? As always, it's the small and seemingly insignificant things that one remembers.

At the end of the service a "meet and greet" from Heinz Beck was a nice touch.

Overall the quality of the dishes was inconsistent - especially items from the pastry section - and the service was a bit patchy in places; it was a very pleasant dinner but - and for me this is the real test of a restaurant - I feel as if I've ticked the La Pergola box and have no desire to ever return. The only thing that might tempt me back would be the pastas as they were exceptionally good...

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1  Thank IntlTraveller21stc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 August 2017

Went there bc of rave reviews. It was just not a good evening for this restaurant; IMHO. Certainly a beautiful restaurant and a romantic atmosphere.

We had reservations for many, many months. We asked for a veranda park view, and told on the phone no problem. And this was confirmed week before our visit. Of course upon arrival, nothing on the available on the veranda, or even with a direct view. There were empty seats on the veranda which were being seated after our arrival. No doubt in deference to regulars, and tourists too bad. We were also seated past our reservation time.

BTW we were in formal evening attire, not a group of sloppy Americans in tennis shoes.

Food was very good; fish items extremely fresh. The service was so bad and condescending, I thought we were in France. Service was inattentive, slow and they even got part of order wrong. It took forever to correct the wrong entre.

There was never a table touch by a Captain or Manager during 3 hours.

When I consider the total experience; it was very weak. Very spendy for what we got. Didn't honor the reservation as promised, service equal to TGI Friday's and snooty waiters. We paid for Robichan's Monaco and got Capital Grill.

We are in Roma again next week; guess where we are not going?

7  Thank Lee S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2017 via mobile

A restaurant that deserves fully its 3 Michelin star award. Service is perfect, wine list wide and deeply also Italian and menu with perfect mixes.
Price is high but in line with the proposal.

2  Thank Lucio W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2017

this is the best place on earth , the buffet was high quality and fresh with a lot of varieties! fresh honey directly from the comb its a first for me. i must recommend this restaurant

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Thank stonebeauty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2017

Yes, the decour is outdated and has been since the 90s . Yes, the staff is snotty and not too attentive. Yes, you will be having hard time getting your head wrapped around the water menu, the huge wine list and salt choices. BUT when the food comes, you will just forget it all and thank Gods that you were sent this way. The food is honestly SICK! Every course is a piece of heaven, the deserts are just ridiculously delicious and the pasta dish , ah the pasta dish. After that one, the weitors could have slapped me and I would not have cared, the place could be a pig sty and I would be just as happy. The food is just out of this world. Gordon Ramsey is good, but this guy is a genius. I am about to book a hotel in Rome and I am booking Waldorf Astoria just so I can have a chance to book a table more than once and slide in last minute if there is a free space. I could live here, honestly. Mu husband hates goat cheese and almost barfed when he got it in his mouth, but despite this he was impressed. The wine was PERFECTLY matched with the food, and the staff was knowledgable *although robot like.. Who cares, this is food heaven.

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1  Thank Linda K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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