English High Tea in Rome
Staff can be just the difference between a poor, great and fantastic experience.
I work in events and know too well the importance of super efficient and personable staff on the ground.
Now it’s widely agreed that customer service in Rome generally leaves a lot to be desired. I say generally because on many occasions and in my experience, I do find that putting out politeness will generally have it returned to you. Sometimes however, the nicest of words or sweetest of smiles will get you yelled at or on extreme occasion even stepped on!
In my constant research for things to do in Rome (and my obsession with tea and sweets) I finally came across what looked to be a wonderful English High Tea package on offer at the Vivi Bistrot.
This restaurant is open daily for brunch, tea, lunch and dinner and is primely located within the idyllic setting of Villa Doria Pamphilli – Rome’s largest landscaped public park (measuring in at 1.8km squared) and located in Monteverde area (near Trastevere and Gianicolo).
I phoned the venue right away to enquire and then made a booking via email. To my surprise, the restaurant manager responded promptly, confirmed our booking and… Wait for it… Suggested that I contact him personally for any further information or booking changes. Wow, I thought – this Vivi Bistrot is one professional outfit!
Cut to Saturday.
On arrival and waiting for friends, I was completely ignored.
3+ waiters walk past and when I finally grabbed their attention and mentioned our booking they stated that they deal only with serving and clearing tables.
It took forever for us to be seated and many of the wait staff weren’t even aware that they offered high tea!
Thankfully for one efficient team member we were settled on an outdoor table (to bask in the glorious Roman sun) and finally started our order.
We were treated to salmon and cream cheese panini and tramezzini (sandwiches) with various mixtures including roasted vegetables & rocket, mustard and prosciutto.
And then came out the scones. Not as good as mine – ovviamente (obviously) – and they had sultanas in them (not my preferred!).. But with fresh jam and cream, I admit they hit the spot.
We did have to wait quite a while for our tea but I put this down to Roman or Italian tea education.
In Italy, coffee is customarily served at the end of the meal. Therefore I believe the staff adopted this mindset. Of course we put them straight. Just as we did with their opinion that Earl Grey – and not a breakfast variety – is a classic black tea.
So in rounding up…
The booking experience: fantastic!
The food and tea: great!
The service and staff attitude: more than poor!
But (importantly) the company: second to none! 🙂
I still recommend this to anyone visiting or living in Rome wanting to have high tea of decent quality and at €15pp, a reasonable price – obviously (and rightly so) quite hard to come by in a country practically breastfed on coffee! 🙂
And to that end, the reality check has to be taken I guess. We are in Rome after all and not London. In the scheme of custom and culture, this was a decent effort!
Villa Doria Pamphilli
Enter via Via Vitellia 102
Signing off from Rome,