Wednesday 21 February 2024

Rome: Babington's Tea Rooms and the Spanish Steps


The day we went to the Spanish Steps, we expected to grab something for breakfast on the way but once we took the train to the site and did not find anywhere for a quick brunch on the go.  Babingtons Tea Rooms at the bottom of the steps looked good but had queues.  By the time we had walked up and down the Spanish Steps, the Babingtons queues had disappeared and we were able to get a seat and at 2.30pm finally have our "breakfast".  It was worth the wait!

I was unsure about climbing the iconic Spanish Steps but was glad I did.  It looked quite daunting from the bottom.

We had different views as we stopped at each level.  This view amazed me because we could see right along the Via dei Condotti and it was so busy.

At the very top of the steps was a wonderful view across the rooftops of Rome.  The dome of St Peters Basilica is the far one that is a blue colour from this distance.  I am not sure what the closer dome is.

At the top, it seemed silly not to visit the Renaissance church of Santissima Trinità dei Monti that is so visible from the foot of the steps with its white facade and two towers.  It was nice to look in and admire the artwork and arches.

On the way down the steps I made sure to have a good look at the Keats-Shelley Memorial House.  Romantic poet John Keats came here for his health when he was dying of tuberculosis in 1820 and died there the following year aged 25.  It is now houses a collection of memorabilia of the Romantic poets and other writers.

By the time we returned to the Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the steps, we were really in need of food.  It was a relief to find we could get a table straight away at Babingtons.  Apparently you have to book to eat  inside but can walk in for a seat outdoors in the piazza.  I had seen the tea rooms recommended on the web.  They have been serving tea at the foot of the steps since 1893.

We ordered drinks first.  Sylvia had sparkling water and I had one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had.  It was hot, dark, and rich.  Just my style.  I usually find hot chocolate leaves me gasping for water because it is so sweet and milky.  This was neither.  Although it came with cream, it was served on the side so I could just add a little.  As you can see in the above photo, the hot chocolate was poured from a jug.

We ordered breakfast or maybe brunch?  Or was 2.30pm too late for lunch?  We just wanted food! 

I had the Vegetarian Club Sandwich which came stuffed with cooked spinach which was mixed with confit tomatoes, parmesan and pesto.  I was surprised the filling was warm.  This was one of the moments when the sum was greater than its parts.  It was really good.  Sylvia loved it and ate over a quarter of the sandwich.  We were also impressed with the pile of crisps that came with it.

Sylvia had the French Toast with fresh fruit and maple syrup.  She was pleased that I didn't want much of my cream that came with my hot chocolate and had a little with her toast.  She loved the strawberries and pineapple but was not a fan of the melon.  I tasted it and found the toast to be a bit eggy for my liking but it was nicely toasted to golden brown.

It was very nice to sit in the square and watch the people.  The only drawback to sitting outside was that, unlike Australia, people smoke when eating outside in Rome.  We had a great view of the Spanish Steps and there was added entertainment from some people in dinosaur suits.  The above photo amused me because it looks like the dinosaur was eating the palm tree.

The dinosaurs were having play fights with each other and stopping for photos. 

Inside when we paid were some Babington's merchandise and also teas.  We admired the cakes and I really liked this sign that said "Not entirely British, not precisely Italian, truly Roman."  This was one of our favourite meals in Rome and we highly recommend it.

Babington's Tea Rooms
Piazza di Spagna, 23 - 25, 00187 Roma
Open 10am to 9pm Wednesday to Monday

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