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Picnic in the Park with GiNa Ristorante

17 Sep

Very excited about this little discovery! There was a short blurb about this in some Italian magazine a few months back, and I remember thinking that it was definitely something I needed to check out for myself. When my friend’s birthday came up the other day, I figured it was the perfect opportunity.

Basically, there’s this totally cozy and very chic restaurant called GiNa, which takes its name from co-owners GIandomenico and CristiNA, right by the beautiful Villa Borghese gardens.

They came up with the idea to pack picnic basket lunches that could be reserved for a lunch in the park (or wherever you choose to take the basket!) I was intrigued by the idea and at the price of €40, I figured it would be worth it for a special splurge or surprise for someone. After all, didn’t we pay more than €20 per person just the other day at ‘Gusto?

I called to reserve a couple days in advance, and they told me that since it was my friend’s birthday they could personalize everything for her. I added a bottle of white wine for €15 (I didn’t know what kind they were going to put in, but it ended up being Castel De Paolis Campo Vecchio, which wasn’t bad at all!).

At lunch time on my friend’s birthday, we showed up and chose the sandwiches we wanted for our picnic, and they prepared them on the spot (I got an incredible club sandwich, which isn’t easy to find in Rome; and my friend got a sandwich called “Margherita” which was buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes on foccaccia bread). Once everything was ready, they handed over our basket and we were ready to go! There was a handy carrying strap and a mat attached for placing on the ground when we arrived.

After a five-minute walk, we found a nice little spot to spread out our spread in Villa Borghese.

When we opened our little treasure chest, which had a personalized card hanging from the clasp with my friend’s name and birthday, here’s what we found inside:

Besides the sandwiches, bottled water, wine, delicious fruit salad, and two heavenly mini-cheesecakes (I have not encountered many places in Rome that know how to make authentic cheesecake, but you can make a mental note that GiNa is definitely one of them), there was also a little mesh bag tied with a ribbon that had a candle and matches (the matchbox was personalized with the date and my friend’s name), plus a tiny thermos of espresso and cups with sugar, stir sticks, and cookies.

They included all the silverware, ceramic plates and wine glasses, as well as a corkscrew and even a plastic bag for wrapping up the trash when we were finished. They had thought of everything! It was really a lot of fun.

If you’re looking for a unique lunch here in Rome, I can definitely recommend this picnic basket from GiNa. Or, if you don’t want the picnic basket, GiNa is open 7 days a week from 11 am to midnight (Sundays they close at 8 pm). It was busy when we went in to pick up our basket and I will definitely be going back to check out their lunch or dinner one of these days.

GiNa Ristorante, Via San Sebastianello 7A (near Piazza di Spagna), Tel. 06 678 0251

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19 Responses to “Picnic in the Park with GiNa Ristorante”

  1. jessica in rome September 17, 2007 at 1:57 pm #

    What an adorable idea! That is really cute, I am glad to hear the food is good too!

  2. Tamara September 17, 2007 at 2:17 pm #

    Awesome. Leave it to the Italians to do something so simple with such beauty and thoughtfulness.

  3. sandi @ the whistlestop cafe September 17, 2007 at 3:40 pm #

    Brilliant! I will post about this on Slow Travel. This is good to know.

  4. qualcosa di bello September 17, 2007 at 4:43 pm #

    another place to add for our april visit….mille grazie, shelley!!

  5. julia September 17, 2007 at 6:06 pm #

    That is the cutest idea ever!

  6. Buda Baby September 17, 2007 at 6:25 pm #

    That looks fantabulous!

  7. Rachael September 17, 2007 at 6:58 pm #

    What a great idea. Wish there was something like that here.

  8. lisa September 17, 2007 at 9:16 pm #

    wow incredible! I must check this out, I think a picnic would be nice, but For some reason i think i’d like that the ristorante..thanks!

  9. Dena September 17, 2007 at 9:50 pm #

    Glad to see that you have returned to your blog. πŸ™‚

  10. FinnyKnits September 17, 2007 at 11:37 pm #

    That is sososo cute. I love that they personalized everything – how fun. Who’s birthday was it? It couldn’t be Francesca since I was there last year for her party in October.

    Either way – sounds like a fun idea for a nice day. Too bad it’ll likely be raining in Dec/Jan.

  11. pina September 18, 2007 at 12:49 am #

    i love this!!! i am definitely going to check this out when I go back to roma next summer. thanks!

  12. Maryann September 18, 2007 at 1:53 am #

    I love this! And espresso too? How nice is that?

  13. nyc/caribbean ragazza September 18, 2007 at 4:05 am #

    This ristorante goes on zee list!

  14. Preyanka September 18, 2007 at 7:13 am #

    Mmm…looks yummy:)

  15. Beth September 18, 2007 at 8:53 am #

    Do you keep the basket or return it? Either wasy it is a lovely idea.

  16. Shelley, At Home in Rome September 18, 2007 at 9:33 am #

    Finny: It was Roberta’s. Too bad (and I didn’t mention this in the post but it’s true) they accidentally personalized everything with “Barbara.” DOH! I mean, come on… I know I reserved over the phone and all, but my accent in Italian can’t possibly be THAT bad. We just had a laugh about it– it’s the thought that counts.

    Beth: You have to leave a document like an ID card as a sort of deposit for the basket, because it has to be returned. I’ve never seen a picnic basket that size, it was really the perfect size for two people. I wonder where they bought it.

  17. Mrs Jackie Parkes September 18, 2007 at 8:08 pm #

    Interesting blog!

  18. jessica September 18, 2007 at 8:22 pm #

    what a great picnic.
    everything looks delicious.

  19. EM Weiner April 7, 2008 at 8:22 pm #

    Thank you for the great tip and description. We will be spending a major anniversary in Rome and wanted to have a nice picnic in Villa Borghese. This is perfect!!!

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