I am definitely a creature of habit. At home in America, I eat dinner between 6:00-7:00 p.m. every day. If I am at school, I eat dinner between 5:00-5:30 to avoid longer lines at dining halls. Italy has a way of forcing me to reexamine these habits. Although I am free to prepare dinner whenever I want at home, restaurants operate on a different schedule. On Tuesday night this week, some friends and I were headed to TreeBar, a hip restaurant fairly close to my residence.
We left the residence around 7:30, a touch later than our anticipated time. I wanted to get back home in time to type up my art history notes while Michelangelo’s works were still fresh in my mind from the day’s lesson. Italian culture quickly put a stop to that goal.
When we arrived at TreeBar, I was thoroughly impressed. The décor is beautiful and the place is somehow homely and chic at the same time. TreeBar is not really a touristy restaurant; the menu items are all in Italian and the wait staff’s English is limited. In my opinion, that is usually a sign of good food. In this case, I was definitely right.
Most restaurants serve dinner much later than in America. We thought leaving at 7:30 and arriving a little before 8 would be late enough, but that was not the case. We were a bit confused when we were seated at a table clearly marked for a reservation at 8:30. Were we going to have time to order and eat in just over half an hour? The answer was a definitive “no.” Due to a bit of confusion and mild language barrier issues, we didn’t order for two hours. Such is life in Italy. I consider it a welcome change and a great lesson in patience and relaxation.
All of the other patrons chatted calmly, sipping on glasses of wine and enjoying appetizers (given to us for free!) while we looked around for our waitress nervously, wondering if she forgot about us or if we were supposed to leave. Thankfully, one can only wait around anxiously for a limited amount of time so we relaxed and settled into conversation and people watching. Side note: I have never seen so many men with perfectly fitting suits. Remind me to see if tailors are cheaper here.
After we saw other people finally starting to order—again, two hours after we arrived—we ended up flagging down another waitress. She spoke English pretty well (though we did our best to fend for ourselves in Italian) and took our orders promptly.
The food was incredible. The only proof I have of that fact is that I wolfed it down too quickly to take a picture of it. Thankfully, my friends did not have my Pavlovian response to food being placed in front of them, so they took pictures of their meals rather than immediately stuffing their faces.
I highly recommend seeking out TreeBar. However, if you have art history notes to review like I did, do it beforehand.