Earlier this year I did some research for my boyfriend’s second novel Hollywood PA and because of our new found love for Rome he wanted to include the magical city in the book – the idea was to find a setting for the main character at a restaurant where A-listers go, and eventually I stumbled across a hidden yet well known place called Antica Pesa. Clearly this was the restaurant for the stars. We booked another trip to Rome the following spring and made sure we reserved a table at the restaurant; a celebrity at the next table or not, the purpose was to try their amazing food and get a feel of the place – to make the book more authentic and genuine. Hidden in the Trastevere area, away from the touristic parts dominated by restaurants with five-language, laminated menus (which honestly does nothing but give the Roman food a bad taste), Antica Pesa was one great experience and I really think the Panella brothers have succeeded in creating a concept which made us say how well we understand its status among so many people. An American couple on tour through Europe seated next to us involved us in fun conversations, one of the staff told us tennis star Serena Williams had been at the table the night before and going through the wine list the size of the bible made the choice of setting for the book clear enough. Maybe researching for a book is not what makes you choose where to dine, but the point is – skip the easy options when you travel, if you appreciate great food and new experiences it’s worth doing some checking up before heading out. Small places by a square may look inviting, but I’m sure you agree that those are not the places you would return to – Google, ask locals or jot down names of restaurants you see during the day – either way, make it an experience! Photos of Jessica Alba and owner Francesco Panella, the other with Matt Damon.