My husband and I went on a Bus Tour through Europe, and we finished off our holiday in Rome, staying another 10 days: I loved Rome and set off armed with my 'Italian phrase book' we got around Rome quite successfully . by asking questions and trying to speak the language.
We were hungry one day , we had missed lunch, it wa 4.00 pm , we came across this restaurant in the middle of Rome, walked in and it was deserted all except for a table in the far corner, where a table of eight people were enjoying a meal.
The restaurant owner came to greet us, he could not speak a word of English, so with the help of my phrase book, and a few actions, I asked could we get a meal?
He understood, smiled and assured me we could, so I started to order in English. I got nowhere, I was flipping frantically through my phrase book, and he smiled and asked me to follow him . We went to a large see through fridge on the other side of the room., it was full of food. I pointed to steak, lettuce, tomatoes, capsicum, then I wanted chips and eggs... He didn't understand, so he then took me into the kitchen . I looked around and saw some potatoes, and got a knife and made the action of making chips... I could not see any eggs, so I folded my arms up under my armpit and proceeded to flap around the kitchen..... he was bent over laughing ..Ah! but yes he understood! he opened a cupboard and there was the eggs...I held up four fingers (for two eggs each).
He then escorted me back to the table, and I asked for some Vino (wine) he understood that and came back with this bottle of Cianti about 3ft in height! He opened it, and as it turned out, it was very nice, and light to drink.
He disappeared in to the kitchen to cook our meal; 30 minutes later, he came to our table, with another member of his staff , they had plates everywhere, he had a plate for the tomatos, a plate for the capsicum, another one for the lettuce, another one for the steaks, and another two with the eggs on it and another plate full of bread, and of course a bowl full of chips.( around 10 plates) we were trying not to giggle, but it was hard!
I then asked for two empty plates, by taking the lettuce off one plate and pointing to empty plate with two fingers up....he understood, but was scratching his head! He came out with two large dinner plates, and I proceeded to load up our dinner on the the two empty plates .....putting the steak, salad,chips etc on the plates . The restaurant owner stood there looking at me amazed and with his open hand kept touching and shaking his head saying 'Mama Mia' ...I thanked him and he left us to have our meal.
The meal was great, the steak huge and melted in our mouth; The owner came back to our table with another bottle of Cianti, and asked could the rest of the family join us...They spoke absolutely no English, but we said yes; Do you know, we managed to communicate with the help of my phrase book, we laughed, sang and enjoyed the best evening with this very happy family, it left us with a great feeling about Rome.... the total cost for the meal & wine was $20 Australian, we could not believe it!