Sergio's Ristorante (moderate). The unexpected is what makes life sing. And finding a restaurant like Sergio's on the ground floor of the Hilton is worth an oratorio. Part of what makes the place fun is owner Sergio Toni, a Roman who quips and charms his way through the dining room decorated with architectural drawings and a wall mural. The kitchen holds up its end with authentic Roman and regional Italian dishes.
Eat as you might in Rome and start by sharing a pasta or two--ask for it al dente. Toni makes much of it himself: noodles with a ragoût of meat, red wine, and tomatoes, or done up with shrimp, clams, garlic, and mushrooms. Rollata della Nonna is an extravagant pasta roll-up filled with ground pork and veal in a sauce of cream and mushrooms. House-made ravioli is worth considering, too--a recent special of duck-filled squares on a sea of red pepper sauce were smashing. Pork is given a star turn in a Gorgonzola-stuffed chop and in a tenderloin with a white-wine cream-and-mushroom sauce. Veal dishes are for the most part deftly done, as are house-made tiramisu and crème caramel. The wine list is short, and by-the-glass choices are limited, but then, when was the last time you had at least a few bottles for less than $25 to choose from?