The Best Tea Room in Rome
Babington’s; “a little corner of English excentricity in Rome” since opening in 1893 when Isabel Cargill and Anna Maria Babington came to Rome on the Grand tour. At a time when tea was only available in pharmacies, the two young ladies opened Babington’s as a tea and reading room to cater for the needs of the British community and foreigners flocking to Rome in need of a good cupa!
Babington’s survived two world Wars and during world war II, with just its waitresses keeping the tea rooms open. Fascists met in the front rooms and partisans in the back where they could easily escape through the kitchen door if discovered. In the ’60’s Babington’s attracted stars from Cinecittá like Peck and Hepburn and today serves celebrities, Italians, and tourists alike. Royalty take tea here. Politicians do deals here. Writers have been hiding in corners enjoying a good British beverage here.
For a tearoom/restaurant situated in the most popular and frenetic piazza in Rome, it’s remarkable just how secluded you feel as you slip through the doors and into this refined land of scones, crumpets and cupcakes. As I read the menu, I admit to having become slightly faint with delight.
You just don’t find apple pie, pancakes or eggs Benedictine done properly here in Rome; and don’t even get me started on their encyclopedic tea selection. You won’t get an Italian shrug and a “Scusi, kitchen is closed” here either. They’re always open, serving up homemade baked treats you can savor in between your sightseeing, or more substantial dishes like curry on pilaf rice with home made chutney or prime quality Chianina beef burgers. It’s intimate, family-run and yet special enough to make you feel like you do indeed deserve a Babington Champagne Brunch or High Tea.
“Our clients are at home here,” says Rory Bruce, great-grandson of Isabel Cargill, who now runs Babington’s with cousin Chiara Bedini. “We welcome suggestions and have often collaborated with guests on new items for the menu.”
Sip the finest tea and be a part of 125 years of history before you wander back out for a late afternoon stroll through Piazza di Spagna.
Piazza di Spagna, 23
Open every day: 10am to 9pm