Rick Steves throws one back.

THE ADVISER Rick Steves, the Northwest native who taught us to sneak into Europe Through the Back Door in 1979, now has a guidebook series, tour company, and TV show. (There’s also a travel center in Edmonds.) He’s traveling Rome right now and you’re not.

THE ADVICE "Anywhere in southern Europe, eat dinner late if you want to eat with locals. The restaurant I recommend most heartily in Rome, Fortunato, is busy serving casual and boisterous Americans between 7-9pm. If you popped in then, you’d think it was a touristy place. Then when the Americans straggle home to their hotels, the more sophisticated Italian diners fill the place. Coming to dinner at 9:30pm, Ristorante Fortunato feels entirely local.

Senior Fortunato explained to me that the tourist business doesn’t threaten the romantic ambiance that keeps his regulars coming back. The tourist trade simply allows him to turn the tables twice. It’s good for everyone."

What do you think? Is the authentic experience worth a few hunger pains?

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