You know when you find an old dress that you used to love but kind of forgot about, and then you find it in the closet, try it on, it looks amazing, you look amazing, and you realize it’s perfect for an event you have coming up and actually, perfect for the whole season? So you bring it back into rotation.

That’s what it was like when, the other day, I rediscovered Babington’s Tea Room in Piazza di Spagna after a too-long absence. When you live in a place, you tend to grab refreshments near your home or office. You don’t necessarily meet friends in the beautiful places that remind you of why you chose to live in that city in the first place.

But Babington’s Tea Room is a total delight in the most beautiful piazza in the world (and you know I’m not just saying that).  I met some friends for lunch there the other day, and it was so heavenly I want to share it with you, friends.

Imagine walking around all day in the merciless heat of the Roman summer, no shade, no respite from the hot black cobblestones burning your feet through your shoes, and then entering a cool, colorful oasis with the sounds of birds chirping, iced teas to suit every taste, and a glorious buffet of Italian and English/American foods that will get you ready to get back out there and sightsee.

Babington’s has created a new lunch buffet that includes everything from couscous and salads to pastas, shrimp cocktails, carpaccio, cold pea soup and gazpacho, and darling, sweet desserts. The food is not only delicious, it’s unique to Rome. Couscous?? Cheesecake?? Ladies and gentleman, it’s a godsend in this town of pizza. The iced tea comes in lemon and mint, and your table has a little pitcher of sugar water to mix with it to your taste (which I thought was lemon juice at first, and mixed in with my ice water, and then I drank the sugary ice water anyway — I will be patenting this soon). The buffet lunch is served from 12:00-4:00.

Besides the food, the atmosphere is so relaxing you might want to nap there. For sure, you’ll want to linger as long as possible during the hottest part of the day. The cool rooms and the tropical decor of the indoor garden, plus the sounds of birds and smells of tea will take you miles away from the zipping scooters and honking buses just outside.

By the way, I got to meet the current owners, Chiara and Rory, the great-great grandchildren of the founder. I am utterly charmed by the fact that this place is still run by the same English family for over a hundred years. It has survived two world wars and about a thousand different fallen Italian governments, not to mention the natural Italian tendency towards drinking coffee instead of tea. Chiara and Rory were beyond gracious and if you happen to see them when you go, do say hello from me!

What else can I say to convince you? If you’re in Rome or coming to Rome, go have lunch, or tea-and-sweets at Babington’s in Piazza di Spagna. You’ll be in the piazza at some point for sure anyway, so you can’t miss it (at the foot of the stairs, on the left if you’re facing them).

The verdict: Babington’s is BACK IN MY ROTATION! If my words have failed to convince you, I’ll try this way:

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Babingtons buffet

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