Blog Post Photo, Phyllis at Cul de Sac. Rome, Italy

The Rome Food Diary, 2015 – Part 1

Here’s the first in a series of our experiences at some restaurants we explored on this latest trip to spend time in our beloved Rome.

Enoteca Cul de Sac – Piazza Pasquino, 73 click here for the link.

Not far from Piazza Navona and chosen from my list of Enoteche recommendations; so glad we went! Cul de Sac has a very good wine selection so besides a terrific bottle of wine, we shared an absolutely addictive plate of Calabrian eggplant and a plate with three of their house-made pates; wild boar with dark chocolate, partridge with juniper berries and veal with tabasco, all were creamy, meaty and mighty tasty but the winner for us was the wild boar with a nugget of dark, slightly softened chocolate in the middle, a fabulous combination. And we met a new friend while there! What more can you ask for…sitting outside at an Enoteca in Rome, enjoying wonderful local wine, great food and meeting new friends?

Trattoria Perilli  – Via Marmorata, 39 click here for the link.

DSCN9580 nx2Maybe not the most hip choice for us but this restaurant is a long standing favourite in Testaccio. I promised myself that my husband and partner in eating was going to get to try some really interesting things on this visit to the Eternal City and Perilli certainly provided that. Puntarelli were in season…so up first for Joe, puntarelli with anchovy sauce which went down a treat! Moving on to the pasta (look away if you’ll be grossed out) but another first, a classic Roman dish, rigatoni with veal pajata…he loved it! pajata, for the uninitiated, are veal intestines of un-weaned calves. I tried it!! I tried the puntarelle and it confirmed what I think about anchovies…I don’t like them! I had the most delectable Roman style artichoke with wild mint for my first course followed by rigatoni with oxtails. Because it’s fall, I figured I can really indulge my passion for these braised beauties that, once you put aside your knife and fork, knowing that the only way left to get at all those nuggets of tender oxtail is by picking them up and gnawing off what’s left on the “bones”. My only comment would be…peperoncino please! We are starting to wonder if we should be travelling around with bottle of the stuff when life needs a bit of “sparkle”. Along with a bottle of Frascati wine a very enjoyable pranzo (lunch) was had! They claim that their pasta specialty is Spaghetti Carbonara but hey…it’s fun to try other Roman pasta preparations, no matter how good their Spaghetti Carbonara might be!

Vinando Osteria-Wine Bar – Piazza Margana, 23 – they don’t have a website but you can Google them.

DSCN9802 nx2Definitely a find in our opinion, just a short walk from the Campidoglio and Piazza Venezia! In the past we haven’t had great luck finding a good place to relax and have lunch in the area…Vinando changed all that for us! Our wait person was so friendly and made us feel so comfortable and welcome.  And he’s been to Vancouver! And then a very, very good lunch of paper- thin raw beef on a bed of arugula, a very much enjoyed pasta of orecchiette cooked in red wine and Tropea onions and served up in a “frico” (a crispy, cheesy cup), tasted great and a great presentation; for me it was a slam dunk once I saw truffles listed in the ingredients for the gnocchi! Besides those fragrant creations of nature, the sauce included shredded squash blossoms, radicchio and pancetta. Sigh…

Armando al Pantheon – Salita dei Crescenzi, 31, click here for the link.

DSCN9850 nx2This was our second time at Armando, a stone’s throw from the Pantheon and it was just as fantastic as last year, except this time I made reservations ahead of time so  there was no problem getting in! Besides an absolutely fabulous bottle of un-filtered, organic Vermintino from Sardinia, we ate to our hearts content sharing a perfectly cooked artichoke Romanesco style served with local fresh mozzarella, dribbled with olive oil! Neither of us are crazy about fresh mozzarella but this was a brilliant pairing! Joe ordered a “soup” with pasta, broccoli and skate broth that he loved and for me the truffles were calling again, so I simply had to order the spaghetti with fresh truffles…what’s not to like? Although I would have loved it even more if they used fresh tonnarelli instead of dried spaghetti. Our secondo was a shared plate of osso bucco bianco (not cooked with tomatoes)  and cooked with peas and mushrooms ; so unctuous and meltingly tender! We normally don’t “do” dessert but heck, when you’re at Armando…you may as well go for it! A custardy semi-freddo layered with bits of biscotti, sprinkled with Vin Santo and scattered with scrumptious candied orange peel…a sight to behold!

Il Sorpasso – Via Properzio, 31/33 click here for the link.

DSCN9870 nx2It was a no brainer for us to go back to Sorpasso! last year we enjoyed a great lunch and absolutely loved the look and feel of this bustling, cozy, funky place. And Sorpasso didn’t let us down this time either! So, a bottle of Sardinian Vermintino wine was ordered just to get things rolling and then we made our choices. For Joe it had to be tagiolini with shrimp and agrumi (citrus) sauce… in keeping with his seafood/fish thing that he really liked it a lot! For me it had to be the cacio e Pepe spaghettoni with zucchini blossoms.  I was not disappointed, last year I watched the chef making it and thought “I should have ordered that.” I wish I could share a table with 8 or 10 people and just walk around with a fork and have a little bite off everyone’s plate! We followed the pasta with a refreshing orange, fennel and olive salad. Sorprasso changes things up with their desserts so what you see on the menu is their re-interpretation of familiar things. Our shared “apple cake” became in their hands, warm cooked apples in a very thin crust set in a pool of crème patissiere. We didn’t actually lick the plate but came close! Would go back in a heartbeat!

Click here for Rome Diary Part 2, here for Part 3 and here for Part 4!



  1. You’re making me nostalgic, Phyllis! It’s been years since I’ve tasted real puntarelle or rigatoni con pajata or real Roman artichokes… 🙁

    • Sorry to do that to you Frank! Gawd I wish I liked anchovies! No matter what, fresh, marinated, tinned I can’t abide the taste! Unless, of course their taste is buried in other flavours. It’s worth heading back to Rome just to have the artichokes alone! When we came back we thought we might not go back but the longer we are home the more we want to be in Rome!

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