It’s especially true that when we are travelling we want to sample local foods and find restaurants that promote fantastic ingredients! Going on vacation gives allows us to explore new to us places to do so. Rome has been experiencing changes in their food scene and that definitely required some serious tasting on our part!
How could we be in Rome and not hustle over to Pizzarium, Gabriele Bonci’s pizza place on Via della Meloria? After reading great things about the “king of pizza,” there was not a chance we would pass it up. Inside, the place is tiny but oh what amazing things to be seen! A big chalkboard on the wall behind the counter, where a plethora of pizzas are on display, has a list of the arancini and suppli available. Boy did I want some of those besides some pizza! The pizzas are the long, rectangular ones and there must be 10 different choices that the counter staff cut with scissors. We opted for roasted pepper and fresh mozzarella, eggplant with Parmigiano and Pecorino and a third piece, Swiss chard with mackerel (we think), add a couple of artisanal beers, step outside to the small, stand-up eating area and tuck into some awesome pizza. Sorry to say we never got to the arancini or suppli! Bonci is rightly famous for his pizza crusts, let me tell you!
Sorpasso on Via Properizo is a wonderfully funky wine bar and trattoria with a “glass” ceiling so you can look up and see the surrounding buildings that look down into the space! We went for the trapizzini (spongy flatbread corners filled with things like stewed oxtail, tongue with garlic-parsley sauce, tripe cooked with tomato and mint and a meatball filling. I was hankering for the oxtail and my partner in eating, was drooling thinking about the tongue and the tripe. Damn, they aren’t ready yet and not sure when! Moving on, we decided to go for a selection of aged Spanish hams, 36, 40 and 50 months, and a couple of big salads. All the hams were excellent but in our opinion, the winner was the 40, so sweet and succulent! Did I mention dessert??? A deconstructed millefeuille with custard and strawberries…OMG!
One of our totally favourite “new places” was Romeo on Via Silla. We ordered a platter of “pickled vegetables.” Doesn’t sound like much does it? Well, this was not your ordinary plate of veggies! There was grilled eggplant, marinated then rolled up around a piece of soft sun-dried tomato, then there were the house-made marinated cipolline onions, two kinds of olives, one spicy and yummy, marinated assorted mushrooms and “the” most awesome small tomatoes from Puglia marinated in EVOO…we couldn’t stop eating them. Add some great bread, what more do you need? In this case my husband needed the linguine in a light tomato sauce with sea urchins and topped with a sprinkling of finely ground coffee beans and I wasn’t going to leave Rome this time without having some Spaghetti Carbonara! We both loved our pasta and the “hot” looking sleek, modern décor. Gambero Rosso forks and Michelin starred chef Cristina Bowerman, brothers Pierluigi and Alessandro Roscioli famous for their bakeries and salumeria, combined forces to create this great place! You have to go, it’s a winner!
A newish place called PummaRe’ a ristorante/pizzeria on Via Andrea Doria above the Mercato Trionfale, was a tip given us by a friend to check out, so one evening we did just that! It seemed like a lot of people opted for the pizza but not us! The kitchen is “up” for way more than just making pizzas! And we were so well looked after by the Maitre ‘d! Hubby really enjoyed his antipasto of deep fried anchovies with lemon mayo., while I had a delicious millefeuille of eggplant. For our “primi” my husband ordered the chickpea-seafood “soup” and a dish of feather light gnochetti with tomatoes, eggplant sauce topped with smoked provola, basil and garlic for me…terrific! By the time the “secondi” arrived I was out of steam so did not appreciate my chicken while my hubby loved his fish (croaker: a white fish) and my chicken! Only complaints are the bright lighting and the large portions! We broke our rule “con dividere” (to share) that night and suffered the consequences! The Maitre ‘d recommended wine choices for each course that were amazing with the food: a rose from Northern Sardinia, a Sauvignon Blanc from Fruili and a Trebbiano from Abbruzzo and just to finish us off completely, he brought us a nightcap of Limoncello!
Armando al Panthenon on Salita de Crescenzi, a stone’s throw from the Panthenon was recommended by Elizabeth Minchelli and we are pleased to say we enjoyed a very good Roman lunch! Everything we ordered, from the “antipasto” of eggplant parmigiana, “primi” of fettuccine with chicken liver sauce and pasta alla Gricia, followed by a “secondi” of braised chicken with roasted peppers in a tomato sauce, even though traditional, all were expertly cooked and happily lapped up by us two fans of the cooking. Add in a bottle of Frascati, excellent espressos and thank you Elizabeth!
Who was it that said we were not coming back to Rome???
Note: Since the time of this post, Romeo is no longer. Cristina Bowerman is now at Glass Hostaria in Rome.