Knowing nothing about restaurants in Rome made the task of finding places for lunch or dinner overwhelming. It’s easy to google Best Restaurants in Rome, but who to trust? The most useful blog I found was Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome. The best part is that she has an app called Eat Rome for iOs and Android which is absolutely worth $3.99. Her list of go to restaurants is in alphabetical order but you can also search by price or neighborhood. There are pictures of food to tempt you and a map to help you navigate which can be used offline. Another useful blog was Parla Food.
Since we would be in Rome for 6 nights I wanted to find moderately priced restaurants for dinner and one splurge for New Year’s. Reading through the Eat Rome app and googling my choices I made a list of potentials. Since I was concerned about the city being really busy during the holidays, I booked New Year’s first and then the rest. I may have been too cautious calling to make reservations about 2 weeks in advance. Symptom of living in New York perhaps.
Our first evening was spent at the marvelous L’Osteria di Monteverde.
After a big breakfast, a jet-lagged trek through the highlights of Rome where we skipped lunch, I was hungry. The menu revealed several things I wanted to eat but the most appealing was an 8 course tasting menu for 36 Euros, roughly $48, which also included water, bread and dessert. I read it 3 times just to be sure I wasn’t seeing things. I glanced at bf to see if he was still scanning the menu.
“How hungry are you? Did you see that 8 course menu for 36 Euros?”
“I did! Should we do it? Can you believe 8 courses for 36 Euros?”
I wasn’t going bananas, but I was about to. Since taking pictures of my food isn’t second nature (I start eating and then remember I wanted to share it) we made an effort to document everything put in front of us. I don’t know what happened but I only have pictures of 2 of the courses. Maybe that’s a good think since they’re not the best quality. I did write down what each one was so here we go:
1) Polenta with a Spanish anchovy. It was important to them and for us to know that it was a Spanish anchovy. It was 2 delicious bites.
2) Salt and sugar cured ombrina (texture of snapper, light pink color) with fennel and dill over an avocado crema
3) Grilled polpo with mussels and white beans in a red wine sauce with a crostini (Unfortunately we did not bring our tripod and mini lights. We did see people who did though.)
4) Pumpkin ravioli with robiola, arugula and ciauscolo. I’ve never had ciauscolo. It was earthy, warm and a little porky (duh) but not too intense. The ravioli were so delicate.
5) Spaghetto cacio e pepe e animelle and fontina. Spaghetti cacio e pepe with sweetbreads and fontina? Is it possible? Yes. Yes it is and it was amazing. I close my eyes now and think about the wonderful melding of pasta, fontina, pepper and sweetbreads and I want to fly back to Rome immediately!
6) Veal shank in persimmon, hazelnut and coffee.
7) Rabbit with carrot puree and cipollotto. So tender.
8) Foie gras, puntarelle and pear. WOW!
Dessert: Vanilla gelato with Sambuca type liqueur
The bar was set very high after our dinner at L’Osteria di Monteverde. We weren’t the only ones indulging in the amazing food for a ridiculously good value as we spotted 6 other tables having the tasting menu. Maybe the restaurant is too far from central Rome but we were the only tourists there. I wanted to find an apartment nearby and take up residence right away so that I could come for lunch and dinner. There was also a 5 or 6 course lunch tasting menu for 25 Euros.
In speaking to the maitre d’/waiter we found out the chef had worked in NY briefly. He came back to Rome for the ingredients that he couldn’t get in the U.S. I want to go back to Rome for the food, ingredients and so much more.