On a recent weekend away in Rome, after a busy day touring the streets and seeing the usual sights, the time came for the decision to be made where and when and what should we have for dinner? (My favourite decision to make on any holiday!) Obviously, in Rome your choices are not limited…but there is the threat that you will end up paying thrice the amount of what the meal is actually worth, especially in the piazzas near any tourist attractions. So with this information in mind and on the quest to find a “rustic” Italian meal, we set off towards the trendy, restaurant and bar filled area across the river Tiber on the “Ponte Palatino” from the Colosseum and Forum. Having temporarily misplaced our list of “must-go” restaurants given to us by our Italian Restaurant-owner friend, we settled on a cute and cosy “Cucina Romanesca” (or “Roman Kitchen”)- a small, cheap, family owned restaurant serving all the typical Roman dishes as well as the obligatory pizzas and pasta. Since working at Fine Wine Works, I have become a lot more adventurous when choosing wine and so declined the waiter’s offer of a “very nice” (and expensive) Chianti. After perusing the wine menu, we decided on a bottle of the very well-priced GensFabia from the small producers Azienda Agricola Fabi Aldo e Figli, which is located in the heart of the Castelli Romani area. With our meal of meatballs, Roman-style chicken (which is baked in a tomato and pepper sauce) and bruschetta, this wine worked perfectly! The wine is a Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese mix (probably my favourite three Red Grape varieties!) and like most Italian wines, its vegetal and earthy aromas complimented the tomato- heavy ingredients of the food, matching the acidity and fullness of body….a perfect end to a busy day. We were very happy customers, especially after receiving the bill, which came to a total of 42€!! Total value for money, something you don’t often see in the South of France!
On arrival back to our hotel, we found our misplaced restaurant “must go” list, which I never managed to actually use but am happy to share with you now!
Apparently, The #1 restaurant in town, is called Perilli, which is on the Via Marmorata (located near the “Piramide” area) which is also a “Cucina Romanesca”. It is very popular restaurant amongst Romans, with excellent reviews and a simple, delicious menu. The second recommendation is Gigetto Alpotico D’Ottavio, which is based near Tiberina Island (the island in the middle of the River Tiber) and specialises in Roman-Jewish food. Its premise is that it was initially created by housewives in their “generally poorly stocked kitchens, producing dishes with care which were undoubtedly tasty”. Another favourite amongst locals.
Et viola! A fantastic weekend was had, with amazing food and wine….oh, and the sights and shopping weren’t so bad either 😉