Thursday, 27 October 2011


gladiator dungeons tour

Onwards from beautiful Florence, Rome is another foodie’s paradise. Local dishes range from the simple (cacio e pepe) to the luxurious (garlic suckling pig) , via the most fervent nose to tail culture I’ve ever seen. I’m a huge pasta fan, bordering on obsession, but the Roman favourite of rigatoni with pajata – or baby lamb’s intestines – is a little hardcore for me. Even with a nice tomato base.

The Piglet and I toured many places. Unlike Paris, I would say that even in the tourist traps where you pay double to sit outside and have menus in twelve languages, you will still eat pretty well. Of course any food blogger worth his salt would avoid such places – so here are a few of my highlights:

'Gusto: tonnarelli cacio e pepe

'Gusto is a chic place and a fairly contemporary joint for the area – it’s close to the Spanish Steps and shops of the Via del Corso. It’s also a bit of a sprawling empire, with a high-end kitchen shop, a pizzeria, separate restaurant and wine bar. The atmosphere and branding are top notch and the food isn’t too bad either.

'Gusto's panzanella

If you’re in the real Historic Centre, there are hundreds of options and the choice can be overwhelming. I’d say Campo di Fiori is much less tourist trap than Piazza Navona and more locals hang out around there. 

pizza at 'Gusto

If you head a little bit further towards the Tiber, you’ll come across Piazza Farnese. This is a quiet square, and the former Farnese dynasty palazzo is now the French Embassy. For an outdoor, piazza dine – try Osteria Ar Galetto. The menu wasn’t particularly daring but Roman classics are what I came for. The waiters are exceptionally jovial and charming, in quite a clichéd Italian waiter way. Fun though, and I bet they pull the odd foreign student.

carbonara at Ar Galletto
Our final night, we wandered into a trattoria for a quick snack, having spoiled ourselves at apertivo hour. Too easily done! It was a cosy place, (La Buca di Ripetta) but very busy and quite touristy. Good though, but my cacio e pepe was far too salty. It made my lips chap the next day!

'Gusto has to get my vote for the cacio e pepe hunt and obsession, as it became. There were many more, unphotographed! It was firm tonnarelli, cooked very al dente (rather than spaghetti) and the pecorino and pepper was more of a sauce, but thick rather than too milky. It was perfect, and about €10.

the cacio e pepe at Buca di Ripetta

So that was Rome. I could have spent weeks there, purely going through the places I had listed. It was warm too, so I was naturally drawn to pasta and wine, or pizza and beer. I'd love to return in winter for some carnivorous, warming, Lazio country feasting.

thick, filling carpaccio

1 comment:

  1. Yum! I love Rome - I always indulge in a good carbonara and some artichokes. Mmmmm...