Rome according to Apreda / 2

We're back on our journey through the capital's streets and lovely food, guided by Imàgo's chef

18-05-2014
The second part of the article by Neapolitan chef

The second part of the article by Neapolitan chef Francesco Apreda on his favourite spots in Rome, this time focusing on more traditional recommendations, such as trattorie and osterie. But also mentioning ice cream and international cuisine

(see part one)

However, I won't forget Rome's trattorie, where one can discover the roots of the local traditional cuisine. Some manage to surprise me while they're also respectful of tourists. Historic Armando al Pantheon is an evergreen: Claudio in the kitchen and Fabrizio in the dining room continue the pure concept of tradition they inherited from their dad Armando. Trippa and Coda alla vaccinara are a blast. Another place is behind multi-ethnic piazza Vittorio: trattoria Da Danilo, where the blessed hands of the cook, nonna Pina, transform simple raw materials into territorial dishes that make this small yet always crowded restaurant a magical place dominated by Carbonara and Pasta cacio e pepe.

Since 1961 people always queue outside historic restaurant Armando al Pantheon (+39.06.68803034) in the centre of Rome

Since 1961 people always queue outside historic restaurant Armando al Pantheon (+39.06.68803034) in the centre of Rome

Among the “future classics” there’s another couple of establishments, in which the concept of classic is magnificently interpreted with light contemporary touches: the first is Da Cesare al Casaletto (via del Casaletto 45, +39.06.536015), in Monti: the owner, Leonardo takes care of the smallest detail - the Gricia with artichokes is memorable. The second is Da Teo, in Trastevere: in a peaceful little square one can enjoy Roman specialties, paying attention to seasonality, with an impeccable Fried lamb chop. Osteria dell’Orologio, at Fiumicino’s port, also deserves a mention: we will hear lots of the winning and smiling couple animating it, formed by Gerarda Fine in the dining room and Marco Claroni in the kitchen, she a wine fanatic, he a fish one… You will find a series of seafood starters, both traditional and innovative, that will make you want to return straight away.

In Rome, the gourmet pizza movement is also growing. Two names, above all, need to be mentioned: Gabriele Bonci with his Pizzarium (via della Meloria 43, +39.06.39745416) continues to pull divine creations out of the oven (I adore his Trancio with three tomatoes) while Stefano Callegari offers his famous Trapizzini, a genius and tasty product that I even happened to nibble in New York, a sort of cosmopolitan street food.

Besides, just like in the Big Apple, even in Rome street food has its importance. Try to go, in the morning, to the market in Testaccio: you will find a stand, called Mordi e Vai, where truly Roman Sergio Esposito assembles Roman Panini with trippa, allesso or artichokes, for instance. On the same wave length, there’s the fried baccalà [salted codfish] to be enjoyed while standing in piazza dei Librari behind Campo de’ Fiori, at Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara (largo dei Librari 88, +39.06.6864018): this is a cult fried fish shop where there’s not much more choice, perhaps a Puntarelle salad or a Roman style Fish & chips .

One of the absolute classics of traditional Roman cuisine, gricia. Here presented in Da Teo's version (+39.06.5818355)

One of the absolute classics of traditional Roman cuisine, gricia. Here presented in Da Teo's version (+39.06.5818355)

How about international food? I’d say Shanti for Indian cuisine, Green T. for oriental flavours and Mezè Bistrot for a journey between the Balkans and the Mediterranean area.

Moving onto ice creams: there are many corners in town where one can enjoy some excellent ones. Among all, I would like to mention a new entry, Otaleg, in via dei Colli Portuensi: Marco Radicioni, a pupil of ice-cream master Claudio Torcé, creams all his creations in view, which can also be savoury ones, always using raw materials of excellent quality.

Since I started by speaking of dreams, I also want to finish with a dream: in an increasingly international gourmet capital, I would like to see a Nobu in a grand hotel, an Atelier Robuchon in via Condotti, a dynamic Saam Bar by David in the alleys of Trastevere, or perhaps Bottura and Scabin in a place of their own in Rome. These are the fantasies of a chef who thrives on cultural contaminations, thanks to travel and being aware of the need to give the right hospitality in a city that is already made important by the passion of other great friends-colleagues.


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