What a nice team at Enoteca La Torre

In Rome, inside a jewel of hôtellerie, a group of great professionals offer well-judged and well-executed cuisine

17-07-2017

Four main characters at Enoteca La Torre in Rome: sommelier Rudy Travagli, sous Antonio Autiero, maître Luigi Picca and chef Domenico Stile

Photogallery

Various appetizers to begin with: Puffed pasta with carbonara sauce, Sponge of broccoli with salmon roe, Black cabbage and rice brittle...
Marinated salted codfish, pineapple, hazelnut mayonnaise: very good
Another excellently made starter: Marinated, seared and smoked amberjack, curly endive, oyster sauce and umeboshi
Foie gras terrine, beef steak tartare, annurca apple, mustard and tarragon

The other day a friend muttered after reading a few articles on identitagolose.it: «You promoted this restaurant, consider this other one excellent, and you praise this third one… How can it be that they're all good?». This deserves an answer and pointing out something. The answer is: yes, we like them all, or rather we like all the places we write about for the simple reason that we don't write about places we don't like, it's our rule, take it or leave it – I recall a funny  Paolo Marchi who, when commenting about a chef who complained that he hadn't been reviewed, said more or less this: «Instead of complaining, he should thank me, because if I were to really say what the food was like…».

The thing to be pointed out: a place can be excellent, even perfect, without necessarily involving  Bottura, or challenging  Romito. This happens when the standards are very high compared to the target, to the public, to the format, to the location: if, in other words, it best embodies a restaurant model and thus business model. It is also for this reason that Enoteca La Torre only deserves praise.

Picca and Travagli have the dining room running smoothly

Picca and Travagli have the dining room running smoothly

The cellar at Enoteca La Torre has around 1200 labels

The cellar at Enoteca La Torre has around 1200 labels

This happens first of all because they assembled a team of excellent professionals, with a balance of freshness and experience; passionate guys who also have significant training. Maître-director  Luigi Picca, born in 1977, has three 3-starred restaurants in his CV, such as  Cote St. Jacques in France, El Raco di Can Fabes with Santi Santamaria in Spain and  Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence; sommelier Rudy Travagli, born in 1979, is one of the founders at  Noi di Sala and worked at  Enoteca Pinchiorri, but also at  The Fat Duck with Heston Blumenthal in the UK. In the dining room, in other words, there's a turbo engine. Everything runs smoothly.

Domenico Stile

Domenico Stile

The kitchen is no less so: chef Domenico Stile comes from the following generation compared to the first two. Born in 1989, he spent 2 years with Gianfranco Vissani («He taught me to use game, prepare jus»), a stop at Antonino Cannavacciuolo's, 4 months at  Enrico Crippa, 6 at Osteria Francescana, then 3 years with  Nino Di Costanzo, of which a couple as sous, «my first teacher, however, was Enrico Cosentino: a giant in the cuisine of Campania, the inventor of “scialatello”». Stile was born in Castellammare di Stabia but raised in Gragnano, «which means if my pasta is no good, friends and family won't speak to me».

The entrance to Villa Laetitia

The entrance to Villa Laetitia

They have very strong foundations, that is to say. Because they know how to work inside a Roman hotel, and in fact not just any Roman hotel: Villa Laetitia is a beautiful historic palace designed by  Armando Brasini in 1911. It's on the right bank of the Tiber, in the historic neighbourhood of Della Vittoria. A century after it was built, it was completely renovated and brought back to its splendour thanks to its owners, the Fendi Venturini family, seconding the sophisticated taste of  Anna Fendi Venturini, founder of the historic fashion design firm together with her sisters.

It's a jewel, well-deserving not just thanks to its service, but also thanks to the equally great food. Enoteca La Torre – in Villa Laetizia since 2013, after it moved from Viterbo, where it had already received a star, later confirmed in Rome too – offers this: without venturing into the dangerous waters of avantgarde, it instead presents a Mediterranean offer that is always well judged, technical, well executed.

Spaghetti, octopus, bergamot, jalapeno

Spaghetti, octopus, bergamot, jalapeno

Pigeon, celeriac, coy, chutney

Pigeon, celeriac, coy, chutney

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

Pleasant but contemporary, tasty and never banal: perfect (referring to the perfection we mentioned at the beginning) for the elegant tourists, mostly foreigners, who stay at the Villa, but also for gourmet visitors who don't want to give up on style and personality in food.

They're all good, they all know their job very well, work in a beautiful place and the food is excellent. Full stop.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


Enoteca La Torre  in Villa Laetitia
Lungotevere delle Armi 22, Rome
Tel. +39 06 45668304
enotecalatorreroma.com

 


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Photogallery

Various appetizers to begin with: Puffed pasta with carbonara sauce, Sponge of broccoli with salmon roe, Black cabbage and rice brittle...
Marinated salted codfish, pineapple, hazelnut mayonnaise: very good
Another excellently made starter: Marinated, seared and smoked amberjack, curly endive, oyster sauce and umeboshi
Foie gras terrine, beef steak tartare, annurca apple, mustard and tarragon
A very nice Risotto with lemons from Amalfi, sea truffles, asparagus, buffalo milk yogurt. The citrus fruits are in 4 versions: salty, baked, grated and candied, plus there's a little citron
Stile, at Enoteca La Torre since February 2016 taking the place of Danilo Ciavattini, who's instead replaced Kotaro Noda, shows he's a master of pasta with these Spaghetti, wild octopus Bolognese sauce, jalapeno and bergamot
Villeroy Lamb, with potatoes, champignons, porcini, black truffle
Pigeon marinated in soy, celeriac and tomato chutney. The leg is minced, formed once again and fried with corn flakes; the liver is in the shape of a sandwich. The second courses were less convincing than the rest
Excellent cakes, also thanks to pastry chef Veronica Cassone, 24, previously at Glass: this is Soffice di cheesecake, fermented fruits of the forest and lemon thyme
Lemon meringue pie, tamarind and wasabi