All the news from Rome

The most interesting openings to help you enjoy the autumn in Italy’s capital. From Ponte Milvio to Aventino

18-10-2013
by Andrea Cuomo
Roma Beer Company, in Piazzale di Ponte Milvio in

Roma Beer Company, in Piazzale di Ponte Milvio in Rome, tel. +39.06.3337048, the new beer temple with a rich selection of draught and bottled beer from all over the world, plus hamburgers and tapas. A nice news among the many in the capital

No matter how you see it, Ponte Milvio is indeed the capital’s new food district. It is in this young-generation chaos where those who fly too high often fall down (and fast) that the most interesting openings in Rome’s gastronomic scene are concentrated this autumn of 2013. The main event is expected in November, with the opening of Trapizzino. This will be a new mini-restaurant by Stefano Callegari named after his most beloved creature, the triangle of pizza bianca filled with the most typical Roman tradition: picchiapò, amatriciana sauce, squid and peas, vaccinara, chicken cacciatora. This street food delicacy, which until now was only offered in the small shop in Testaccio, is ready to conquer North Rome.

Stefano Callegari: waiting for his brand new Trapizzino to come, opening next November at Ponte Milvio

Stefano Callegari: waiting for his brand new Trapizzino to come, opening next November at Ponte Milvio

A few metres away, there are some more scattered news: a beer temple (Roma Beer Company), which unites a rich selection of draught and bottled beers from all over the world with the now mandatory hamburger and some more meaty dishes; and also the Italian branch of the Spanish chain 100 Montaditos, which declines the tapas-fashion into ten ways, with a local touch (20% of Italian-style mini-panini). If it will get the success it seems to be destined for, Rome might fill up with restaurants with the same red brand. Who knows if we should wish for this to happen.

Another area which, after decades of sleep-inducing restaurants, is now living a perhaps even too lively phase, is Prati with its “hinterland”. The brand Settembrini is a typical example of this: different places one after the other, an offer that often overlaps but is almost always convincing. Now, to celebrate its tenth birthday, a new concept store is to be added to the series (it will be called Officina Settembrini in Via Avezzana) as well as the agile Birra e Porchetta, which offers panini in two sizes (large for 5 euros and button-sized for 2) of the aromatic pork and a non-banal selection of pints and bottles.

Antonio Bonamini, Oscar Chef, via Gualtiero Serafino 16

Antonio Bonamini, Oscar Chef, via Gualtiero Serafino 16

Also not far from Saint Peter’s, there’s Antonio Bonamini’s challenge, in Via Serafini. With his Oscar Chef he looks for a non-banal way to tradition cuisine, but without overdoing it. In the Balduina area, pizzeria Magnifica (in Via Ugo De Carolis) has the ambition of finding a third way between fat Neapolitan style pizza and the dry Roman style: patron Maurizio Valentini thinks of including a series of signature pizzas designed with people such as Arcangelo Dandini and Marco Bottega in his menu. Again, in the same neighbourhood, two more novelties are coming up: in Via Crescenzio the new branch of Baccano, a Big-Apple-style restaurant which for a few years has been attracting a glam and touristic clientele a few steps from Fontana di Trevi; and in Via Cicerone, a vegan-chic restaurant which should be called Cicero.

Let’s change area. In Corso Rinascimento, Brad is promising. Here the slightly untidy talent of Dario Tornatore, previously at Palatium, gets wild: if he’ll learn to turn down the volume a little, he will give us plenty of satisfaction. For now, let’s enjoy the excellent quality-price ratio. At Garbatella there’s L’Ambretta, a slightly futuristic winebar-bookshop-restaurant at the back of Teatro Ambra which aspires to be a multi-sensorial and multi-purpose laboratory. A fascinating project though usually we’re wary of places that believe they need a manifesto.

L'Ambretta, wine food books, on Garbatella neighborhood (photo by ilcrudoeilcotto.blogspot.com)

L'Ambretta, wine food books, on Garbatella neighborhood (photo by ilcrudoeilcotto.blogspot.com)

Far away from any easy fashion, instead, there’s Rosso, a new place that is in fact quite traditional in an area which is far away from the city’s most lively gourmet sets, the secluded, despite central, Viale Aventino. This restaurant is a little reserved, it focuses on decor, on being correct, elegant, trying to intercept a public that goes out for dinner with the hope of experiencing some emotion and not to dive into a luminescent aquarium. And finally a few quick tasty recommendations: fish courses at Terre d’Acqua in Trastevere, pizzeria Pro Loco in Centocelle, Moderna in via Galvani, a Testaccio-version of Splendor Parthenopes, and Osteria Palmira in Via Abate Ugone in Monteverde.

As for the chefs’ star-system, this is a wavering season. The only true news is the arrival at Majestic of Massimo Riccioli - who by the way also remains at La Rosetta - after Filippo La Mantia left. The presence of Danilo Ciavattini, who months ago - together with patron Luigi Picca - moved Enoteca La Torre from Viterbo to Villa Laetitia, a luxury hotel owned by the Fendi family, has now stabilised.