When it comes to eating out in Rome, there seems to be little doubt that Katie Parla is THE authority on not only where, but what to eat (with my friend D who blogs here coming a close second 😉 ) As I was only passing through Rome briefly, on my way to Naples, it was of course vital that I chose well and after much debate settled on Restaurant Roscioli, figuring that I would consume enough pizza in Naples and should therefore take the opportunity to enjoy some quality Roman pasta in the meantime.
Doubling as a high-end Deli, tiny tables are crammed onto the shop floor in amongst the mouth-watering displays of Italian meats, cheeses, oils, dried pasta, wine and just about anything else you can imagine. I was happy to be dining solo and therefore given a perfect vantage point at the bar counter, towards the back of the restaurant, where I received what was apparently uncharacteristically delightful service from the barman, in between his flirting with the fabulously wealthy Russian cougar seated next to me, whom he ended up selling several hundred euros worth of Roscioli products to before she waltzed out of the salumeria, shrouded in a mist of expensive perfume.
Of course choosing what to eat is normally the part of the evening when I regret dining solo, especially when dining in such a veritable Aladdin’s cave of gourmet goodies where one is expected to share a selection of antipasti, before moving onto one of their homemade pastas (thankfully Katie advises skipping the primi and desserts which was just as well for both my budget and belly!)
On this occasion I had actually already chosen what I would eat before arriving at the restaurant; I can never refuse “Burrata” when it makes a welcome appearance on restaurant menus, in fact, all in all, I was to enjoy Burrata 3 times this trip, from Rome to Nice and London, although Roscioli’s was arguably the highlight.
There are no less than four different ways of enjoying the Burrata at Roscioli; from semi dried Sicilian tomatoes to caviar, Cantabrian anchovies or truffle, all of which sounded absolutely delicious but it was the accompaniment of sweet Pachino tomatoes that eventually won out in the face of stiff competition from the anchovies. I was also tempted into ordering a side order of Roman style artichokes which I must admit somewhat defeated me as I was keen to save room for my pasta, however were enjoyable all the same.
For those of you that have not had the pleasure of eating burrata, it is best explained as being a ball of wonderfully gooey mozzarella that has been stuffed with cream, allowing the insides to ooze out across the plate. The tomatoes offered just the right hit of both sweetness and acidity to cut through the rich cheese and I happily scooped it up using the (complimentary) freshly baked bread from the generous basket that had been placed on the bar in front of me.
When it comes to the pasta at Roscioli, simplicity is apparently the key to enjoyment and whilst the Roman stalwart of “Cacio e Pepe” (pasta topped with mountains of feathery pecorino cheese and Malaysian Sarawak black pepper) was tempting, when I saw they offered the “Gricia” a spin on this using Rigatoni with the addition of Guanciale (cured pork jowl) my mind was made up!
You don’t need me to tell you how perfectly “al dente” the pasta was, nor how the salty little nuggets of crispy pork worked beautifully with the pecorino, the Sarawak pepper also proved the perfect counterpoint to the cheese and pork, showing me for probably the first time exactly what the true appeal of a good “Cacio e Pepe ” really is.
It is worth noting that you can have a half portion of pasta for 70% of the main menu price, which is what I decided to do as the portions I saw being sent out of the kitchen were HUGE! The half portions are still more than enough – I absolutely could not have managed a mouthful more!
Dinner, with a Negroni, 2 glasses of wine, San Pellegrino and an espresso came to 70Eu, more than double the price of most of our meals for 3 were in Naples (!) but one where the quality of the ingredients could not be faulted, with the simple perfection of the meal helping me to make the most of my one night in Rome!
Via dei Giubbonari
firstname.lastname@example.org – Be sure to book well in advance. I received a lovely email back confirming my table when I booked around 6 weeks early for an August reservation.