La Carbonara 1906 – Via Panisperna, 214
Once upon a time, in 2010, during our very first visit to Rome we were out and about in Monti, we decided to go for lunch…after the usual getting lost bit, we somehow stumbled upon where we wanted to go. And although we arrived 10 minutes after the lunch closing time, they graciously agreed that we could have lunch…although we were limited to ordering their excellent spaghetti carbonara, salad, wine and strawberries! No problem finding them this time. We were meeting a friend in Monti later in the afternoon, so we thought it might be a good idea to re-visit this cozy spot and try something else off the menu! To begin we shared a plate of fried veggies, or Roman tempura. When in Rome…well you know…so it’s fried things and tonnarelli pasta! For Joe, anchovy and cherry tomato sauce and for me, an oxtail sauce tossed with tonnarelli…both very good, although I do think my oxtails would have benefited with just a bit more time in the pot… The thing about oxtails is that you just know at some point, usually sooner than later, that you will have to abandon your fork and knife for those 10 digits on your hands…and quite frankly, it just wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t! The guy at the next table took one look at the oxtail perched on his pasta and totally refused to have anything to do with it! It goes without saying that we enjoyed some house red too! The photo of sign outside their door is way more interesting/funny in Italian…try your best!
Romeo – Via Silla, 26/a
We absolutely loved this place when we went there in the spring of 2014 and were really looking forward to a return visit this past October! I guess sometimes it’s best to just remember the great time you had and not go back? We made a completely unnecessary reservation for a Monday night and maybe that was the problem? We arrived around 8:00 and the place was pretty much empty, with the staff standing around with nothing to do! Not a good thing. We ordered a nice bottle of Verdicchio from the Marche region and proceeded to peruse the menu, which was totally unchanged from a year ago…I find that weird…not a thing changed. A few people did trickle in over the next two hours, mostly for wine and snacks. We did enjoy our shared plate of house “pickled veggies” and Joe liked his calamari and squid pasta and my eggplant stuffed ravioli was tasty as well. But the vibe was missing and we were disappointed, considering how much we enjoyed our lunch there in 2014!
Enough talk of restaurants…time to go food shopping! Here are two of our new favourite places.
La Tradizione di Belle e Fantucci – Via Cipro, 8
If peering in the window doesn’t make you swoon…you need help! La Tradizione cellars and cares for a selection of 400 cheeses and they have a choice of 300 “cold cuts”…WOW!!! As they are situated not far from our apartment in Prati and because we neglected to go on our last two times in Rome, we figured it’s time to get our act together and head over! Besides all the stuff I mentioned, they also have a selection of fresh pasta, including the pumpkin ravioli we bought for our dinner primi to be sauced with browned butter and sage…soooo good! They also sell wines and other bits and pieces, one of the bits being saffron from Abruzzo I spotted and had to buy. We chose two cheeses to bring home with us and they vacuumed sealed them for travel. One was a saffron, black peppercorn flavoured Pecorino from Sicily that we shared with friends over the holidays…this is a cheese we would never ever find here and we all loved it! If you don’t want to cook…head over to La Tradizione and load up on all the prepared goodies in the window…I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
Volpetti, Testaccio – Via Marmorata, 47
A number of months ago a friend and I were having a discussion about anchovies and how much I dislike them and we were also talking the famous anchovy sauce/oil, Colatura, which harkens back to the Ancient Roman “Garum” sauce they seemed to put on everything, I wanted to find and buy some Colatura for my partner in food while we were in Rome. Gareth recommended a visit to Volpetti where I would be sure to find it among many other delicious comestibles. And he was so right! Besides the Colatura, we bought fig “salami” to bring home for Christmas. Other than figs we have no idea what’s in it! We were all trying to guess! Nicely wrapped in fig leaves, sealed in plastic wrap, unwrapped, thinly sliced and utterly fabulous with hay and honey Pecorino! What a treat to enjoy over the holidays…again with those same two friends who loved it as much as we did!