LA CARBONARA – ‘BBONA VERA!!!

Right in the heart of Rome, in Piazza Campo di Fiori, you’ll find one of the oldest restaurants in the City, founded years ago by a coal dealer’s wife (a carbonaro) who had his shop right in front of the restaurant.  La Carbonara is also a nod to one of the most traditional Roman dishes you will find: La Pasta alla Carbonara. You could presume it’s going to be a usual tourist trap, but the truth is that the owners had the foresight to keep it really traditional – both in the menu and in the decor.

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You find yourself then, having lunch on a table, admiring the old piazza with the statue of Giordano Bruno in the middle, surrounded by the ancient buildings and the local food market in the centre.
In the evenings, the piazza turns in one of the most popular areas of the Rome nightlife scene with cool bars, clubs and cafes.

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The restaurant is run by Donna Teresa who gives a touch of originality even to the most simple foods like her amazing cured meats, or the homemade ravioli filled up with ricotta cheese and nuts. But many locals choose to ignore the menu, as Ms Teresa often creates surprise dishes depending on what is in season that day/week/month.  But you cannot go to La Carbonara without ordering the…Pasta alla Carbonara of course!!!! (It’s the most incredible pasta dish, made with a sauce of eggs, creamy pecorino cheese and pancetta – for the few who still don’t know what it is!)

Other main courses are again buonissimi like the pasta with clams, cherry tomatoes and rocket salad, or the mixed fried vegetables, the giblets di una voltaas well as the chicken breast alla fornara. Finally you cannot miss the abbacchio scotta ditto: the lamb meat is always tender and succulent.

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In terms of wines, as always in Rome, you have lots of choice, but we’d like to suggest the Cesanese del Piglio, if you like red, or a refreshing Canestraro Grechetto if you fancy white.

LA CARBONARA

Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 23
00186 Roma
Tel: +39 06 6864783

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CAFFE PROPAGANDA – THE MODERN PARISIAN STYLE CAFÈ IN ROME

A group of like-minded foodie friends within the restaurant industry in Rome decided to team up and open something unique in their home city. Tradition and roots are what everyone takes into consideration when opening a restaurant in my city.  They decided to offer really high quality food delivered in a totally unique way.

They joined forces with a well-known Architect’s studio in the Holy City and in 2011, a few steps away from the Coliseum, they opened CAFFE PROPAGANDA!

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CP takes elements of old and new Paris, then brings them together in a brand new look, merging the style of an old-fashioned Parisian Bistro but with some modern twists.  You’ll find high ceilings, a beautiful zinc and durmast wood counter, the typical porcelain tails classic from the Metro of Paris, the white columns…and so on!

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It took them a while to name the place as it had to express what they were standing for: healthy and organic food coming from the surrounding area, to keep food miles as low as possible. The idea was to make a Propaganda in order to cement the principles.

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On the menu, there’s a bit of everything: salads and sandwiches for a quick meal,  a selection of teas and pastries for the afternoon, aperitivo and “stuzzichini” before dinner-time, a proper menu printed on an old style newspaper (incredible selection of cheese boards and organic wines) and a very unique list of cocktails/mocktails.

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All details are really taken into consideration!

What’s quirky? They only play music on Vinyl….How about that?!

CAFFE PROPAGANDA

+39 06 94534255

Via Claudia 15

00184

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OSTERIA MAVI – ROMANO E VEGANO!

Friendship…The most beautiful characteristic that distinguishes this restaurant from all the rest!

Two friends with a passion for Roman traditions as well as for creativity and good design.

Valerio and Cristiano have worked in Rome hospitality for many years.  They saved enough money to take over an old Osteria in the heart of Ostiense-Garbatella district, and re-styled the place with a hipster-y look and changed the name.

The name pick is one of the coolest “behind the scenes” thing to tell; in fact, a friend of theirs, passionate about music, wrote a song to his lover named Maria Vittoria AKA Mavi. They loved that song so much that they called the restaurant after it!

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Design and creativity then moved to the kitchen where the style is traditional with modern twists.  But the best thing about this place is the dishes – they taste great and look ACE!

Here are some of the dishes I recommend: Deep fried Polenta croquettes or Cod fishballs as starters, the classic “Amatriciana” and “Gricia” (tomato-less version of the Amatriciana) as pasta options or the grill of selected prime meats and fish.

The most popular dish is the “Farfalle pasta filled with prawn”: EVERYONE loves it!

The wine list counts about 100 different options, strictly Italian, but from all over the country.

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Up to this point, you would say: “yeah well, they’re just one of thousands of restaurants in Rome…what are they doing that is so different?”

Well, sorry to disappoint you, but the guys have thought about something really cool: ANY VEGAN MONDAY.

Every week, on Mondays, a Vegan night revolutionizes the menu as the chef, Marzia P. D’Ettore Piazzoli, creates different flavours from all over the world. This vegan night is soooo popular, that it gets booked out very fast! Definitely something new in such a conservative city as Rome!

Dessert? TIRAMISU!!! They have come up with their own version and it tastes A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

INFO:

OSTERIA MAVI

Via Fermi 71, Roma

www.osteriamavi.com

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DAL TOSCANO – CHE BISTECCA!

Tuscany is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy – and the renowned restaurant in Rome “Dal Toscano” serves its best delicacies. You can find it close to the Vatican Wall, in one of those old fashioned buildings. I’d say its’ definitely classic, clean and nicely set up.

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Tuscan food has always been my passion, my Grandma Maria being from a little town San Giovanni in Val d’Arno close to Florence. On the many Saturdays we had lunch at her house as kids, there were always dishes from her homeland, and that was one of the reasons why I became so passionate about good food. “Dal Toscano” restaurant has been in Rome for 77 years (in 1938 it was founded under the name of Trattoria Toscana) and it houses one of the best grills in the Capital, where you can enjoy various excellent meats cooked by the “maestri della brace”. The best dish is the world famous “Bistecca alla Fiorentina”.  Even if it is such a celebrated food, it is not easy to find because it has to be the best cut with the bone (similar to the T-Bone steak or the Porterhouse).

The meat must be matured for at least 15 days in cold storage, placed in salt for a long time and cooked on the grill.

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It’s cooked for a few minutes on both sides and served rare. The steak should be cut very thick (stand alone! – They say). My steak weighed 1.3kg and had to ask for help from my diners to end it all.

How to enjoy this meat so succulent and tender? Of course with a nice bottle of Chianti! What a match! Chianti and Fiorentina steak seem born one for each other.

In addition to steak, I could enjoy other typical Tuscan dishes: crostini with liver, fried brain and some salami as finocchiona (fennel is a spice used extensively throughout this region). And to sip at the end of the meal? A Fernet Branca! Make mine a double please!

INFO:

Via Germanico, 58-60, 00192, ROMA

+39 06 3972 5717

http://www.ristorantedaltoscano.it

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LA BISTECCA ALLA FIORENTINA

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CROSTINI TOSCANI
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CHIANTI…OF COURSE!

The Fiat 500 Story – From Parigi to Londra – Notting Hill, love at first sight! PART 2

Michele managed to find the telephone number of a mechanic and while we were waiting we spotted this empty shop exactly in front of us. It was like the Cinquecento, by breaking down right there was suggesting that we should enquire for it!

The mechanic arrived and he said that the engine was gone – that we needed to replace it and that it was near impossible without ‘extortionate’ cost to find an engine to replace it in the UK.

Of course, we couldn’t say goodbye to our only friend in London…

A few months later we opened our first little Arancina pizzeria in London, guess where? Right there, in Notting Hill, exactly where the car left us!

Did we trash the 500? NO WAY! We sliced it in half and placed it as a memento of the journey in the window of our restaurant.

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Our First Arancina branch – 19 Pembridge Road – Notting Hill – London

A year and 6 months later, our second branch opened in Westbourne Grove. Guess what we placed in the window? Exactly…the other half of our favourite travelling chariot, the Fiat Cinquento, our beloved car…

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And the second Branch – 19 Westbourne Grove – Bayswater – London

The End?? No way, that’s just how it all started!!! 🙂

– – – HCM

The Fiat 500 Story – From Parigi to Londra – Notting Hill, love at first sight! PART 1

Last day of our trip, finally we will get to London.

We drove to Calais and boarded the ferry to Dover. It was very fun as lots of people came forward to take photos of the car and they couldn’t believe we were coming all the way from Rome!

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Yeah, probably the ferry wasn’t that big, but the car is so small and everything looked bigger back then!

From Dover to London it took us “only” 2½ hours but the Fiat 500 started to hiccup and was producing really weird sounds. Michele said straight away “I hope it’s not the engine”. Too bad he understands quite a lot about classic cars – it was the engine.

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The car stopped, we knew we were in London (thank god) but where exactly? I asked a young couple walking by – “You’re in Notting Hill, mate”. Notting Hill! I was so excited! Another first for me, I had only seen it on the Hugh Grant movie until now!

To be continued…

– – – HCE

The Fiat 500 Story – From Lione to Parigi – Hello Tour Eiffel

Day 4 – We travelled a whole 290 miles across France, loving the views of the countryside. With so much distance to cover, we missed lunch but stocked up at little towns with typical cheeses and fresh bread from la boulangerie to enjoy on our way.

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Almost 7 hours later we arrived into Parigi. Exhausting, but hey – what an absolutely beautiful city! It was our first visit to Paris.

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We parked the Cinquecento as close as possible to the Tour Eiffel, took some pictures and stretched our legs by walking around the city for some time.

We enjoyed it very much but, sorry Parigi, Rome still looks better :)))

To be continued…

– – – HCE