LA GRIGLIETTA – Una piccola gemma nel cuore di Roma

As the title states, this place it’s a real little gem.

Very old family business, which has been preserved as authentic as possible since the beginning. The atmosphere is really relaxed while the owner and his son do everything in their power to make you feel confortable and taken care of.

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Quality of food? Do you really need to ask? Traditional and authentic recipes which vary from the best starters of Tuscany (wide selection of cured meats and cheeses) and the addition of a range of Fritti (fried food) typical from Lazio, specifically from Rome: Fried zucchini flowers filled with anchovies and mozzarella, supplì al telefono (rice croquettes), potatoes croquettes and all Romans favourites…THE CARCIOFI (artichokes)!

This is the season of the artichokes (FEB-MAY) and in Rome, we definitely know how to prep them in a thousand different ways.

As a starter or a side La Griglietta offers Carciofi alla Romana (mint, garlic and lemon) Carciofi alla Giudia (pushed flat and fried), fried Carciofi (batter-mixed in Egg and flour), crostini with Carciofi …yum yum yum!!! Then, moving to the main courses: pasta and Carciofi (sauce is made as a bolognaise of artichokes), stuffed Carciofi filled in an Carciofi sauce and cheese (sometimes)….etc. etc.

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This place doesn’t only have an artichokes based menu, they of course offer a wide selection of Roman amazing recipes (Carbonara, one of the best in town!) but the real gem is the TAGLIATA! SUPER YUM YUM YUM!

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The beef is “imported” directly from Tuscany 3 times a week. It serves a minimum of 2 people, as these are huge! They slice it directly at the table and the smell drives you crazy…30 second of slicing process that seems like time has stopped and you just want to taste it so badly!!!

Finally…he is done and you can begin this journey of super tender texture: juicy in the middle, with a nice crust. I could have it every day!

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To accompany the Tagliata, just ask them for the house red, easy to drink and it doesn’t spoil the taste of the meat. Of course they have a wide selection of bottles; if you are a wine lover, I’m sure you’ll find something of your likes!

Desserts are the typical ones, but extremely good and tasty. My personal favourite would be the Tiramisu.

During the winter they don’t have tables on the footpath but if there’s a sunny day and temperature is mild, ask them to move you a table outside and they’ll be happy to do it for you!

 

LA GRIGLIETTA

Via Germanico, 170, 192 Roma

Tel. +39 06.3211312

 

OPENING HOURS:

MON to SAT 12noon a 3:30pm and 7:30pm a 11pm

SUN Closed

 

A few other shots of tasteful creations by La Griglietta

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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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BUCAVINO – ristorante giovane e BUONO!

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There’s a very small door on Via Po 45A, two mini lanterns and a very little bronze plate that introduce you to Andrea and Francesca’s home. Welcome to Bucavino!

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There you will find a young and vibrant atmosphere, really tasty dishes and lots of smiles: these are the characteristics that set these siblings apart from the rest.

Andrea is the brain behind the cooking. He takes care of everything that goes on in the kitchen and he wants to approve every single dish his assistant prepares, even the salads!

Francesca is a brilliant sommelier; she will always have at least 2-3 choices ready to offer per plate on their menu.  On our visit, we found her to be a very good host and trains up the younger staff beautifully, too.

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Most of their dishes are traditional ones from the Lazio region, but they also run a special menu every single day with the freshest products they find available on the market – from meat to fish, but also dairy products as well as vegetarian and vegan options. Quality is high and everything tastes authentic.

We cannot rave about the desserts too – they’re all homemade with the exception of a line of Gelati Tartufo which is produced by a small family run business just outside of Rome.

Dishes that I personally recommend:

Starter – Fiori di zucca fritti con mozzarella di bufala ed alici.

Pasta – Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (sometimes you find the variation of this dish with the addition of King prawns – Go For It!!).

Second Main – Filetto con crema di Pecorino.

Dessert – Home made tiramisu (love the presentation) or Liquirice Gelato Tartufo.

At the end of your meal you must ask for a limoncello or, even better, an Amaro del Capo!

Definitely not expensive, strongly recommended if you are strolling around Quartiere Pinciano-Coppedè.

BUCAVINO

Address: Via Po 45A

Telephone number: +39

Open MON-SAT for lunch and dinner

Closed on SUN

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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!

Da Enzo, IL RISTORANTE

If you’re looking for a good fish restaurant in Rome I must insist that you go to Da Enzo.

It is close to Piazza Cavour, on the way to Piazza del Popolo. The restaurant blends modern retro with ancient references dotted across the city, and welcomes the city’s top Italian lawyers, magistrates and politicians to tuck into seafood and Roman specialities cooked the ‘Enzo’ way.

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At this family establishment, every guest is greeted personally by the owner Mrs Genny – and with such a warm welcome it feels more like her private home than a public place. Her husband, head chef Luciano, and one of their sons – Luciano’s right hand man – run the kitchen. Meanwhile, back on the restaurant floor their second son – a talented sommelier – introduces the finest quality local wines as well as less well-known bottles from the south and north of the country. He’s best left to it – he never fails to choose the right cork to accompany your food.

On my last visit, I tried the Paccheri con i Polipetti e pomodorini (pasta with baby octopus and cherry tomatoes) and the classic   Spaghetti alla vongole (spaghetti with clams). As fresh as can be, the fish was dressed in a delectable sauce, simply mamma mia!   The baby octopus and cherry tomatoes garnished with fresh parsley made for a symphony of simple flavours in my mouth, while the spaghetti with clams met the highest of expectations of such a popular classic.   Because it is such a simple dish it is oddly a very hard dish to get right.

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I also recommend the tuna tartare which I tried on a previous occasion. Served with a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil, lemon and black pepper, it is light and suitable for the most sophisticated diners.

But my favourite dish at Da Enzo’s is the fritto di paranza, calamari e gamberi (fried fish, squid and shrimp) which is unusually light as it is pan-fried and they change the oil every time. Plus the Fried Cod – una delizia that melts in your mouth, tender and tasty – you will never forget it!

For dessert, my indulgence would be the pear and ricotta tart or the classic pastiera napoletana.

– – – HCM

INFO:

DA ENZO, IL RISTORANTE

Via Ennio Quirino Visconti, 39

00193 RomaItalia

+39 06 3215743

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Here they are, Luciano & Jenny… Enzo is not here any longer unfortunately, but they’re doing a great job with the help of their son Mario!

And here what we had for dinner…
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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