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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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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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 Firenze to Milano – Hello Bologna and Parma

After a good restful night in Florence, we were quickly back on the road again!

This was probably my favourite day of the entire trip. Final destination Milano but with two planned stops on route – the cities of Bologna and Parma. Why did we enjoy the stops so much? Food, of course! The best “tortellini in brodo” I’ve ever had (Bologna) and the famous “piatto di bolliti” (Parma). Just thinking about it, I’m salivating for more.

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Another 195 miles of ground covered, we arrived in Milano at 7:45pm, just in time to park up, find a bed for the night and get out in time for what the people of Milano do so well: APERITIVO! Just a few euros for a Spritz and as much food as we could eat. Still full from our double lunch stop, we actually couldn’t eat that much!

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To Be Continued…

– – – H.C.M.