Thursday, March 23, 2017

La Cena

We really lucked out with the location of this apartment. Located only a block from Castel Sant’Angelo and a short walk to Piazza Navona, it’s the ideal combination of lots of restaurants and quiet residential. Every meal we’ve had so far has been within a 10-minute walk, some very touristy, others more local.
Yesterday we took the long way home from our afternoon trip to St. Peter’s and followed one of the recommended walking tours from out Frommer’s Rome: One Day at a Time. We really love these books because they are well written and capture a lot of the lesser known facts about wherever you happen to be. The first one we used was in Sevilla and we discovered not only a balcony used in Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” but some pipe stubs sticking out of a break in the original Moorish city walls. I love little details like those, so wherever we plan on going, we buy the associated book.
There was no intention of doing the whole tour yesterday afternoon, rather we were looking for a different way to go home. So instead of just walking back up Via de Bianchi Nouvi (we’re at #44) we found ourselves on Via dei Coronari and among a completely different set of shops and restaurants. One caught my eye, because their outside menu specifically mentioned homemade gnocchi, and frankly any place that brags about those little wonderful balls of dough is going to be okay with me. I filled the thought away and we went off for the rest of our evening.
Tonight, we left a bit earlier, deciding to buck the trend towards late dining that is common here as it is in Spain (although perhaps 1 hour earlier.) I said, “Gnocchi place,” MLW agreed and we went off to see if we could find our way back. Which turned out to be not much of a problem. Tables were available, we took one and ordered. The clue that we were in for a great experience was the music – Brazilian Bossa Nova.
The owner brought us a little bowl of a pesto made from tomatoes and bell peppers with a dollop of burrata on top. It was heavenly and when MLW told the owner, he replied that they had a starred Michelin chef who “really knew how to put things together.” Indeed, he did.
I had Vitel Tonne – beef with tuna sauce. Thin slices of rare roast beef topped with a tuna-flavored mayonnaise sauce, hiding under a big pile of green and garnished with raw capers. MLW had a confit of duck with gingerbread, prunes, and orange slices dotted with a small handful of thin, crisp fried potatoes. Both were sublime. We sat and ate and savored every single bite. The desert menu had so many option that it didn’t seem right to skip all of them so we split a serving of ciambellone al limone, a lemon cake served with whipped cream. I ordered a grappa and like everything else, the choice was not easy – the waitress asked me to join her at the bar to review what they head. Apricot, raspberry, fig, orange, and one whose name no one could come up with until I said “blackberry” and bingo, that was the choice, due to difficulty alone.
I’ve eaten all over the place and every once in a while, a dinner out rises to the level of “remarkable experience.” This one did without question, between the staff, the food, the music and the whole ball of wax, not a dinner I will forget any time soon.

Casa & Bottega
Via dei Coronari 183

Roma 00186


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