What is a hidden gem in Rome

Photos: Ristorante Giulia

Hidden Gem

We actually found this fine restaurant by accident. It is located in a small historical side street in the old town of Rome directly on the Tiber. An inconspicuous staircase leads to a room that is partly vintage and partly modern. We had to wait briefly and bridged the time with very professionally mixed cocktails and chat with the competent bartender. According to the location, the audience is quite cool and international, the service speaks perfect English and willingly explains the somewhat unusual dishes.

The cuisine focuses on Liguria, but interprets traditional dishes in a modern way. We ate, among other things, a very delicious composition of different, ultra-fresh, raw fish, ravioli, filled with bread and tomatoes on glazed onions, wonderfully sweet, risotto with provolone, a kind of ripened mozzarella, salami and ricotta, and to top it off, a deconstruction of a zabaglione in a teacup. The only disadvantage was the somewhat manageable portion sizes, after all, everyone claims to have an Italian model figure, here more would really have been more.

Ristorante Giulia
Lungotevere dei Tebaldi, 4a, 00186 Roma Tel. +39 06 9489 2076, www.giuliarestaurant.it, prices 10 to 30 €

Photo: www.retro-bottega.com

World class

In the middle of the historic center, just around the corner from Piazza Navona, there is an absolutely modern, world-class Italian restaurant, which could well exist in London or New York. We happened to be there on the evening on which a kitchen table menu with 20 courses was served for the very first time! Hurray, and what kind! We were actually able to taste the entire menu of the restaurant, from which the other guests usually choose about four courses. Actually, we would have liked to come back the whole of next week to eat all the dishes again in “big”, they were so good.

Here, Italian cuisine is served at haute cuisine level, without the stress of a star restaurant. Just a few highlights are mentioned here: cherry gazpacho with mussels, tortellini filled with sea snails, pigeon, so tender, to kneel down, with fig and pak choi, steak from a really old cow, at least ten years old, incredibly aromatic. The wine accompaniment was perfect, lots of orange wines, but not at all strenuous. Giuseppe Lo Iudice and Alessandro Miocchi, the two bosses, looked after us lovingly and competently throughout the evening. The only drawback: the desserts were rather disharmonious, with too many different flavors, but maybe we were just too full to appreciate them.

Via della Stelletta, 4, 00186 Roma, Tel. +39 06 6813 6310, www.retro-bottega.com, menu with accompanying wines € 150, à la carte € 15 to 30

Photo: Alberto Blasetti / Santo Palato

On the outskirts

Completely inconspicuous and unpretentious, the Trattoria Santo Palato is located in the south-eastern suburbs of Rome in the San Giovanni district, a former working-class district, now more bourgeois. The tip came from very experienced culinary friends. From the outside, the restaurant does not attract any attention. As soon as you step into it, you feel like you are in a traditional, long-established neighborhood trattoria, but here the guest expects much more! A slate advertises the current dishes, but there is also a menu with the guests' favorite dishes. The offer sounds so tempting that we wanted to order everything and did about it, which degenerated into absolute gluttony, but was extremely delicious: Burrata with lukewarm, incredibly aromatic tomatoes, buttery ribs that literally fell apart, served on burning, fragrant hay, the well-known Roman classic pasta carbonara with thick noodles, whereby the sauce, of course without cream, was wonderfully creamy due to the eggs and combined harmoniously with the parmesan.

Photo: Gianmaria De Luca / Santo Palato

We also ventured into offal - tripe in a spicy tomato sauce - and were rewarded for our courage. The restaurant follows the concept from nose to tail with regional products and offers a variety of orange wines (but all without a didactic finger), which attracts a trendy, hip, young crowd, but also makes the neighborhood happy. Despite the well-known ingredients, the dishes are unusually good and exceptionally prepared. This restaurant is definitely worth a trip to the outskirts.

Santo Palato
Piazza Tarquinia, 4a, 00153 Roma, Tel. +39 06 7720 7354, www.facebook.com / santopalatoroma, prices approx. € 10 to € 20 per dish

Photos: www.giolitti.it

But with cream, please

Opinions may differ about it. But for me the Gelateria Giolitti is the best ice cream parlor in Rome. A vast number of types of ice cream are really waiting for the customer very close to the Pantheon. The queue is huge, because word of this ice cream parlor got around and rightly so. It couldn't be more classic Italian, and has been for over 100 years. First you pay, so you have to be clear beforehand about the amount you want to lick, and then you are spoiled for choice. Or you can eat the ice cream in a well-mannered manner and let yourself be served by very Italian waiters. There are more than 50 types of ice cream on offer; I liked the pistachio particularly well. Only natural products without coloring and artificial flavors are used. But no matter what you order, definitely with cream, it's free.

Last but not least, I have to admit that I forgot the time for eating ice cream and the Pantheon was now closed. But it was definitely worth it.

Giolitti al Vicario
Via Uffici del Vicario, 40, 00186 Roma, tel. +39 06 699 1243, www.giolitti.it, prices 3 to 15 €

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