Lunch in Anzio
I have been building a page of my favorite restaurants in Italy. I’m not sure if I want to include some sort of a review or a description of every restaurant, or just list their names and addresses. I figured that since I’m not only concentrating on my own cooking in this blog, but what I’m eating in restaurants and at friend’s houses, that instead of writing a blurb on the restaurant page, I would create posts over time, for most of the restaurants on my list.
Since I tend to photograph my food, something my friends and in-laws find very bizarre, and since I have a ridiculous collection of food photos (one of the reasons I started this blog), I can put it all to good use. My first post on a restaurant, Marco’s in Napoli, was less of a review than it was a photo album of beautiful food, now I will try for something a little different, we’ll see how it goes.
We came to La Fraschetta del Mare in Anzio for our anniversary last year, we wanted to go to the coast for seafood and found the closest town to Rome with a restaurant recommended in our Slow Food guide. Of course it is always hit or miss with certain guides, but I would say that 7 times out of 10 we have a good meal at Slow Food restaurants. This is one of the best that we have come across at this point.
This isn’t the type of place for picky eaters, you don’t have any choices, they set the menu for the day based on what they caught out at sea, and generally they serve fish that would sell for less on the market, though very fresh nonetheless. The price is fixed at €16, with antipasto, primo and secondo, serving the pasta as the last course.
The house wine was a local marino, fresh and delicious, not leaving either of us with a headache, like so many commercial wines can with their added chemicals. The antipasti consisted of two types of bruschette, one with tomato, scamorza and anchovies, baked so that the cheese was a little bit melted and the bread was toasty, the second with an eggplant patè spread on top, followed by frittelle di bianchetti. Bianchetti are the whitebait or tadpoles of pesce azzurro (Blue Fish: sardines, anchovies), they are mixed with a batter and fried in olive oil. A fritto di paranza, which is a mix of small fish breaded and fried. The antipasti were amazing, small samples of so many different things, the fish was fresh and perfectly flaky and I love frittelle di bianchetti, though I try not to think about what they are when I eat them.
The secondi were both made with aguglie, which is a needlefish. One was prepared with a tomato and onion sauce, and the other with olive oil, rosemary and lemon. I loved the unexpected combination of rosemary with the flavor of the fish, two ingredients that aren’t generally used together, especially in Southern Italian cooking. The portions for the secondi were fairly small and there wasn’t the option of having a contorno, so no vegetables, but that is my only critique of this restaurant.
I am sad to say that I don’t have any photos of the pasta dish, spaghetti with cuttlefish and artichokes, it was so good that I ate it before I had a chance to take any pictures. I will have to try to make it before the fall artichokes season is over.
Because my husband and I are pigs and it was our anniversary we decided to order an extra plate of fried fish, that and a another half liter of wine!