We just returned from a very nostalgic weekend in Rome. We rented an apartment in our old neighborhood, ate at our favorite restaurants, and walked walked walked, which was always our favorite pastime when we were residents of the Eternal City.
Our first meal was at the Hosteria Abbruzzese, which was right around the corner from our apartment. We ate there at least 3 times a month and usually ordered the same thing each time. The antipasto della casa, which was served with pizza bianca fresh from the oven, prosciutto al punto di coltello (cut with a knife, not a circular slicer), salame, fresh mozzarella, pecorino cheese and a frittura of vegetables. A feast. My husband went for his usual mezzemaniche alla checca and I with the tagliolini ai funghi porcini. The food was, as always, fabulous, but the best part of the meal was the fact that the owner and the waiters remembered us and gave us the royal treatment, doting on our daughter. It really is a beautiful thing to leave the country for almost 4 years and to come back to see the same faces in the same windows and to be remembered. It was a beautiful homecoming.
By negligence we ended up at a wonderful Slow Food restaurant, L’Asino d’Oro, in the Monti neighborhood. Not sure what we were thinking, not reserving a table at another favorite spot, La Carbonara, and with my nifty new Slow Food guide app I was able to locate the closest Slow Food restaurant in the vicinity. It was a wonderful surprise. We shared a smoked herring tiramisu antipasto, with mascarpone, bread and smoked herring layered on top of one another and paired with fresh oranges. From there we went directly to the secondi, wild boar stewed in a chocolate-wine sauce and baccalà served over a bean puré with raisins and herbs. Both delicious. We ordered cicoria and sweet onions as contorni, which can’t be skipped in Rome and had a chocolate and licorice mouse for dessert, which neither of us particularly cared for.
Our last meal was at an old favorite tourist spot, La Scala, in Trastevere. This was the restaurant that I took clients to when I was working in the neighborhood, and again, always ordered the same thing, Taglioni al Cacio e Pepe with cherry tomatoes and zucchini flowers. Still delicious, but the rest of it left a lot to be desired. My husband constantly craves fried calamari and ordered them as an antipasto (despite his cheesy primo), they were frozen and mediocre. They used to have a wonderful antipasto della casa, much like the one served at the Hostaria Abbruzzese, but since they were no longer serving pizzas, they took it off of the menu. I made do and ordered something else, but was left terribly disappointed, it arrived luke warm and tasteless, not even worth the word space to describe it. My husband gave me a hard time about this restaurant, it is super touristy, but that Cacio e Pepe melts in your mouth.
Two Years Ago: La Focaccia al Formaggio di Recco