Heading out tomorrow morning for a couple weeks in Italy. Have a reservation at Dario Doc but beyond that we’ve been a lot more relaxed in our planning than usual (have a fairly long list for Rome food but not so much everywhere else). Anybody got tips for any of these areas? Bonus points for pesto, cacio e pepe, and good people watching bar/cafes.
In Rome I like the Caffè Farnese for people-watching.
Go to Emma. Same owners and largely the same menu as the uncomfortable and touristly Roscioli Salumeria restaurant two blocks away.
Best Cacio e Pepe I’ve ever tasted in my life was at La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali in Rome. Near the Colosseum, sort of. Have fun!
I would go to both Emma and Roscioli. Had great meals at both. The pizza at Emma was great. Loved all the different cheeses and meats.
Go to Tempio De Iside - great seafood. The gamberi were the best shrimp we’ve eaten. There were 3 choices and we had 2 of each - red gamberi, smaller ones which went by a different name and gamberi scampi style. Each was raw and they all had an absurd amount of roe. The small gamberi had a fluorescent blue type of roe. It was so bright I honestly thought it might have been some type of radioactive by product. Sweet, soft, briny and fantastic as described.
The sea truffle were basically clams. A little larger than the ones we’d eat raw in the US but excellent with a squirt of lemon. The oysters (Belon and some other Mediterranean variety) were salty. Too briny and much larger than the West Coast varieties we generally enjoy.
The linguini with whole crab (was it hairy crab?) was excellent. It was definitely a lot of work but delicious. The sauce was delicate and paired perfectly with the sweet crab. I wish they’d given some of the crab a half crack kinda like Newport Seafood but I know they might have accidentally put some shell into the dish. The only gripe was the amount of work to get all the crab out but a great pasta dish.
I enjoyed Emma quite a bit, and I didn’t eat a full meal at Salumeria Roscioli, but the pizza al taglio at Antico Forno Roscioli was the best I had in Rome. Sure the spot is popular and a little touristy, but honestly so is everything else in Rome.
If you’ve got a long midday to spend on food, I had an awesome time at Mercato Testaccio, an open air market in Testaccio in Rome. Mordi e Vai makes killer sandwiches, Le Mani in Pasta (they have a full restaurant elsewhere) was maybe the best amatriciana we had, CasaManco was more awesome pizza al taglio, and there were several stalls with great and affordable wine.