This was a quick trip to Rome to visit friends and celebrate their daughter’s first birthday. But I managed to do a little eating, too. I asked a friend who knows a lot about Roman food where I should go, and by chance he offered two addresses very close to where my friends live. Perfect.
First was lunch at Trattoria Cadorna: I had been warned that the first courses were generously portioned but still, when the pane fritti arrived and our jaws dropped, the waiter correctly surmised that we were overwhelmed without having even had one bite and offered to cancel the burrata that I had ordered. (It breaks my heart to say no to something I love, but there was just no way it would have worked out. Story of my life these days).
I realize that “fried bread” sounds like greasy carnival food, but this was anything but. There were puffy pillows with tomato sauce and basil, other long sticks with rosemary and parmeggiano, and it could have fed six. We were but 2 and a baby.
(The little one liked it as much as we did, by the way.)
We followed that with pasta, of course. In Rome, most trattoria menus are basically the same, so the search is for quality not variety. My cacio e pepe was just right, but my friend won the day with her dish of piping hot tagliatelle with peas, ham, and mushrooms, all bound with an egg at the last minute. We had also ordered some asparagus but again the waiter intervened. When we asked if we could cancel it he said he already had.
With full bellies and a fussy baby to contend with, dessert was out of the question. But just around the corner from the restaurant (and a 5 minute walk from my friends’ apartment – lucky lucky) is a fantastic gelateria, I Caruso.
I strolled back over that evening and ordered a combination of pistachio and crema – plain custard that is anything but plain – and peeked in the windows of the impeccable kitchen while I ate. Small scale production, high quality ingredients, I Caruso is the real deal.
The next night I was back, this time for a mix of strawberry sorbetto and fior di panna – fresh cream.
I could actually smell the strawberry.
La Dolce Vita, indeed.
Trattoria Cadorna via Cadorna 12, Rome (+39) 06 48 27 06
Gelateria I Caruso via Collina 15, Rome