With a capacity for 55 guests plus a private room indoors and additional seasonal seating on a patio, I’d call this a medium sized place. Their speciality is in cooking offal. Their ancestors started a wineshop across from a slaughter house where a portion of the workers’ pay was in “lesser” animal parts. These workers brought the parts to the shop and family cooked them and thus the cuisine for pajata and other organs was born. Ferminia was the daughter of the original wineshop owners who developed this cooking and passed it on to her son Checchino who in 1927 restored the restaurant which now counted many noblemen and politicians as its customers. A few generations have passed but the place is still in the family under the Mariani family siblings with Francesco and Marina running the front and Elio running the kitchen. Their wine cellar is under the “Monte dei Cocci” made almost entirely from broken oil containers dating from the Roman empire. (Google it if you have time, a very interesting tale).
We were there for lunch and the room was almost empty that day and sadly so, as this is really good food. If you find yourself in Rome, do go cause it is great culinary experience! We started with the Roman carciofo which was superb. Cooked perfectly and stuffed with herbs to give the it and the surrounding oil a lovely flavor.
In my effort to compare carbonara, I had that next and although it had less meat than some it was simply divine. The sauce tasted like it had been dressed with the creamiest soft scrambled eggs ever. I devoured every bit.
I was unsure of the pajata ordered by my husband but it turned out to be equally succulent. The menu says it is from lamb but this day they had veal ones which are slightly larger but just as milk filled. It appeared pan fried and had just a hint of liver flavor and a wonderful chew. I would happily go back and try the ones in red sauce on pasta. What a fun surprise.
We wanted to try something sweet and Francesco suggested the prune and pear dessert. Again, the combo doesn’t grab you but boy was I wrong. The wine sauce had a hint of chocolate, the pear was flavorful and cooked perfectly and the prunes had a hint of spice. All combined with the tasty hazelnut ice cream and you have a little bit of heaven in front of you.
Francesco spoke beautiful English and was happy to offer us a tour of the wine cellar and kitchen to meet his brother.
I don’t know if Elio spoke as much English but he had the biggest smile – I’ve never felt so welcome in a foreign kitchen. I’m only sorry we didn’t meet his sister!