Thursday, September 23, 2010
Rome, Italy: Microbrews and Killer Carbonara
I've only been to Rome once before, and wasn't a big fan of it. Maybe it was because I hung out around the biggest tourist traps. I was excited about seeing and experiencing a Rome from a local's perspective thanks to our fearless friends who live there.
We were first transported to microbrew-land at bir & fud, a great spot in the Trastevere area serving any kind of microbrew your heart desires. The master beer guy with the crazy curly hair just asked us what kind of beer we liked and wanted and presto, he'd hand us one of the many beers on tap, cut the foam with a knife (I think that was a knife) and then -- the epitome of refreshment itself.
I heard the "fud" or food there is also excellent but we were saving ourselves for our late dinner. The platters that were being delivered to each table looked mouth-watering, from a massive pile of mussels to piping hot and cheesy pizzas.
I wanted a light-tasting beer with some citrus flavors to beat the dead summer heat and what I was handed was exactly what I wanted. Ditto for the next glass, which I said I wanted something heartier but not too heavy.
Then came a full-on dinner at Trattoria dal Cav. Gino, a tiny joint that could be missed if you blink. Tucked away in a small alley near the Parliament building, everything tasted like home-cooking at its best. The frutti di mare pasta, carbonara, amatriciana, etc pasta were all delicious. Perfectly cooked noodles with a light sauce. Everything tasted extremely fresh with intense flavors.
The main dishes were also eclectic, including rabbit, short ribs, lamb and tripe. I can't say I like tripe but all the other dishes were braised and slow-cooked with a lot of care. The meats were soft and blended very well with their respective sauces and juices, some tomato-based and others flavored with herbs like rosemary.
We also got a dish of stir-fried greens that counterbalanced some of the heaviness from the meat dishes perfectly. The greens had a bit of a bite.
Needless to say, I can't think our hosts enough for showing us the real Rome once and for all. Wish we could have stayed longer...
This is definitely a restaurant out of the tourist path that is a must for anyone visiting Rome. Don't miss out. Book a table there today!