Restaurant review: Taverna Cestia, Rome, Italy

August 25, 2010

While working at FAO and living in Rome at the end of the 1980ies, our main restaurant was Taverna Cestia, near Piramide, just a couple of blocks from the United Nations. We went often and all the waiters knew us very well. Usually that meant that we did not have to look at the menu (they knew what we liked to eat), and if we stayed longer than the opening hours permitted, we were somehow accommodated (usually the offering of burning ‘Sambuca’ signaled that it was time to go home).

So it was clear that when in Rome, we would go and eat there. And that’s what we did during our summer vacation 2010 as well. It was a very hot day. We had shown our daughters the Terme di Caracalla. We were thirsty and needed refreshment. ‘Melon with prosciutto’ and ‘bruschetta di pomodori’ are just the right stuff to start a meal.

Ham and melon

Tomatoes on grilled bread

Olives in a coat

Taverna Cestia is famous for it’s ‘spaghetti alle vongole’, but I always liked also the ‘penne al arrabiata’.

Penne al ragu

Spaghetti alle vongole

In the past we always ordered a liter of house wine, usually a white wine in summer (a refreshing Frascati) and a red one in winter. Also this time we had a bottle of this divine liquid. We did not regret our choice.

Frascati wine by Casalgentile

The back label of the Frascati by Casalgentile

That the food at Taverna Cestia is very good is proven by the next picture. Tripadvisor awards four out of five stars.

Address:
Taverna Cestia Di Salvi Gioacchino C.
Viale della Piramide Cestia, 67
00153 Roma, Italia
Tel.: +39-6-5743754
Subway: Piramide


Restaurant review: Orazio, Rome

July 15, 2010

It is wonderful to be again in the town which was my home for three years (1988-90). Rome is just stunning, a wonderful city. In 1990 I witnessed here the soccer world cup. Ten years later I was invited as visiting professor by the Food and Agriculture Organization to conduct a study on property rights in Asia. In 2010 I am back because my children thought that the celebration of my 20th wedding anniversary deserves a special treat.

Everywhere I go, I am also somehow confronted with my past. As all old man, I am reminiscing. One special place is the restaurant ‘Orazio di Caracalla’. It was here were we had – after the ceremony at the “Campidoglio” (capital hill) – our wedding lunch. The restaurant is located right at the end of the Terme di Caracalla on the way to Porta Latina. It has a splendid garden and a big car park with old trees.

Menu of ‘Ristorante Orazio’

We casually strolled in after visiting the Colosseum on a beautiful summers day with blue sky and temperatures around the mid thirties.

As with many good restaurants in Rome, little changes over the years. Interesting I also find that the waiters seem to be part of the place. So it is at Orazio. They are observant and discreet, and very friendly.

Mixed starters

On hot days, plates of antipasti are always a welcome start of a meal. Both dishes (above and below), the mixed selection of starters and the melon with ham, were just delicious.

Melon and ham

Artichokes

Although not in the “carcioffi” (artichoke) season, we could not resist ordering “Carcioffi alla Romana”. I had to go for “penne al arrabiata”, one of my favorite pasta dish.

Penne al arrabiata

The local wine we selected was, of course, a Frascati. This blend of Malvasia and Trebbiano (sometimes other white varieties are added) is ideal accompaniment of Roman food on a hot summers day.

Casalgentile is a very well known producer of the Castelli Romani. It’s ‘Agrospino Bianco’ blend has earned various awards. So have many of Pietro Mergé’s other wines.

A wine from Lazio: Frascati

Family lunch

As the photo above shows, we had a great time.

Address:
Ristorante Orazio
F.lli Valentini
Via di Porta Latina 5
Tel.: +39-6-70492401
Fax: +39-6-77207339
Closed on Tuesday