Some of my favourite dishes (and the restaurants that serve them)

I’m stuck here at home waiting for the plumber. I have no food in the fridge so naturally my thoughts turn to what I’d like to be eating right now. These are some of my favourite dishes.

1. Filetto. Scarpone.

Ristorante Lo Scarpone (‘Scarps’ to its friends) merits its own blog post. I’ll get around to that. It’s a classic Roman dining experience and has been my local for a dozen years. It’s also the first place I ever ate in Rome when I came here to study classics during university. So I have a very soft spot for Scarpone (which means ‘big shoe’). And also for the fillet steak which is always perfectly cooked: crunchy and charbroiled on the outside and meltingly tasty on the inside. OK. I have got to go find something to eat NOW!

This is one heck of a big hairy steak!

Scarpone, Via di San Pancrazio 15, Rome. 06 5814094

2. Antipasto della Casa. Costanza

OK, I’m not really sure that this is what it’s called. But if you ask for the antipasto della casa, I’m sure they will bring you the right thing: toast, mascarpone and a sort of a warm liver mousse spread. I was trained by my mother to hate liver, and I mostly do. But the three of these things together is just exceptional. The mascarpone sort of cuts the Manhattan subway station smell flavour of the liver as I think does the moussiness. It comes with some very fine fried zucchini flowers and arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with mozzarella)

Hostaria Costanza, Piazza del Paradiso 63-65, Rome. 06 686 1717

3. Moscardini. Ristorante San Giorgio.

Moscardini are baby octopi. They can taste a bit fishy but at San Giorgio they fry them and put them on a bed of wild greens (fennel, mint, arugula, and all sorts of other stuff, all wild). This is one of my favourite dishes in the world and would absolutely be on my Last Meal on Death Row Menu.

Little baby octopi, swim right into my mouth!

Ristorante San Giorgio, 6 p. Pace. Fraz. Maccarese-Fiumicino. 06 667 8060.

4. Carpaccio di Spigola. Le Mani in Pasta.

Spigola is bass and at Le Mani in Pasta they cure it, serve it raw and sliced so thin it’s nearly transparent, with a thin coat of fruity olive oil and truffles. You eat it on warm toast with curls of butter. One of the best things I have ever had in my mouth (I love toast). I’m sorry I don’t have a picture to share.

Le Mani in Pasta, Via dei Genovesi 37, Rome.  Tel 065816017

5. Cold tomato soup. Obika Mozzarella Bar.

I love tomatoes. They are my desert island food. A tomato sandwich with lots of mayo is a very very fine thing. Tomato soup reminds me of when I was little and had to stay home from school because I was sick. But the tomato soup at Obika is a far cry from Campbell’s. It’s just like eating the world’s juiciest, freshest tomato on a hot day. In soup form. A little chiffonade of basil. Some burrata (the best cheese in the world) for dunking. And some rather crudely rendered croutons. Warning: this place may not be for everyone. The location is great but the service is not and it’s pretty expensive.

OK, so it's not really a chiffonade. I just have always wanted to use that word in a sentence!

There are two locations in Rome but the nicest one is at Campo diFiori.

Obika Mozzarella Bar, Piazza Campo dei Fiori (corner Via dei Baullari). 06 68802366

Tel.: +39 06 68802366


6 responses to “Some of my favourite dishes (and the restaurants that serve them)

  1. I used to go to Lo Scarpone when I was a kid; it was my grandparents’ favorite place for the typical Italian Sunday lunch (my parents live nearby).
    I definitely need to come back – and taste the steak, maybe. 🙂

  2. And don’t forget the carciofo alla giudea. Mussels are good too. And the lamb. and and and!

  3. Ruth! You eat octopus! BABY octopus! What Henry James called ‘such flexible intensity of life in a form to inaccessible to our sympathy’!

  4. I TOTALLY forgot about the marscapone/live combo at Costanza.
    I want some now!

  5. We love Obika Mozzarella Bar…We had been to the one in Florence…We didn’t know that it’s a chain til you mentioned their 2 branches in Rome…We were not aware of this restaurant when we were in Rome back in ’08…Was it there back then? Reading your blog about Rome makes us wanna go back 🙂

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