I hadn’t seen my friend Jane for some time and we had a lot of catching up to do. So we had dinner the other night at a new restaurant in Trastevere – Cozze & Dintorni. That translates as Mussels and Thereabouts. Jane had described it as weird but good. Weird because its menu is heavily focused on mussels. The name was a tip-off. But here’s the thing. Jane is massively allergic to shellfish, mussels included. So what’s weirder? That there’s a mussel-centric restaurant in Trastevere or that someone who becomes violently ill at the site of mussels chooses to eat there over and over again?
There are other things on the menu of course. But there are lots of mussels cooked in lots of different ways. The classic recipe involves steaming the mussels in white wine with garlic and tomatoes. That’s available as are mussels with asparagus, mussels with pesto, mussels with mushrooms, mussels with beans and fennel, and a host of other preparations too numerous to remember. I opted – with some trepidation because it sounded like it could be a bit gross – for the mussels with pesto. Jane ordered octopus salad.
First they brought out a little amuse bouche. I love it when they do that! It was some sort of fishy mousse on a bit of bread. Okay but nothing special.
Then out came the mussels! As it turns out, my trepidation was unfounded. The mussels were great. Caught that day . The pesto was not a heavy sauce but just a light broth flecked with basil.
Jane’s octopus salad was good too, though I’m not a huge fan of octopi (except for this guy).
Next, we both had salmon with my beloved little tomatoes, pine nuts, golden raisins and olives. I always forget that I don’t love salmon until after I’ve ordered it. Too many bones. But the taste was great and, again, very fresh.
Cozze & Dintorni has many specials and is pretty reasonably priced. You can get an antipasto, pasta and main course plus water for just 25 Euros. The (Dutch) waitress is very friendly and speaks perfect English.
Cozze & Dintorni, Via Natale del Grande 52/53, Rome, Italy. tel: 06 5817281 – 334 1721775