Because I am lazy, any restaurant gets an automatic 20 points if it is located less than 10 minutes from my house. If I can get there by walking, all the better. So I was excited to stumble across the Osteria Pistoia some time back. It’s exactly 10 minutes away by foot – just in back of the San Giovanni di Dio market. When I peeked inside, it was clean and well-lighted, had an interesting menu and seemed to be very popular.
I’ve been there twice now and I can recommend Osteria Pistoia highly. Alessandro Pistoia is the inventive chef (he just opened a second place on the Via Flaminia). The ingredients are locally sourced whenever possibly. The menu – including a dizzying array of specials – is written on big blackboards lining the restaurant walls (you can also find the menu on the website).
The squid-y things left me cold–I’m not a big fan. But there was also a scallop sandwich stuffed with a tiny shrimp and accompanied by powdered licorice and homemade mayonnaise. Sounds weird I know. But it was really good. I love scallops and they’re not easy to find here. There were also a couple of dollops of bright green goop that turned out to be pea pesto. It haunts my dreams and I’ve been trying to recreate the recipe ever since.
The first time I went, I had pork for my main course and the second, game hen, which had been marinated for 24 hours. The pork was succulent, with crunchy garlicky potatoes. It also appears to have been imported from Spain. So much for local (not that I care that much, frankly – don’t hate me).
This is a bit of a special occasion place and you must book in advance. If you go all out – soup to nuts – you could spend 90 Euros for two. The second time I went, we dined more modestly (only 2 courses and no dessert) and we got away with paying 30 Euros each. The seats are very close together bistro style and that won’t be to everyone’s liking. But so good. So so good.
Osteria Pistoia, Piazza Madonna delle Salette, 13-14, Rome, Italy. Tel: 06.58203381