I was speaking recently with an Italian friend and the subject of food came up. As it inevitably does. This friend lives fairly close to me and we frequently swap stories about the awesomeness of restaurants in Monteverde. This time she had something else in mind: a spot she had recently tried and loved in Fiumicino.
Most of you know Fiumicino as the location of Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport. As well as hosting the airport, Fiumicino is also a fishing center and resort on the Tyrrhenian Sea coast. The town started out life as a fishing village and it still has that feel. A pretty little canal runs through the town centre and there are lots of boats and fishermen plying their wares. There are also lots of fish restaurants and the guaranteed freshness of the ingredients makes them a popular Sunday lunch destination for Romans.
The restaurant my friend suggested is called Docking 9. It’s located in a marina which is why docking. But since she doesn’t speak English and doesn’t know what docking means, she wrote it down for me as ‘Doc King 9.’ This led to all sorts of amusing conjectures — before we got there and saw the marina — as to what the name might mean. Was the restaurant co-owned by a doctor and a king? Was it owned by a doctor who is a king? And what’s the significance of the number 9? Does it refer to the 9 Muses? Dante’s 9 circles of hell? Some Middle Earth-type thing? (Actually, it’s the street number for the restaurant. How disappointing).
The restaurant, however, was not disappointing at all. As noted, it is located in a little marina on the banks of the river. Yachts abound there. Ooh, I just went onto their web site and learned that it’s possible to enjoy your meal on a luxury yacht. Now, I wonder how that works? Does the restaurant own a bunch of yachts for people to eat on or do they sneak diners onto other people’s yachts when the owners aren’t around? Sort of like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears for the modern age. Must investigate.
I started with the mixed seafood antipasto. They brought me eight plates of yummy things: the perfect shrimp topped with one bite of potato salad; a ‘meatball’ made with tuna and eggplant; fried calamari topped with pickled red onion; golden fried scabbard fish in a green tomato-Tropean onion concasse; polenta with poppy seeds and a sauce of octopus and smoked cheese (so, that whole Italian insistence on never mixing cheese and fish seems to have gone out the window in recent years. As for me, I would never have survived grad school without the tuna melt); smoked salmon wrapped around heavily be-herbed cream cheese (or Pheeeladelphia as they call it here); other stuff I don’t remember. It was all wonderful: inventive, delicious and, of course, super fresh. The Upstairs Vegetarian ate half but there was still plenty for me to enjoy (and that was the small portion!).
After lunch, we walked along a very un-lovely stretch of sea dotted with old fishing houses from the 1950s and 60s. They are all equipped with gigantic nets that the fishermen raise and lower using some sort of motor. So, house and fishing boat rolled into one. That is pretty smart and cool.
Via Monte Cadria, 9
00054 Isola Sacra – Fiumicino. Tel: 340 5280072