Yesterday was the 68th Festa della Liberazione, which marks the liberation of Italy from the Germans. It’s usually celebrated by a bunch of soldiers, sailors and all of the millions of difference kinds of police forces they have here marching around in their Armani uniforms and also cycle races for some reason. The German occupation of Italy (and by extension, the German dis-occupation of Rome) is a subject of great interest to me and I’ll write about it another time. Right now I want to tell you about Boccondivino.
The Upstairs Vegetarian’s oldest friend Giulia has been collecting paintings in exotic places for many years. She’s now decided to make a little business out of her passion and she’s started to display and sell some of her paintings at a number of venues around town, among which is Boccondivino (it can be translated as either divine mouthful or mouthful of wine), a restaurant in Campo Marzio. This neighbourhood (Campo Marzio means ‘Field of Mars’ – the Roman God of War) was used for military training in ye super olde Roman times; in latter day ye olde times (the Republic and early Empire years), gyms, circuses and temples were established for regular citizens as well. Piazza Navona (aka the Stadium of Domitian) is in the middle of Campo Marzio.
Here are some of the paintings on display.
Aren’t they fantastic? There are plenty more where these came from and they are for sale.
The food was fantastic as well. But before we get to that, let me just say that Boccondivino is located in a 16th Century palazzo, which itself integrates an ancient Roman structure, including four granite columns. The restaurant is modern and cool and you can eat outside. Now on to the food!
There was an American couple sitting at the next table and they were discreetly eavesdropping as Giulia toured us around the paintings. We got to chatting and they highly recommended an appetizer, which we all ordered. Feast your eyes on this! Yes, I know it’s a terrible picture but use your imagination.
This is officially now one of my favourite things to eat in the world. Have been fantasizing about it ever since. Moving on, I had a delicious Pollo alla Romana and a gigantic plate of asparagus, which we shared around the table. Pollo alla Romana is a super traditional Roman chicken dish featuring tomatoes and red bell peppers. It’s one of my most favourite Italian dishes and, in fact, the very first thing I ever ate in a restaurant after I moved to Rome (somehow I remember that) but you only rarely see it on menus these days as Rome restaurants are tending to move away from the traditional and into the foam and dust direction.
Giulia had a delicious pasta dish with eggplant, ricotta and little tomatoes. She had a humorous and lengthy negotiation with the waiter about how she didn’t want it served with the pasta listed on the menu — something about sauce to pasta surface density ratio — but, incredibly, he forgot and she got the mezza maniche (half sleeves) anyway.
Susan had eggplant parmesan, which was lovely and light, and the Upstairs Vegetarian had a fantastic spaghetti carbonara with seafood.
For dessert, we split a taster tray of mini tiramisu, strawberry mousse and molten chocolate cake. It was, as it appears, superb.
Highly recommended, this place. It’s open everyday from 12:30-11 pm. The open all day thing is highly unusual for Rome but super handy if you get a little craving for fried artichoke and cheese fondue at teatime. Giulia’s show runs until 1 May.
Piazza Campo Marzio 6, Rome
Tel: 39 68308626