One of the perks of working in the food sector (apart from the blatantly obvious) is being invited to an industry event. And last night it was a special one.
I’d read many reviews of Cesare al Casaletto– a roman trattoria in the neighbourhood of Monte Verde – so when the lovely Nerina Di Nunzio of Food Confidential invited me to the launch of I Cento di Roma (Top 100 Rome Eateries), I jumped at the opportunity.
I Cento di Roma hits bookshelves nationally this week and is a new dining guide featuring the top 100 places to eat in the eternal city. Namely, 45 mid-to-fine dining restaurants, 45 trattorie and casual food outlets and 10 ethnic restaurants.
While the guide is not new to Italian foodies with Turin, Milan, Florence and Genoa installments produced a while back, this is the first Rome edition. It has been curated (with the support of a number of expert contributors) by Stefano Cavallito, Alessandro Lamacchia and Luca Iaccarino who together boast a series of industry accolades and bring to the table (excuse the pun) a wealth of experience that combines restaurant reviews for national newspaper La Reppublica, L’Espresso media group and Slow Food guides among others. So to say it’s well researched and informed is an understatement.
And so with great fanfare, it was launched last night at Cesare’s – who took the prized number 1 spot in the trattorie category – with an aperitivo featuring some signature dishes of chef Leonardo Vignoli.
With my wine glass in hand (topped continuously with prosecco) I feasted on fior di zucca (fried zucchini flowers stuffed with anchovy and mozzarella), polpette di melanzane and polpette di bollito con pesto (eggplant croquettes and reboiled meatballs – that taste nothing like leftovers!) and various pizza including focaccia stuffed with mortadella and pizza bianca. It left me wanting for more and I will be back to Cesare’s as soon as possible.
Classic quinto quarto (offal) was also on offer including coratella (lamb’s interiors) and trippa alla romana (tripe) which I tried for the first time (ok so I’m fairly food adventurous but interiors generally aren’t my thing. It was nice but I didn’t rush back for more!)
Grappa, biscotti and toffeed nuts just about got me over the edge. All in all, lots of prosecco, great food and a positive energy – not much more you can ask of a Tuesday night in the city!
The guide, affordable at €9.90 is a useful handbook for anyone visiting or living in Rome and is available in bookshops and in edicola (newstands). I have been to 24 out of the 100, so it would seem I still have my work cut out.
Signing off from Trastevere