Ristorante Strega @ Piazza del Viminale, Rome – guest blog by Phillip Cowan

Ciao!
After a hard afternoon of sipping various cocktails, nibbling on a multitude of Antipasti, the call comes through from my good friend Diane.. “Maybe you could guest my next food blog?”
Well, that was a challenge not to be ignored, and as I was in the food capital of the world, how could I resist??
As soon as I saw the invite the mind started racing, where, when and what shall we eat?? My immediate thoughts were Pizza or pasta, or antipasti, or cheese, or meat, or oh, who knows what! Rome really is the home of all food good!!
As we headed out to find somewhere, we were taken by the flashiness of a restaurant only two minutes from the hotel; it’s neon shining and fires glowing (a tad touristy but hey we were tourists). We couldn’t resist. The menu looked like staple Italian fare, antipasti, primo, secondi etc.. But it was a lovely spot and full of people looking well fed so we went with it.
Anyway, we were quickly seated. The dining room was tables in the road and covered by the normal restaurant style parasols but they had took it a step further, with very pretty lights draped down the sides, as well as vines covering the exposed walls, all in all a pleasant place to be!
The service was very prompt, which was impressive as the courtyard setting was full of eager diners. Aperitifs were in order, so two gin and tonics were ordered. It has to be said these arrived quite watery and flat, but hey that’s the price you pay for the Italian sun!
image
A quick look over the menu (and next doors recently delivered appetisers) led us to order what can only be described as a huge portion of fresh melon and salty ham. After a long day in the sun the sweetness of the melon was very refreshing and the saltiness of the ham combined perfectly.

Melon and ham
Melon and ham

Pleased with our selection we looked forward to the main course. First the wine arrived (my wife had ordered it but I was the one to check and approve of it!) and it was really an inspired choice. It was the most expensive bottle on the menu, but at 48 EUR it was a bargain!

The main course duly arrived, pasta carbonara for me and sea bass for her. The sea bass was served in a potato rosti, the plate came resembling a giant finely sliced waffle. The carbonara arrived sitting snugly in its own cheese basket. Both dishes looked good and we set about them with gusto! By this point the conversation from our well traveled American neighbours at the next table became so intriguing we forgot the food and listened in. Apparently Shakespeare got the story bang on about Caesar and Greece had clearly showed the best approach to economic security but had been let down by the EU. We both learned a lesson from that!

Seabass in potato rosti
Seabass in potato rosti
Pasta carbonara
Pasta carbonara

Tables cleared, the glutton that is me decided that there was enough room for dessert! And what a dessert! Tiramisu is always a favourite, but this was light, fluffy and sitting atop a lovely pool of espresso! The cream, chocolate and coffee were perfectly balanced, finished off by a real Italian espresso.

Tiramisu
Tiramisu

A perfect end to a very good “tourist” meal.

Ristorante Strega
Piazza del Viminale, 27/31
00184 Rome
Italy
 
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