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Franco's favourite ... Roman food & restaurants

Franco's favourite ... Roman food & restaurants

Old Mar 17th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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Lowcountryislander, excuse me for violating our first-come first-served rule
First of all, I'm really happy that some of you seem to have followed, and even enjoyed, the in-depth discussions of Italian food that I've had with ekscrunchy and Eloise (and very few others) - we actually thought to be all alone in the whole wide world (web)... but nevertheless, we immensely enjoyed it.
Second, I don't simply know whether Angelo would close for Christmas... never been in Rome at that time of the year, sorry. But Angelo's telephone number is above; if you want to know ahead, just begin with the international prefix for Italy, and DO NOT omit the initial zero of the Italian number.
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 02:39 PM
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Thanks Franco!

I did copy the phone number for Angelo into my Rome Travel notes document that will come with me on my trip. I'll call prior to going to find out if they will be open! I can't wait...Christmas in Rome!
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Old Mar 17th, 2007, 10:36 PM
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Franco (and other fodorites),

I would love to hear if you have any recommendations for restaurants in Rome with at least one vegetarian main dish on the menu?

Thanks!
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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Tough question... there will certainly be vegetarian restaurants in a city as big as Rome, but I don't know them (vegetarian restaurants are not what I'm looking for - though I think vegetarian dishes can be delicious, I prefer to eat them in non-vegetarian restaurants... the kitchen quality is normally just superior, and the one and only really excellent, great vegetarian cook that I've ever known has abandoned vegetarianism over the years, and transformed his once famous vegetarian restaurant into a "normal" place...).
And speaking of non-vegetarian restaurants, the Roman cuisine is, as you are obviously already understanding, not very strong on vegetarian dishes, and if by "main dish" (which doesn't exist in Italy), you're meaning a secondo, it's going to be difficult - primi are more often vegetarian, at least, one of Rome's best primi is: tonnarelli cacio e pepe (one of Angelo's specialties). As for secondi, it may prove easier to substitute an antipasto (maybe a larger helping, this is negotiable in Italy) for the secondo - this is not unusual, you can always and everywhere order an antipasto for secondo piatto. And antipasti are very often vegetarian - in Rome, especially the famous artichoke antipasti (see ekscrunchy's January Rome food report). Or maybe, ek, are you around? Can you perhaps help with restaurants where vegetarians might be happy?
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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The most well known vegetarian restaurant in Rome is Margutta, on Via Margutta near the Spanish Steps. There are also several Insalatta Riccas scattered throughout the city that offer a variety of fresh salads and other light meals.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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I think Trattoria Monti would be excellent for a vegetarian. Besides the much-lauded onion budino/flan, they had several tempting looking vegetable dishes on the menu. We ordered the eggplant Parmigiano (not sure if it is billed that way on the menu but it is something close; see my food repoprt for more details on this and on the restaurant) and it was one of the best renditions I've tasted. Served in an individual gratin dish and nicely charred on the top.

You can check out Obika "mozzarella bar" for salads and cheese-centered plates; they are open all day from 8am until midnight; not far from the Pantheon:


http://www.obika.it/it/roma.html
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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Thank you both! Yes, the red onion flan, I remember. And ek, you had a grilled cheese as well someplace, a scamorza, right? Keiracaitlyn, just study ek's report carefully, I guess you'll find some more suggestions there.
I have a strange relation to vegetarian cooking - it's simply insignificant for me whether a dish is vegetarian or not, insignificant to the degree of not even realizing "oh, this is actually vegetarian". In fact, about 50 percent of what I'm cooking at home IS vegetarian, but I'm never giving it a thought, not even for a second - I'm deciding what to eat with regard to taste, nothing else. If what appeals me is vegetarian, ok, but I'd only realize it if somebody would specifically point it out to me. On the other hand, adding some ham or beef broth to a (once) vegetarian dish is no issue for me, if it's needed to enhance the flavour, and again, I wouldn't realize that I've "spoiled" that vegetarian dish (in fact, on the opposite, I've enhanced it). Ok, nobody asked for this explanation, but nevertheless, I wanted to explain why the "vegetarian" question was actually tough for me.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 07:58 AM
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If I were a vegetarian, I'd head to the Ghetto area and order artichokes prepared a variety of ways. Those things are almost enough to turn this committed meat eater into a vegetarian!!
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Yes yes..the grilled scamorza and the farro at Armando's would be excellent choices. You would have to ask them if there is meat/chicken in the farro broth but I would doubt it. And their artichoke alla Romana was the best I had on my last trip. You could make a great meal out of those 3 dishes.

Armando al Pantheon..
http://www.armandoalpantheon.it/menu.php

You need to reserve; it is not a large place and is quite popular.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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And you could try the vignarola if in season!!
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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Dear Franco, A "prankster" after my own heart! I definitely will feed my sister the pajata and tell her about the "little meatballs". However, I cannot order the bulls testicles because we are of italian descent and she knows the word coglionis. Any other suggestions? The restaurant of choice will definitely be Checchino. I can't wait to report on what she does. Can you picture this? She told me she doesn't drink wine! So, I will have to be stuck ordering wine by the glass while she orders blue hawaii's or some other tacky drink. But she is my sister (although maybe she was switched at birth or something) and I love her, so I will continue to enjoy the finer things in life while she is content with spaghetti and meatballs! She even asked me what gelato was! What will I do with her? She lives in the greatest food capital of the world too (New York).
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 05:14 PM
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p.s. I think maybe my sister and "indecisive"'s husband should dine together! haha
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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I think I am alone in this discussion at the moment, as I am on the other side of the world and everyone must be sleeping. I did want to comment on the oxtail with the cloves. It sounds like the recipe may have originated in the south of Italy.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 05:27 PM
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Hello koreaprincess, no, you're not alone!! A dinner for indecisive's husband and your husband is a brillant idea (pizza?). No, seriously, while eaters of that kind can be stressful for the people around them, we have first of all to feel sorry for them - they are missing SO MUCH in their lives, seriously.
I don't know anything about the bue garofolato, only that I want to have it!! It should be "at home" in Rome, too, though, or Checchino would hardly prepare it.
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 03:18 AM
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Yes, Franco, we must feel sorry for them. Wonderful food is such a joy! Did you ever see a movie called "The Big Night"? It was about two brothers who move to New Jersey from Italy and the one is a gourmet and opens a restaurant with very little business, while the guy who serves pizza and spaghetti and meatballs makes money. At the end they prepare a huge feast! Well they served something called "timpano" which I had never heard of. I did research at the library and searched very old italian cookbooks and came up with my own version. It was a lovely mixture of pasta and vegetables and squab encased in a beautiful crust. I served it to a party of chefs and they all loved it. I lost the recipe unfortunately and was never able to duplicate my "masterpiece". I wonder if it is served anywhere in Italy?
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 04:18 AM
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Princess, I have a feeling that that dish is from the Naples region. You might try to find it in Arthur Schwartz' cookbook, Naples at Table; not sure if he has a recipe but the book is good:

http://www.amazon.com/Naples-at-Tabl...637&sr=8-1

Thank goodness there are a few pranksters in the world! I need to drag your sister around with me and set her straight!
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 06:19 AM
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Princess:

What do you think? Your sister may rethink her sensibilities when she sees the finished product:

http://www.starchefs.com/ASchwartz/timballo.html
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 06:49 AM
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I haven't much to add to ek's wonderful, prompt recipe service - I just want to say that there are many recipes for timballi/timpani, that they are all south Italian (Campanian and Sicilian) and that my favourite is a Neapolitan timballo per la domenica delle palme (i.e. for Palm Sunday), with fish rather than meat. It's one of the greatest recipes I know, but: it is Neapolitan, and this thread is on Roman food, and I'm going to be rigorous with myself and won't post it here - it's enough that I'm leading everybody else's threads off-topic
But if anybody happens to want the recipe, or even if not: maybe we should open a new thread "Italian cooking class", for all the Italian food-related questions that we are currently scattering over so many threads... ok, Rome and Venice excluded, they have firm enough places here and on "favourite Venetian food". But for the rest of the country? ek, princess, what do you think?
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 06:55 AM
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>>from the aristocratic Monzu tradition<< (from the article linked above)

This is actually Sicilian rather than Neapolitan, although both were, of course, part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

The "monsieur", "monzu" in dialect, was originally a French chef imported by the Sicilian aristocracy. Most of the later ones were locally born, but they continued the monzu's style of conspicuous consumption.

This is getting pretty far from Roman food...
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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Yes, actually, far from Roman food - interesting enough, though. Hence my call for opinions:
Shall we open an "Italian cooking class"? Or a "Cooking class - the small rest of Italy (w/o Rome & Venice)"?
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