19.12.11

When in Rome...

So, what happens when two foodies choose their next travel destination? We start doing restaurant research! (Actually I do, G only approves). Anyhow, we start from Trip Advisor, Yelp, blogs from locals and expats (when we don't understand the language), etc. I love this whole research process and the discovery of special places. We don't want fancy Michelin-starred restaurants with micro portions and high prices and our worst nightmare is to end up in a McDonalds, so we focus on the places that offer good food that is part of the place's culture, and if the price is good, great!
Almost a year ago we were in Rome for a weekend and, tired of always ending up in an anonymous Trastevere trattoria offering "menu turistico" (when you see this sign, run away, fast!), after all the research we chose a tiny little restaurant in the Jewish quarter: Sora Margherita (Piazza delle Cinque Scole 30 - Roma - Tel. *+39 06 6874216* - no website). After reading in some blogs that they serve Rome's best tripe, a dish we both love, we couldn't ignore it. We called 4 days ahead and booked for dinner at 20,00 (they have two seating times (20,00 and 21,30), they are open on weekdays only for lunch and weekends for dinner.
It was a bit difficult to find the place because there's no sign outside, but we called them and they guided us to get there. The place inside is small, there's place for 40-50 people and you're literally rubbing elbows with the people in the next table. The decor is made of guides and newspaper articles (note: we normally don't do restaurants that appear on so many guide books - we feel they're too advertised and offer a fake food-experience based on what they think tourists may like - but Sora Margherita is definitely not one of those), some paintings by the owner, simple tables with paper tablecloths. The waitresses are nice, in their own way: they are busy, the place seems to be always full and they like you to eat everything in your plate, so they even yell at you - and you shouldn't think it's rude, it's just the way they are. The menu is hand written in the same paper used for the tables and it includes fried artichokes, puntarelle (roman salad with anchovy, garlic and oil dressing), fresh homemade pasta with different sauces, tripe, beef sausages, fried zucchini, broccoli, meatballs, ricotta cheese cake, etc. No wine list, so we ordered 1/2 liter of the house's wine. As a starter, we had the fried artichoke, cooked jewish-style, and the  puntarelle; both very good, the dressing of the puntarelle was delicious. As an entree we both had the trippa alla romana (tripe cooked roman-style in tomato sauce with parmesan), which probably makes it to our Top Ten of the best foods we've had in our life - simply delicious, tender, tasty, perfect portion and the atmosphere makes you think you've discovered one of those special places you keep talking about (sometimes even annoying people). But wait, we're not done yet, for dessert we shared a ricotta cheesecake with cherries, it was as italians say: "the cherry on top of the cake", very good, perfect to end this perfect dinner in the most beautiful city in the world. The bill was about 55 euro, perfectly average for Rome but a bargain for the supreme quality. The walk back to the hotel in a mild January evening with the enlightened monuments was just "another cherry on top of the cake".
entrance of Sora Margherita