I saved La Matricianella for our last dinner in Rome. Yes, the name of the restaurant does bear a striking similarity to the restaurant where we ate our first dinner in Rome but this is just coincidence! La Matricianella is located more centrally and according to this article by the New York Times, is recommended by locals. We didn’t book (though it is recommended) but walked up just as it was opening at 7:30 in the evening. We were sat at one of the last available tables by a grumpy host/waiter who looked like he’d just rolled out of bed; they started turning people away soon after. So, I’d really recommend booking!
The place gets seriously busy and is a good mix of both locals and tourists. And like all the other Roman trattorias I’d eaten in, the tables were packed tightly together. This resulted in our waiter being unable to actually walk up to our table and he had to hand us our dishes with outstretched arms! All along the walls are framed reviews of the restaurant from both local and international publications.
How about another plate of fried to start with? We split this platter of fritto misto consisting of artichokes, cauliflower, potato croquette, and mozzarella chunks all in batter. We never ate a single dud fried item in Rome; everything was gorgeous.
Because we obviously didn’t have enough artichokes on this trip, we ordered the tonnarelli with artichokes as our pasta course, to split. Turns out tonnarelli is a fresh long pasta with a square cross-section. It was delicious with a very simple sauce of olive oil, garlic, and the fresh artichokes. I also detected just a tiny hint of pepperoncino.
To follow, polpettine, rucola e tartufo – light meatballs in a rich dark sauce with rocket leaves and shaved black truffles…
… and arrosto di vitalla – roast veal with roast potatoes.
The meatballs were ethereally light but still very rich – plenty of breadcrumbs and cheese in there! And plenty of peppery rocket and earthy black truffle to balance the richness. The veal was well roasted with a lovely light gravy. The potatoes were tinged with a hint of rosemary and though they could have been a bit crispier, they were fine specimens.
Along with a bottle of water and the bread basket, the meal came to a total of €56 (the initially grumpy host/waiter turned on all the charm when bringing us our bill!) . Not bad for enough food for us to feel a little uncomfortable afterwards.
Did you notice that we didn’t have dessert? For some reason, nothing on the dessert menu looked interesting to me (I’m guessing that the uncomfortableness had a role in this). We ended up walking round the block and suddenly the need for a gelato arose. We went into Ciampini (just around the corner from the La Matricianella) and bought a cupful of pistacchio and marrons glace gelati. Lovely chunks of candied chestnut in the latter and the former was the best pistacchio gelato we’d tasted in Rome. And that was dessert sorted.
Ristorante la Matricianella
Via del Leone, 4
And that rounds up my Rome posts! Thank you again to everyone who gave us recommendations for places to eat – I’m just sorry that we didn’t have enough time to visit all of them (I suspect I would have needed lunches and dinners for a month to cover the whole list!). All my photos from Rome (and the Vatican City) can be found in this Flickr photostream.