After a morning of church viewing, our tummies were crying out for something to eat and after a bit of disappointment at the Mausoleum of Augustus (totally covered in overgrowth and surrounded by big fences – it was a no go), I came across a big sign/map for ‘Gusto. The Graphic Foodie had recommended the place to me via Twitter and it was on my list of possible places to eat. ‘Gusto turned out to be a complex consisting of a restaurant/pizzeria, a seafood restaurant, a wine shop, a kitchenware shop, and I’m probably leaving out a few other things too. With such a vast collection of shops, I was wondering how each would fare – we settled on the pizzeria to find out.
At lunchtime, the ‘Gusto pizzeria had a few special menus on offer – one for pizza and a drink and another for the buffet and a drink. Buffet? In Rome? I recalled my initial disbelief over some interaction on Twitter with SpiceSpoon when she said that she’d found that buffets in Rome were fresh and excellent. I took a look at the offerings and decided it was definitely worth a try – everything did look fresh and vibrant and so delicious.
There were many locals there for lunch, always a good sign, and the majority opted for the buffet. There were both hot dishes and cold salads and I sampled bits from both. Of the food on offer, I skipped the roast chicken and the polpette but had silky soft aubergine slices topped with crispy breadcrumbs, sliced rare beef with a balsamic reduction and pine nuts, whole grilled prawns, roasted tomatoes filled with risotto. Fresh mozzarella knots, thickly sliced juicy tomatoes, grilled aubergine slices, grilled courgette slices, cooked spinach, and my favourite, the spinach braised with garlic and peperoncino.
As is usual with buffets, you’re welcome to go and refill your plate! I was craving vegetables and everything was amazingly fresh and simple yet tasty. If there’s one thing I learned on this trip, it’s just how simply Italians cook their food and overall, it’s the quality of the ingredients that counts. As for carbs, the bread basket on our table provided enough for me – my favourite was the crispy sheets of baked pizza dough.
Blai had a pizza, which turned out to be Neapolitan style with a soft, chewy, puffy crust. It was as delicious as it was beautiful but of course, I have no idea what the best is, not having been to Naples!
The bill for our lunch was only €20 altogether. If you’re in Rome but are unable to get yourself to this part of the city, it seems that there are a number of places offering a buffet at lunchtime and I’d recommend trying one.
‘Gusto – Pizzeria
Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 9
00186 Rome, Italy