L’Arcangelo is the polished Prati restaurant where chef Arcangelo Dardini built his name before putting it on the excellent street food outposts Supplizio and Ora da Re. I feel like I’m only now starting to understand L’Arcangelo after five visits over a decade. For a restaurant that has been so heavily covered by foreign press, I’m delighted to conclude that it’s getting significantly better with age.
Coming into Pipero Roma from the clamorous Corso Vittorio Emanuele II in central Rome is like stepping into another world – a quietly masculine space of tailored suits and, one imagines, important deals being struck at the well-spaced tables. The sobriety of this first impression is almost immediately countered by the effervescent energy of Alessandro Pipero, consummate host to Rome’s power elite.
If you’re lucky enough to sit in the main dining room (request this upon booking), you’ll be surrounded by reproductions from master painters. They’ve all been slightly edited, and are at once both recognizable and askew, foreshadowing the food to come.
There’s a lot to love about Giulia, a new restaurant on the prettiest street in central Rome. The service is lovely. It’s open every day, accepts online reservations, and is right in the middle of where you want to be. They have a young chef, Pierluigi Gallo, who’s just bursting with ideas. It’s not terribly expensive, and there are vegetarian options for every course.
Because Giulia ticks so many boxes, I’m sure to recommend it often. It’s important to note, however, that Pierluigi Gallo isn’t just striving to make a serviceable restaurant, he’s trying to grab a much loftier gastronomic brass ring. He sometimes misses, and usually because he’s attempted too much.
Earlier this week I was reflecting, while tasting vignarola at a more vintage trattoria, upon the widespread torture of vegetables taking place in kitchens across Rome. The classic preparation of spring asparagus, artichokes, fava beans and peas renders these greenest of vegetables into a soft and oily pile of khaki. There’s still pleasure to be found, especially when cubes of guanciale are tossed into the mix, but I’ve often wondered how much better vignarola could be if it were prepared with a lighter touch.
Last night, Trattoria Pennestri provided an answer to this (it’s better!) and to another recurring question – what’s new in Rome?
Most people arrive at Roscioli with high expectations. It’s one of the most consistently and lovingly reviewed restaurants in Rome. It’s also a place that disappoints some people. Why? Because they’ve understood it to be a restaurant, when in reality it’s a shop selling exceptional cheese and salumi – one that invites you to sit down and enjoy these with some wine and perhaps a plate of very good pasta. Cheese, salumi, wine and pasta… isn’t that why you came to Rome?