L’Osteria di Monteverde is a fun place. It feels like a neighborhood joint, with walls covered by old maps and album covers, and with a psychotic Ghostface mask waiting to welcome you in the bathroom. Although it was highlighted in a New York Times article about what to do with 36 Hours in Rome, the tables are filled with young Romans, most of them from the neighborhood.
The menu is also fun, and features some modern riffs on classic trattoria fare. Their version of bollito includes a small scoop of anchovy ice cream. Spaghetti with sea urchin (delicious) is dusted with coffee. Some of their dishes go much, much farther. Their most surprising offering is a savory dessert of fried brain with ginger, fennel and Fernet.
I want to like it more than I do. I’ve realized after two visits that what I really like is the atmosphere. It’s good to get out of the center, to be surrounded by Romans instead of tourists, and see how young chefs are pushing the boundaries of the city’s tradition-bound cuisine.
However, poor execution has resulted in defeat for many of the kitchen’s best ideas. The aforementioned bollito was so heavily toasted that certain bites had the texture of shoe leather. More recently, a dish of petto di Anatra, verze e datteri featured duck so over-cooked that it had started to turn grey. The thick breading on the dessert brain had the texture of soft, wet granola. I found that more disconcerting than the bloody veins.
On the bright side, it’s not very expensive. Primi dishes range from 9-14€ and mains are around 15€. There’s a dedicated section of the menu with four vegetarian dishes to choose from. Service is friendly, and they’re open every day. But is it worth heading to Monteverde for this Osteria? From what I’ve seen, I’m not convinced that this kitchen has the technical skill needed to execute their wacky ideas. You’ll find a greater rate of success and a more enjoyable experience at Epiro, Giulia or Retrobottega.
L’Osteria di Monteverde in pictures
Photos by Meg Zimbeck © Rome by Mouth
What people are saying
- Gambero Rosso (2018) has awarded L’Osteria di Monteverde with 1 Fork and a numerical rating of 78 in 2018, 77 in 2017, 76 in 2016, 75 in 2015 (improving).
- “Roma nel Piatto” by La Pecora Nera gave them a score of 7 out of 10 points (“good, very good”) in 2018 and 7+ points in 2017.
- I Cento (2018) includes them among their favorite 50 “Pop” or informal addresses in Rome.
- The New York Times (2015) features L’Osteria di Monteverde in their article about what to do in 36 Hours in Rome, calling it “a casual restaurant whose unremarkable exterior gives no hint of the outstanding food served inside.”
- Puntarella Rossa (2014) gently brags about being one of the first to rave about this restaurant from Fabio Tenderini and Roberto Campitelli, naming it one of the best in the capital for quality, atmosphere and price.
- Luciano Pignatero (2014) says that L’Osteria di Monteverde is unbeatable for quality and price and recommends taking a taxi to get there because parking is a nightmare. Once there, he says you’ll be amazed by the ideas from this young chef and compares this place to Le Chateaubriand in Paris.