Saturday, October 11, 2014

When in Rome try Eating in the Monti District

Hotel View
We arrived to our Boscolo Exedra Roma Hotel at 8pm on a Sunday and wanted to find a place to eat. We went down to the concierge and asked for help.  I know better than to do this but we were tired and hungry.  We are looking for something close that has good quality food.  We ended up with a reliable but mediocre restaurant.  After a day of exploring we found a great area called the Monti District we asked our concierge what would you recommend in the Monti District that is contemporary and has great food they recommended Urbana 47.
Egg Plan Urbana 47

Urbana 47 is on Via Urbana, a street that is devoted to feeding and providing services to young Romans living in the district  There are little boutiques, antique stores several nice restaurants, grocery and hardware stores and very few cars.  Urbana 47 could be located in many of the new urban renewal areas that are popping up in the US, it has that hipster country look with a general store feeling.  We were the only Americans in there and we felt like we had hit on a winner.I had the Eggplant Parmigiana, Joann had the Caprese Salad.  The highlight of the meal was the Eggplant Parmigiana I am not sure what was topping it but it was almost like deep fried corn silk and it added a great texture to the very savory taste.  A Caprese salad is very simple and really is hard to differentiate but in this case the use of the different color tomatoes really made this dish pop.  We finished off our meals with Pasta, I had the Porcini stuffed Ravioli's and JoAnn had Spaghetti in brown butter, basil and garlic. Both dishes were tasty and the Pasta was perfectly done.  We needed a restaurant for the next day so we asked our server for a recommendation.  She went to one of the locals who recommended Trattoria Monti.
Trattoria Monti

Suckling Pig
Trattoria Monti was a 20 minute walk from the hotel and on the way it started to sprinkle and of course no umbrella.  Out of nowhere a street vendor popped up and made a sale after a bit of negotiation with JoAnn it came to $5. Trattoria Monti is a small warm contemporary Italian Trattoria.  The Kitchen pass is viewable from every table so you can get a show of the action.  I started with a Tortello stuffed with Ricotta and an Egg Yolk, first time I had this Michael Tusk cooked it for me in Santa Fe and then at his Restaurant Cotogna in San Francisco.  After cutting into the Ravioli the dark golden yolk poured out like a syrup, the color of the yolk is created by the Chicken only eating either Corn or Carrots, In this case it was corn so it was less orange.  This dish was very tasty and started the evening out perfectly.  JoAnn had a Pumpkin Soup which looked great but really lacked the additional seasoning that you would normally get it was a non cream pumpkin soup plain and simple.
Egg Yolk Tortello
For the Secondi I had the Roasted Suckling Pig Leg, it was tender with a crispy skin and the pork taste was perfect you could tell this was not from one of those large processing farms.  The dish came with potatoes that had been roasted with the Pig and a sprig or Rosemary.  JoAnn had the Rigate Carbonerra that was simple and perfectly cooked.  This is a restaurant that I would highly recommend.  After the meal I went to meet the chef and told her about my experiences with the egg yolk and the ravioli and how much I enjoyed it.
Great Vegetarian Pizza
For our last night I went to a place that I have been to many times in NYC, Eataly.  Eataly is an Italian high end grocery store founded by Oscar Farinetti a high tech entrepreneur in 2007.  The store in NYC are Owned by Mario Batali, Joe and his mother Lidia Bastianich.  this store was on the out skirts of Rome and required a 10 minute Metro ride and a 15 minute walk.  The store is very modern, multilevel and has great restaurants as you can imagine.

Rigate Carbonera
Since we were in Italy I went with the Pasta and Pizza restaurant followed by a Gelato.  I ordered a Rigatoni which had a great savory Ragu and perfectly cooked pasta.  The Ragu gave you that warm sitting by the fire feeling.  JoAnn had the Vegetable Pizza with Peppers, Aubergine and Mushrooms on a base of olive oil and Ricotta.  The Pizza in Italy is lighter with a perfectly cooked crust.  There are none of the multiple meat lover versions here.  Overall this was fun to come to and we had a great dinner.