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Loved Antico Arco - Rome

  • WineAG Jul 11, 2009 07:59 AM
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I dined at Antico Arco a couple of weeks ago. For serious foodies looking for a modern, sophisticated take on Roman cuisine this is a fantastic place to visit. I highly recommend it. Everything was perfectly cooked, beautifully presented. Highlights included the Castelmagno risotto in a Nebbiolo sauce, Mancini small macaroni with amatriciana sauce, a rustic style veal chop, but all was great. This place is on the expensive side but well worth it for what they do. The atmosphere is upscale yet casual... I think the photos on their web site look more formal and somewhat intimidating than the place actually is. Serious Italian wine list as well. The staff did fine with our speaking English. If I lived in Roma this would be a regular haunt. Also, I like the mainl level dining rooms rather than the one that's upstairs.

www.anticoarco.it

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  1. Ditto. I was there in May, and still dreaming about the risotto. After or before dinner, the view at Piazza Garibaldi is amazing.

    1. Approximately how much did the meal cost, if you don't mind my asking. Thanks.

      4 Replies
      1. re: comiendosiempre

        2 appetizers, 2 entrees, no dessert, 2 dessert wine, 1 franciacorta, it was about 150 euro.

        1. re: comiendosiempre

          Just pulled out the bill... they lump everything together (ie. 4 Primi 65 euro)... so approx:

          Apps: 16 euro
          Entrees: 31 euro
          Dessert: 11 euro

          Also, remember that above prices include VAT and tip...

          I had a nice bottle of 2001 D'Alessandro Syrah Cortona Il Bosco for 43.50 euro... excellent and fairly priced wine list. Didn't pay attention fo the wine bar concept in the front... the wine bar seems to have some outdoor seating... would imagine they have a nice wine by the glass program.

          1. re: WineAG

            Thanks for the post - I am excited to try the restaurant! However, I am a little confused about the pricing: are you saying that both of your appetizers were 16 euro combined...? And what do you mean by "4 Primi 65 euro"?

            1. re: hong_kong_foodie

              "4 primi 65 Euro" means four pasta/rice dishes for 65 Euro or about 16 Euro each. A pasta dish is not an "app" in Italy; it's a first course. An antipasto would be an "app".

        2. The restaurant looks very interesting on the website and has gotten great feedback. We will put it on our list. (It is walkable from Trastavere if we meander around there first in the evening? Just up a hill?) It seems pricing is about equal to what a top flight NYC Italian spot would be, with pastas in the $20 US range or so. And, unfortunately, main courses north of $30 US are found often too. We generally go heavier on the pastas, then main dishes of meat and such, and thus maybe we can get out a bit more cheaply . . . . , perhaps.
          Thanks.

          1 Reply
          1. re: comiendosiempre

            It is about a 20 min walk up the hill (part winding road, part stairs) from Trastevere. The view is nice, and would be a nice walk on a good day.

          2. I was hoping there would be a thread on here about this fabulous restaurant!

            I visited Antico Arco about 2 years ago now and to this day it is one of the most memorable dining experiences I have had yet.

            Everything from the food to the wine was exceptional and I still use my version of their compote for cheeses to this day (everyone asks where I came up with the idea!). THe service was what topped the meal off. We had the most adorable little server. He was so friendly and gave excellent advice and we will never forget him :)

            Thanks to Antico Arco! I hope to return and know I will the second I am in Rome again. A must if you are heading there!

            17 Replies
            1. re: Foodie149

              Hi everyone,

              Antico Arco just sent me the following menu for € 70,00 per person:

              - Crispy buffalo mozzarella, grey mullet dried eggs and confit tomato
              - Asparagus and baby squid salad with dried tomato sauce
              - Risotto with crab and candied lemon peel
              - Small macaroni with amatriciana sauce
              - Crispy suckling pig in a sweet & sour sauce, fennel and citrus soufflè
              - Selection of cheese and compotes
              - Your own choice dessert

              This seems really pricey, but I guess it's a really decadent meal where you can try all of their signature dishes. However, we're going to be a group of 6-8 adults so would we be able to sample the same dishes and more while lowering the cost if we ordered a la carte?

              Finally, are there tax and service charge in Rome? No one in the group drinks, so I guess the cost of food would be the total cost if there are no additional charges.

              Thanks in advance!

              1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                The price doee not seem excessive to me (you can, of course, eat much less expensively at a trattoria, but Antico Arco is not a trattoria); reducing the number of courses per person and sharing discreetly among 6-8 people would likely reduce the price.

                Taxes and service charges are included; tipping in addition to the service charge is optional. Italians tend not to tip or to tip relatively little; visitors tend to overtip.

                1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                  If you're going to Antico Arco I would highly recommend the tasting menu they proposed. It looks fantastic and is not pricey for this place. A "traditional" menu there would be bit lower per head but you wouldn't have as many courses. If you wanted those items (not sharing ) it would cost more than the tasting.

                  The benefit of the tasting is that they will give you a smaller portion of more things. I found the portion sizes of the regular offerings to be too large anyway... the tasting size I would think would be more appropriate to my liking... and don't feel it would be small by any means. Passing/ tasting dishes with 6-8 people may be a bit awkward and somewhat of a hassle as well.

                  The tasting seems like the way to go!

                  1. re: WineAG

                    Makes sense. But I would imagine a group of 6-8 would actually be able to sample more dishes (i.e. everything on the tasting menu + a lot more) if we ordered a la carte and shared. Then again, I'm not familiar with the culture and customs so want to make sure we don't do anything embarassing. Is passing dishes around considered bad etiquette?

                    1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                      Passing dishes around is not done; when I suggested "discreet sharing" I meant something along the lines of tasting a forkful of one's neighbor's dish, not passing a dish across the table to another diner. There is an accepted way to share, and that is to order "uno per due", i.e., one dish for two people. The full order comes from the kitchen plated for two. This would allow six people to share three instead of the two dishes suggested in the degustazione menu. It would, however, be considered unusual and possibly frowned upon if each and every course in a meal were ordered "uno per due", and it might not even be possible for all courses.

                      1. re: zerlina

                        Thanks everyone for the input. It sounds like getting the tasting menu is the way to go, and I'll also look into substituting the risotto with nebbiolo sauce.

                        By the way, would it be poorly received if we opted out on the cheese course and asked for another savory dish in place of it?

                        1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                          You can opt out of the cheese course, and if you do it ahead of time, they will likely reduce the menu price, but you can't have it replaced. An Italian meal follows an orderly progression: appetizer, first course (soup or pasta/rice), second course (meat/fish), cheese course, dessert. There is nothing savory that they could serve you after the second course.

                          1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                            You'll be there in August. Most probably they offered you the risotto with crab & lemon bcs. it is lighter and more seasonal than the heavy nebbiolo & cheese version. Stick with their proposal.

                            1. re: AstridR69

                              Agreed. These guys know what they're doing. Don't try to "overthink" the menu. If you go, just order the tasting menu, relax, and have a great time.

                              1. re: WineAG

                                Thank you everyone for all the feedback. We will ask politely to opt out of the cheese course and stick to the risotto with crab and lemon. However, one member of our group is allergic to crab - would the restaurant be able to change the course at least for this person if I let them know in advance?

                                We are so excited!

                                1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                  Definitely let them now ahead of time that one person is allergic to crab and if they could please substitute the risotto for him/her - any restaurant will do its best in those circumstances.
                                  Is there a dietary reason you don't want to have the cheese course? If not, I really suggest taking it. If you really all can't / won't eat cheese (though you are aware there is more cheese before this course?) again, do let them know this beforehand and but don't ask for a substitute. I am 100% sure Antico Arco will come up with a nice little surprise somewhere else in the menu.

                        2. re: hong_kong_foodie

                          my husband and I share and swap dishes. when in italy I think it depends on what kind of meal you want to have. If you do the tasting menu, the dishes will be served out to you one by one in a leisurely way. If you decided to share you may be able to get them to divide the dishes for each course onto your plates or you may need to swap plates around - . it may not feel quite as elegant Personally I would cut cost by skipping the dessert and perhaps even the cheese course, since often I feel too full at the end of such a meal to enjoy these courses and we arent always thrilled by restaurant desserts in Italy, but Im probably a minority view on this.

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            Conceptually, your suggestion to skip dessert is a good one. However, skipping the dessert course at Antico Arco means passing up the mojito sorbetto. Bad move.

                            1. re: Indy 67

                              now thats an example of a dessert that would slip down easy at the end of a multicourse meal! point taken.

                      2. re: hong_kong_foodie

                        My only advice is if they can serve the risotto with cheese and nebbiolo sauce instead. I think it is one of their signatures and rightly so, but not sure why they don't include it in the degustation. I thought i had read on a thread here where someone asked for substitution.

                        1. re: ms. chow

                          Just spoke to Antico Arco this week and asked if they could either substitute or take out the cheese dish. They said it's not a problem but didn't clarify what they would do. I think it's fine as long as I call them again a couple of days ahead to discuss.

                          Thanks everyone for the advice.

                        2. re: hong_kong_foodie

                          I had both the tasting menu and ALC at Antico Arco last Dec/Jan. Yes, we went twice--the second time because I screwed up another reservation (typical for me) and so in the cab called Antico Arco to see if they could squeeze us in. As I have noticed before in Rome, on the second visit the staff was so very warm--and they had been great the first time. While not every single dish won me over, many did and I felt the prices were well justified. I loved the cheese course but then I usually do. :)

                          Let them guide you with wines. They are great with that. Oops, I see no one drinks. That is a shame because really, if anyone does, they will talk wine with you night and day if you like.

                          Anyway, if you go, enjoy! I certainly will revisit the next time I am in Rome.

                      3. Antico Arco was our last meal in Italy, and we enjoyed every bite. The waiter told my son that he was a "scarpetta," which means shoeshiner -- some one who takes pieces of bread and washes the plate clean. The Matriciana was absolutely the most delicious I have ever had with very porky, nearly crispy guanciale studding the sauce. Heavan. The calcio e pepe with fried zucchini blossoms was also heavenly, but so rich I could not finish it. Everything was wonderful, and we were able to make a resrvation the same day, but this was August, so who knows. The place opens at 7:30, which was about when we went, and we were the only ones there until almost 9PM. It was nearly 10 when we left.

                        1. ate there last week, and unfortunately did not have a great experience. was so excited to dine there after reading so many great postings. we had 8:30pm reservations, were the first people in the restaurant for the first 30 minutes. 2 of us ordered the 70 euro 'best of' tasting menu and our 3 other friends ordered a la carte. unfortuntately, the service was incredibly slow (even when there was no one else in the restaurant!). we wound up eating all the bread before the pasta arrived, we were so hungry. when it did arrive, the risotto with crab and lemon peel was undercooked and barely warm; and the amatriciana was way to salty. by the time the suckling pig arrived it was 11:30pm and 2 of the adults left after that because they were falling asleep. it was a big surprise to be so underwhelmed. maybe the team working there in august is not the first string? not sure what happened but we were all very disappointed.

                          1. I have to say I nearly the opposite experience. The food was lovely, and I can't complain about that, but the service was just terrible. To top it off, we discovered that they put a 10% service charge only on tables of foreigners. So Italians don't need to pay for service? The waiter seemed rushed, probably because he was the only one serving a pretty large dining room, and we felt neglected. I don't mind paying a service charge but maybe if I had received a little more service...! If you go, prepare yourself for a long wait.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: serena229

                              Yea, our experience in Rome regarding service charges also seemed very arbitrary and ruthless. Almost everywhere we went the restaurants seemed to tack on a substantial service charge, and I can't help but wonder if it's because we were clearly foreigners. On top of that there were instances where we realized they were charging us 3 euros per person for breadsticks (L'Angoletto, for instance) and so we told our friends who went the next day to skip the breadsticks and avoid the charge, only to find out that they were charged nonetheless but for "table utensils" instead. Very, very shady in my opinion and definitely left the entire group with a bad impression.

                              1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                It's difficult to see how Antico Arco or any other restaurant can add service charges for foreigners and not for Italians. By law, menus must state whether service is included or not; having different menus for foreigners and Italians is also illegal. There are, of course, restaurants that act illegally, but I would not have expected Antico Arco to be among them.

                                Regrettably, L'Angoletto did act illegally: "Coperto" for table utensils etc. has been illegal in Lazio since, I believe, 2006. A "pane" charge for breadsticks etc. *is* legal, but it is illegal to charge it if the client declines bread.

                                1. re: zerlina

                                  We go to Rome quite often. In fact leaving tomorrow. This said, most restaurants add copertino whether you're Italian or not. Whether you eat the bread or not. Unlike the US where tipping is customary, after the "cover", if you have good service, and addtional tip of one or two Euro is all that in necessary. If the service is less than stellar, then leave nothing extra. It's that simple.