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Jan 26, 2010 11:35 AM

Old roman food in ROme.... Apicius

I remember ones reading about a restaurant on the way to Rome (which one ;-) serving a menu based on APicius. I can't find it anywhere :( Anyone any idea what I'm talking about?

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  1. The menu at Armando al Pantheon includes a page of dishes supposedly drawn from Apicius - there could be others too, of course. Armando is a modern Roman trattoria with mainly traditional Roman Cuisine, not a faux-ancient Roman place.

    1. No. For about a year and a half a few years ago there was a goodish place, seriously run, near the Colosseum, Magna Roma, but they closed. Every so often I hear rumors of something on the via Appia, but I think it's a private thing you can reserve, not a restaurant. But it's so private nobody knows how to find them. There may be something else, and I'd dearly love to find such a place.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mbfant

        I saw this searching around on the web last night but wasnt able to figure it out.
        Maybe the OP can look into it.

        1. re: jen kalb

          Herend is a renowned Hungarian manufacturer of porcelain. They seem to have a restaurant called Apicius connected to their factory near Lake Balaton. Not, I think, an option for someone visitng Italy...

          1. re: zerlina

            would tend to agree - I was puzzled by the Herend connection and looked in vain for an address. glad you were able to penetrate further.

      2. I'm writing a historical fiction novel based on Apicius and am going to be in Rome next month so this is a very timely topic for me. Perhaps this is the spot you were thinking of, Maureen? It was one of the few places I could find that claimed to have some ancient recipes on the menu.

        Another possibility is this place: which I know nothing about other than my husband saw some review that said it had recipes that were from Apicius. Doesn't seem to have a full menu on their site, however.

        I know the cookbook like the back of my hand these days though, so personally I'm looking forward to recognizing which Italian dishes served today harken back to that time...many recipes are unlikely to have changed throughout the years or to have changed very little.

        There is a restaurant in Paris that supposedly serves primarily Apicius recipes, alas, why there?!

        Am looking forward to seeing what other possibilities may end up being offered up!

        3 Replies
        1. re: crystallyn

          Just a side note. If the name of the Paris restaurant you are referring is Apicius, the food it serves is not based on any Apicius recipes. The food is French. It is just a name that the owner-chef chose.

          1. re: PBSF

            I knew about Apicius, but that's not it (although it does look delish!). It's been many months since I ran across it and now I can't recall its name and doing a search again didn't yield anything. Most restaurants that I've heard of doing primarily Apicius recipes don't last long. The tastes are very strong and are too odd for most people. Very fishy coriander-based types of sauces. :)

          2. re: crystallyn

            To the best of my knowledge, Al Pompiere only serves Roman and Jewish-Roman cooking, not ancient Roman.

          3. Thanks all. In the end I didn't have time to go but it might be anticaroma. I'll check next time. I also heard there is a restaurant which only serves artichokes......... don't have the name. I did go to Pizzarium, didn't check if there is a thread on it but if you are in Rome go there. It is on Via della Meloria 43 ( metro cipro chiuso domenica) It is a bit of a hole in the wall (not dirty or anything) great artisianl beer selection to! Not sure if one can call it pizza.:-)
            I wrote a short blog on it on my umbria page

            11 Replies
            1. re: Martins

              Let me launch the chorus of OF COURSE IT IS PIZZA! Pizza al taglio, rectangular pizza baked in a pan, is typical of Rome.

              1. re: mbfant

                I'm puzzled as to why Hostaria Antica Roma on via Appia doens't qualify as serving recipes based on Apicius. Their menu claims they do:


                1. re: summerUWS2008

                  Think we may check Antica Roma out when we're there in the next couple of weeks. I'll report back if so.

                  1. re: crystallyn

                    Do let us know!
                    Anyone interested in 'old' cooking. I quite enjoyed Carluccio and the rennaissance cookbook. Have a look here:
                    Google for vids: Carluccio and the Rennaisance Cookbook
                    Recipes here:

                  2. re: summerUWS2008

                    The link shows a very limited, basic, not particularly interesting meal, a single tasting menu, not a whole menu with any choice. Uninspiring to say the least. The defunct Magna Roma, which was near the Colosseum and lasted about a year and a half before it closed, served an extensive menu of delicious food, including many labor-intensive dishes, with an archaeologist to explain things.

                    1. re: mbfant

                      Maureen and crystallyn,

                      Thought you'd also be interested in these links.



                      Thanks, mbfant, I was curious. I don't know if the building's history will inspire you, but the owners seemed quite enthusiastic about sharing it.

                      I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but I only posted a link to its "Apicius" menu. The restaurant does serve other dishes.


                      Was Magna Roma strictly Apicius?

                      Do you generally not like tasting menus where the cook chooses and not you? I do seem to recall a thread about this not long ago, but I can't remember if you posted in it and if so, what side you came down on.

                      1. re: summerUWS2008

                        I actually visited this place a million years ago to see the columbarium of the liberti of Augustus when I was supposedly writing a dissertation on Roman funerary altars. My objection is not to tasting menus, though I often forgo them, but to this tasting menu, which is boring. I don't believe Magna Roma attributed all its recipes to sources, but it was definitely all ancient Roman and probably not all Apicius -- there are a bazillion other sources of recipes and inspirations for clever modern cooks to figure out still others. Apicius is the only ancient cookbook, but recipes can be found in numerous other works.

                        1. re: mbfant

                          Thanks for responding! I wonder how the rest of the food is.

                          1. re: mbfant

                            If you have suggestions of other restaurants currently serving ancient recipes, I know I would love to hear them.

                            Most ancient recipes are uninspiring and many are simply unpalatable for modern tongues. So for someone, like me, who is interested in how a cook can transform those recipes at all, or why they felt inspired to do so in the first place and how they made changes to the recipes, it may be worth checking out, especially since it seems to be the only place that anyone has mentioned that specifically serves dishes based on the Apicius text.

                            1. re: crystallyn

                              I posted above that Armando al Pantheon, which is worth visiting for their modern Roman food as well, offers a selection of dishes based on recipes of Apicius. the full menu is not posted on their website however (a few of the dishes are there)

                        2. re: mbfant

                          And the Italian Wine Merchants website offered this review:

                          Serving a rich menu of typical Roman food, Hostaria Antica Roma is romantically nestled into ancient ruins built by Emperor Augustus. The owner, Paolo, has a vineyard that produces wine specifically for the restaurant. Adored by the locals, this restaurant is a great place for lunch.