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Rome - Pierluigi review

s
swarttav Feb 16, 2010 06:52 AM

We were staying in an apartment near the Campo de Fioro (sp?) coming off a month in Ireland teaching a university course. We promised ourselves some days in Rome for our 10th wedding anniversary. The last night was when we had the "special" meal. When I reviewed "Chowhound" I saw "mixed" reviews for this restaurant. But it looked nice and was within easy walking distance of our apartment so we gave it a whirl.

We walked in and were seated. The sommelier, even before introducing his role, moved us to a larger table. I initially thought that it was a slow Sunday night in January, but the restaurant quickly filled, so we possessed what eventually became a valued 4 top. We asked the sommelier for his advice and he took us to the cellar (which I had expected from previous reviews) to examine the options. I am unfamiliar with Italian wines but talked about the California, French, South American, Down under and Spanish wines we liked. We decided on a 1999 Barolo (sp?). My wife was not present for the price discussion, but we settled on 120E. He decanted the wine and offered us complimentary champagne as the wine breathed. They then offered to create a meal around the wine. So we split single servings of the entire Italian meal sequence.

First a selection of antipasti centered around calamari and shrimp. One was deep fried calamari with lemon, the 2nd was sauteed calamari and shrimp with potatoes in butter and olive oil the potatoes were So tender! We went on to a plain mixed green salad lightly dressed. Next was a seafood pasta done in a scampi style with shrimp and calamari and finally there were grilled red snapper with potatoes and tiny vegetables. All wonderful to the point it made my partner's eye water (not due to pungency).

We had a sugared cake for dessert (non-descript). We both had Muscado and then grappa for me and sambucca (sp?) for my partner (complimentary). The total came to 220E without tips (of course we tipped appropriately). .

It may be that we received this level of service due to low season and the recession. I do not know Rome well and there may be better restaurants. But, this was exquisite - it ranks as one of the top ten dining experiences I have had - and I have had more than my share. A wonderful time at a great restaurant in Rome!!!

  1. steve h. Feb 17, 2010 11:06 AM

    Pierluigi is a decent destination. It's pretty close to where we stay so we drop in from time to time. Lots of bureaucrats at the mid-day meal, lots of tourists early for supper. Dining later rather than earlier seems to have an advantage (you'll "own" the table for the rest of the evening). Being a repeat customer seems to dial back the drama a bit so both you and your server can relax a bit and you can get on with the business of eating well.

    10 Replies
    1. re: steve h.
      steve h. Apr 11, 2010 01:16 PM

      I had a very respectable steak at Pierluigi two weeks ago. I cribbed the idea from an old Frank Bruni piece in the New York Times. Prosecco with my oysters (comped) and a solid red with the steak. I consider this place a neighborhood joint. Go late to avoid the tourist rush, a reservation a day ahead may be a good idea.

      1. re: steve h.
        jfood Apr 11, 2010 01:42 PM

        jfood really enjoyed the dinner he had at Pierluigi last October. Ten minutes after he and mrs jood sat down, four large black SUVs stopped traffice and Nacy Pelosi, the US Ambassador and their spouses sat 2 tables away along with 10-15 SS personnel eating away. Jfood almost asked the server to add his tab to the Pelosi's since he was paying for theirs.

        1. re: jfood
          steve h. Apr 11, 2010 02:13 PM

          That's my neighborhood. I rent a small place two blocks away every March. I like Pierluigi, Al Bric, Ditirambo and a bunch of other places on the neighborhood tourist track. Being a repeat customer accounts for a lot.

          re Pierluigi: bureaucrats flock there. Must be some kind of LAB magnet.

          1. re: steve h.
            jfood Apr 11, 2010 02:19 PM

            they handed the jfoods a menu and jfood handed it back. "tell me what to eat." and the server did an unbelievable job. Best of the three meals the jfoods ate in Rome, mainly because the conciege sent them to crap up near the american embassy. mrs jfood went twoce with MIL when they went back a month later and the MOD was like a long lost relative. Jfood is a big fan.

            1. re: jfood
              steve h. Apr 11, 2010 02:38 PM

              Rome's been around for awhile. Deb and I like to throttle back a bit when we get there, shop on the economy, cook a few meals, hone my pathetic language skills and discover new things to do, new places to eat.

              Last month I learned that Casa Bleve is a wonderful wine bar with a terrific up-scale buffet (pricey but worth it). Vinoroma, others on chowhound tipped me to it. Last year, chowhound's mbfant introduced my wife to the Testaccio market. They cooked at Maureen's house and I reaped the benefits that night.

              I keep looking for an excuse to spend March somewhere else but it's not happening just yet.

              1. re: steve h.
                d
                dlgc Apr 12, 2010 11:01 AM

                Pierluigi has been our standby restaurant for many years. The food is consistant and the service wonderful. All you have to do ask them to make what ever you feel like eating and they will make it, and its always great. The outside seating area in summertime is a pleasure, and a great people watching spot. We always order a pasta and a seafood dish....what ever they suggest. Their large shrimp are fabulous!

                1. re: dlgc
                  steve h. Apr 12, 2010 11:08 AM

                  I was pleasantly surprised just how good the steak is there. Like you, I usually order seafood and pasta at Pierluigi but sometimes you have to shake it up a bit. Glad I did.

                  1. re: steve h.
                    d
                    dlgc Apr 12, 2010 11:51 AM

                    I think we'll try the steak this july....... we will be in Rome for a week so I'm sure there will be at least one dinner and one lunch there. Have you ever eaten at Sora Rosa.....the best chicken under a brick we have ever had.

                    1. re: dlgc
                      steve h. Apr 12, 2010 01:50 PM

                      The best chicken in Rome is my wife's rendition of Judy Rodgers', "Zuni Chicken." It's a bit of an MGM production in the sense that it takes three-four days prior planning/shopping. Our rental apartment's oven is fully capable of the high heat necessary to pull this dish off. Afterwards, we retire upstairs to the terrace, drink booze, dish, etc..
                      Rome is a tonic.

                      1. re: steve h.
                        carolinadawg Apr 12, 2010 03:49 PM

                        Thats so helpful to Rome visitors in search of good chow!

    2. vinoroma Feb 16, 2010 10:06 AM

      I am happy for you that you enjoyed your dinner experience. But have to cringe: "offered to create a meal around the wine", a 99 Barolo, and then the meal is all seafood?
      *goesoffshakingheadindisbelief*
      PS: just to clarify: normal for Pierluigi to serve a seafood dinner, but selling you a Barolo is a crime.

      6 Replies
      1. re: vinoroma
        jen kalb Feb 16, 2010 11:15 AM

        You are right of course, but havent these kinds of things been happening since the beginning of tourism?
        Pierluigi turned a good profit selling an expensive wine cluttering up its cellar, the customer went away happy.

        1. re: vinoroma
          s
          swarttav Feb 17, 2010 04:17 PM

          It may be a crime to you but we enjoyed it immensely. My thinking is that is a key issue in what one considers a delightful meal. I don't like whites and have a modest sense of smell so always go for what I consider bold wines.

          1. re: swarttav
            r
            rrems Feb 17, 2010 06:57 PM

            Bravo! I am a red wine fan, and rarely order whites. I see no conflict drinking red wine with seafood. I thought we'd all gotten over the red with meat/white with fish thing years ago.

            1. re: swarttav
              s
              soonerhound Feb 17, 2010 07:38 PM

              Thank you for the enthusiastic review- I'll be travelling to Rome this spring and I enjoy it when people take the time to post so thoughtfully. It sounds as though you had a wonderful evening with your partner, and not as though you were victimized.

              1. re: swarttav
                vinoroma Feb 17, 2010 10:33 PM

                swarttav, I have to say again, I am glad you enjoyed your dinner and that is really the most important thing. And yes, the red/meat white/fish generalization is gladly overcome, but we are talking about a Barolo here. I am the first and loudest person (am a sommelier and wine educator) who says "drink what you enjoy" and it seems you enjoyed, so perfect; but allow me to say, if you can imagine, there are even better combinations out there and you would enjoy even more some other combos.

                1. re: swarttav
                  jen kalb Feb 18, 2010 05:47 AM

                  Im totally sympathetic , but as vinaroma says, I think they could have done better for you

              2. d
                dlgc Feb 16, 2010 09:58 AM

                Pierluigi is a must stop for us each summer when we are in Rome. Their food is consistantly good and at a very fair price. The service has always been top notch......we are big fans of all of their pasta dishes whether on the menu or a special request, they can do it all. The seafood dishes are some of the best we have had in Rome, better than Quincy and Gabriella. I'm so glad that you enjoyed one of our favorites.

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