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May 15, 2011 02:29 AM

[Rome] Ditirambo

A decent restaurant just off the Campo de Fiori is bound to be a magnet for tourists. And, of course, that’s why we were there. What was, perhaps, a bit surprising is that, apart from one table occupied by Italians, we were the only Europeans in the place. Everyone else was American.

It’s a long, long way to come for decent – but only decent – food. For our first dinner in the city, we decided to order the “full Monty” – antipasto, primi, secondi, contorni – and see where that took us.

There was certainly very decent bread – baguette, foccacia and an exceptionally thin crispbread topped with sesame.

We both started with courgette flowers, stuffed with ricotta, dipped in batter and deep fried. It was a generous portion of two flowers but this was disappointing. Underflavoured, underseasoned, the filling a bit claggy and the batter a bit soggy.

Pasta was a game of two halves. Tagliatelle was good. It came with a sauce made from rabbit and sun dried tomatoes, pecorino adding a creaminess. This was a good coating consistency – but light in both taste and texture. On the other plate, two large ravioli had been stuffed with exactly the same bland ricotta mix as the previous course. They had been cooked and then finished in the pan with butter to crisp them up. It desperately needed the lift from the tomato and caper sauce.

Main courses – one lamb, one suckling pig – brought plates that could have been from anywhere in the Med.. A generous slow roast, served on the bone with a scattering of roast potatoes. Good, simple flavours here. A bowl of mixed salad to accompany, with a very good olive oil and OK balsamic to dress it.

We passed on dessert. Espresso was a decent strong cup but was luke-warm.

So, all in all, an OK dinner. Nothing to shout from the rooftops about. And, for €100, including a half bottle of Cab. Sauv. and a bottle of water, nothing close to several good value for money meals we’ve had in recent months. But, maybe, that’s the penalty for eating just off the Campo.

Piazza della Cancelleria, 73, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

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  1. Ditirambo is on the tourist track. Still, the cacio e pepe is very good and the grappa selection superb. In March, Brits and Germans prevail. Romans tend to show up fairly late for supper. As with most places in that area, repeat customers fare much better than day trippers.

    Piazza della Cancelleria, 73, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

    1. Too bad.... The only place i ate at in/near Campo de Fiori was a sandwich shop that had a dozen or more options for toppings, and individually prepared, including these delicious teeny tiny mushrooms, the size of the tip of your pinky. Those sandwiches still live on in my memory, 6 years later.

      1. Dittirambo used to be very good. But alas, not for a few years. The menu always sounds promising, then just doesn't deliver. And it should be good, since they hand make much of their pasta.
        Much better is their sister restaurant across the street, Grappolo D'Oro.