Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Oct 14, 2011 12:07 AM

Culinary Loft[ Rome

My friend learned about this experience for dinner in Rome through Chow Hound. We made a reservation and it turned out to be a very unique and fun experience. First, the Culinary Loft is actually in a fabulous loft full of art and unique design. The chefs, Asia and Gaia, were warm, friendly and fun. They presented us initially with three delicious appetizers: pears with pecorino cheese and grapes, mozzarella with home made sun-dried tomatos and three kinds of salami served with artisanal bread. This was served with prosecco which was delicious. Then Asia and Gaia took on the daunting task of teaching us to make homemade pasta. This was messy and fun and the end result was delicious, even with our lack of experience. It was clear that making homemade pasta comes naturally to the Italians; our hostesses had learned the art from their mothers and grandmothers. We had two pasta courses, one with a light tomato-vegetable sauce. The second pasta presentation was served with sausage, porcini mushrooms and chanterelles. Both pastas were delicious. The main course featured salmon with capers and tomatoes, prawns and spinach. Dessert was baked apples and figs. A wonderful chardonnay was served with dinner. The entire evening was photographed by our hostesses and those photos were emailed to us by the next morning. Also, all food was described and sourced for us by our hostesses. It was obvious that they both delighted in the small details and the art of cooking and presentation. This was a very special experience in our tour of Rome and one that we would highly recommend to those who want something different when they visit Rome. When you make your own reservation, you get to select whether you prefer a fish or meat entree. To make a reservation, email Asia at

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Thanks for posting! Because of this post, I reserved a cooking class at the Culinary Loft for my boyfriend, his two kids and me. Asia and Gaia are incredibly nice, very kind and patient with children, informed foodies and superlative cooks, and we had a wonderful time. We all loved making our own pasta (which was served with a ragu that had been simmering for 8 hours!), we ate the best carbonara EVER, everything accompanied with wonderful Tuscan wines. Our starters included excellent cheeses and hams, and dessert was fragrant poached apples and pears. Definitely our favorite meal in Rome during our six day stay. As above, the Culinary Loft email contact is Asia at

    12 Replies
    1. re: djdoucement

      both of you only wrote about culinary loft, which I do not know. Can you write about your other eating experiences, too, so we get a better feel?

      1. re: vinoroma

        Something smells spam-my to me and it's not musubi.

          1. re: shadtrain

            I thnk folks are still interested in what else you ate and liked in rome so they can get a handle on your tastes.

            1. re: jen kalb

              In terms of eating in Rome and Italy in general, I have to say that overall I was very disappointed. I went to Italy expecting to be bowled over by the food and I was not. Much of it was repetitious and pretty tasteless,which was the exact opposite of what I had expected. I did enjoy the pizza at the restaurant the Rick Steve's claims has the best pizza in Rome, cannot remember the name. After that, we had one great dinner in Spoleto, another great lunch in Montefalco after being referred by a local vintner and one great dinner in Venice at the Georgian (sp?) after getting a tip from the manager of a hotel. I am sorry that I cannot remember the names of all of the restaurants, but I could find them again if I return. The Culinary Loft was by far the most unique, delicious and inspiring dinner that we had in Italy. As for other restaurants, I would count on the locals.

              1. re: shadtrain

                I think that gives us a good frame of reference, thank you.

            2. re: shadtrain

              Sorry! I jumped to conclusions. I saw two reviews, both ending on contact details and both by posters with just one post(at the time). I'm a too cynical squirrel sometimes.

              1. re: lost squirrel

                Oh, I understand how that might have looked. Okay, here's the scoop: we spent six days in Rome and had really only two truly memorable meals (Culinary Loft and Trattoria Cadorno), but I went with the boyfriend and his two kids, so we were looking for simple pizza and pasta and trattoria places, not the foodie places we normally seek out (we live in Paris, and just so you all know, La Table d'Aki is my new favorite place as of last night--exquisite food). So, our best trattoria meal was at Trattoria Cadorno, where the staff were adorable to the kids and we had lovely pasta and antipasti (fried bread with tomato sauce, usually a Neapolitan specialty, very nice here, and grilled vegetables that were perfect). We would've happily gone back, but they are closed on weekends. We were disappointed by Trattoria Costanza (I had linguine with scallops which were overcooked and rubbery, but the waiter was very nice and apologetic about it and didn't charge us and the kids liked their pastas). We had a solid, good meal at Trattoria degli Amici. We had very simple but nice meal at Ar Galleto in Piazza Farneses. We never found a pizza place we really liked, much to the kids' displeasure. We ate at six different gelaterias (Frigidarium, Tre Scalini, Giolitti, Flor, Claudio Torce and another one I can't remember). The kids loved Giolitti for the fruit flavored gelato (the pear, apple, blueberry and pink grapefruit), but we all agreed the other flavors, aside from chestnut weren't that great. Frigidarium was just okay, as was Tre Scalini. The kids liked Flor, again for the fruit flavored gelati--raspberry in particular, but watermelon was nice too. My favorite was Torce, for the sophisticated flavors and the 12 different kinds of chocolate. I tend to prefer sorbets for fruit flavors (Berthillon in Paris) and gelati for chocolate/nut/chocolate chip/ vanilla etc flavors, if that makes sense. So, that's the Rome report. Culinary Loft was our favorite meal, not just because we got to make pasta, but because the pasta was perfect. Truly, a brilliant carbonara (with fried artichoke) which has, perhaps ruined me for any other, and the ragu sauce Asia and Gaia made to go with the pasta we made was lovely. I don't think I'd have the patience to watch anything simmer for 8 hours, so I don't know when I'll eat anything like it again, but I'm confident I could probably make a decent imitation of the carbonara, if I could get my hands on Tuscan ingredients in Paris.
                Hope this information helps!

          2. re: vinoroma

            I think Asia used to be an intern at the American Academy. I didn't know they started this either. I'll give them a call and find out more.


            1. re: minchilli

              In name at least its imitative of this
     but there is no suggestion on the US site of a connection.,
              facebook page

              1. re: jen kalb

                I don't think they are connected to them at all, Jen. They actually wrote to me after seeing this thread. They are doing these dinners in a very casual and spontaneous way. They've just started, and I've asked if I can attend one. The chef, Asia, will be working in Tuscany for the next two months, but when she's back I plan on going. And then I'll gladly report back to everyone.

                1. re: minchilli

                  minchilli - wondering if you went to culinaryloft and what your impression was?

        1. Thanks so much for sharing this information. Now I want to go!