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Jul 29, 2014 12:13 PM

Rome: Is Nonna Betta really Kosher?

I continue to look for an authentic Kosher restaurant in Rome with authentic Roman Jewish cuisine. Nonna Betta, Via del Portico D’Ottavia 16, on its website, says it is closed Wednesdays. Now I'm just a country boy, yet I know enough to know that the Shabbat ain't on Wednesdays. So is this place really Kosher?

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  1. Nonna Betta was a kosher dairy restaurant until a couple of years ago; it no longer is. The website describes it as "kosher style".
    Now, as I understand the situation, they serve both dairy dishes and meat dishes, and are not under any sort of rabbinical supervision. Not sure whether this will be relevant to you if you do not observe kashruth.

    1 Reply
    1. Nonna betta is not kosher and does not claim to be. Ba ghetto on the same street is kosher, has two locations, meaty and milky, and is decent.

      1 Reply
      1. re: vinoroma

        Thanks for the tip about Ba'Ghetto

      2. One of the things you have to understand is that there is no tradition of an authentic Roman Kosher restaurant. Traditionally if you were Roman and Kosher, then you ate at home. So while there is a strong Roman home cooking tradition, the idea of a Kosher restaurant is a completely new thing. For years the only Kosher restaurant in Rome was a place near Piazza Vittoria that featured Northern African Kosher cooking. Not traditional.

        The four original restaurants in the Jewish Ghetto, Giggetto, Piperno, Sora Margherita and Pompiere - while featuring Jewish dishes - were never Jewish owned, nor Kosher. Although all of them, by now in the third or fourth generation of ownership, are well established in that neighborhood.

        Many of the new places that have opened up in the last 8 years or so cover a lot of territory, and unfortunately none of it is very good. Nonna Betta, the best of the lot, found it almost impossible to keep things going being just a Kosher place. Some of the newer places, like Bella Carne, started out with good intentions, then slipped fast. I'm not a fan of Ba Ghetto, but Berlusconi is said to love it. Then there are the half dozen fast food places like Fonzie Kosher Burger. It's gotten a bit out of control. Today I was there and Daruma Sushi has now opened a Kosher version, and I see there is a new bakery and gelato place.

        For authentic Roman Jewish cooking you might have a look at the Home Food site and see if anyone is offering a kosher Roman menu.

        6 Replies
        1. re: minchilli

          We have a Ghetto tour scheduled for a Sunday morning, would like to experience the famous fried chokes etc for lunch that day. Of the four originals you mentioned, does one warrant a visit over the others for any reason? It will be our last meal with my daughter who'll be returning to Belgium that evening.


          1. re: SueFH

            when is your tour? If it is anytime soon, you won't be seeing artichokes, as they are out of season till at least the end of december (and then in season till end of may). I think gigetto offers artichokes year round, using imported artichokes, which have nothing to do with the roman artichokes. They should not be eaten.

            1. re: SueFH

              It sounds like you are headed there soon? In which case artichokes are out of season. Gigetto, Sora Margarita and Piperno do still serve them, but they are coming in from France and are very tough and not really worth it. Better to enjoy fried zucchini blossoms which are now in season.


              1. re: minchilli

                My meal at Nonna Betta was delicious a few months ago. While my homefood experience was not delicious and was quite awkward. I really wanted to like it...

                1. re: ambra

                  Could I ask which homefood 'journey' you had?

                  I have one slated for an upcoming trip. Still interested in going, but would consider changing to a different one.


                  1. re: ambra

                    I'd love to hear more about your homefood experience, and why you found it awkward. Also, more about the food.