I was lucky enough to take a trip to Italy with my wife during the second week of May. We made stops on the Amalfi Coast:
While the food was mostly what one would expect (good and hearty) I was truly impressed by a few particular experiences:
1) On the Amalfi Coast, we tended to drink mostly the local red wines from the Costa d’Amalfi Tramonti DOC. These wines were always almost 100% Aglianico, deep purple in color, and very drinkable. The better ones had cracked pepper flavors and had nice black berry fruit. When consumed with the local Pizza and Pasta fare, these wines were terrific.
2) The Pizza in the greater Naples area is second to none in the world. I am a Pizza freak who makes his own Pizza dough all the time, and I think my Pizza is pretty good, but the Pizza dough in Italy is a world apart from the Pizza dough I fashion here in Austin. Only one way to experience this wonder…go to Italy and taste the Pizza there.
3) Although Rome can be a tourist trap with thousands of bad to mediocre restaurants, we managed to find one that absolutely blew us away. The name of the restaurant is “Roscioli”. It is really one establishment that consists of two parts. The “Il Forno Roscioli” which is the bakery and pizza shop they have at Via dei Chiavari 34. During the day and into the early evening hours, this place serves antipasti, Pizza, and sells bread and pastries to the locals. The Pizza is unique in that one can’t order a particular Pizza. Instead, they make Pizza and one has to order whatever comes out of the oven at any given point in time. Here’s what we had:
Pizza with Anchovies and Zucchini Flowers:
Pizza with Potato Slices and Salsiccie:
The other part of Roscioli is its restaurant across the way at Via dei Giubbonari 21:
There, I had one of the best meals ever and certainly our best meal in Italy. Wonderful food, great service, and an amazing wine list. On night 1, we had a Chardonnay from Alto Aldige and on night 2, we had a Cesanese from Lazio that tasted like a fine Premier Cru Burgundy. The producer, Damiano Ciollo is apparently a young guy who is trying to make respectable wine in an area that is traditionally known for producing commercial and uninspiring wine. This stuff was truly amazing an a recommendation from our server.
It is important to mention that the folks eating at Roscioli are almost entirely locals which means that from 9pm and after, the restaurant is usually booked solid. I recommend calling well ahead to make a reservation or to be willing to have dinner at 7pm and be out of there by 9pm.
You can get more info about Roscioli at:
4) Another restaurant that was very good, was Lo Stil Nuovo. Although the food didn’t live up to the lofty heights of Roscioli, the ambiance was nice, the food was very good, and the sommelier, as well as the wine list and selections of wines by the glass were amazing. The highlights for me were the free Prosecco welcome drink (really nice stuff), the amuse bouche, the salad vinegrette cart (yes, you heard right), and the dessert wine that the sommelier picked for us.
If you go to Rome, you should try to eat here, as well. Here’s the website:
Ciao from Austin.