Saturday, August 13, 2011

A new find: L'Antico Moro

Living in Trastevere as I have for nearly 7 years, I have gotten used to charming, semi-touristy restaurants with pretty good food at slightly exaggerated prices. Nothing terrible, just nothing all that special either. I have my favorite exceptions where I know I'll always get a good meal without being hassled by an accordian player, but I can list those special spots on one hand with a few fingers to spare, so sometimes they can get repetitive. Discovering new restaurants is always exciting!

Having said that, I am very reluctant to try anywhere new, unless it has been specifically recommended by someone I trust. There are just too many traps out there, especially in Trastevere, that even seasoned residents sometimes fall into. So it was quite out of character that I suggested to the Maritino that we try a place on Via del Moro that I've passed a thousand times. It's one of those non-descript places with checkered table clothes and Roman Holiday prints on the walls. I would never have dreamed of walking in were it not for the fact that the front door was firmly closed, with a curtain blocking the view inside.

Tip #1 when looking for a restaurant in Rome: Closed doors generally signal where the locals go.

This combined with surprisingly low prices, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it (especially as in mid-August, nearly every other place is closed). My first impression of this place is that they haven't quite figured out what an amazing location they've got. Less than a block from Piazza Trilussa, most of the other restaurants in this area have got themselves all decked out with outdoor seating, menus in four languages and waiters luring you inside (possibly to dine on preprepared, frozen food). Now I'm not going to pretend this place is a big secret, I was not the only non-Italian in the place, it is where it is, but they are clearly not marketing themselves toward your average Rick Steve's reader.

I am (very) far from being a food blogger, or even a foodie, so my descriptions will leave a lot to be imagined, but the home-style cooking was divine. An absolute must are the Pizzelle del Moro. Hard to describe, they are sort of like small balls of pizza dough that have been puffed up, fried and drenched with warm tomato sauce. Delectable! And at 2 euros a pop, they cost the same as the undesired bread basket that so often seems to show up unbidden.

Being a semi-veggie, I have a hard time finding an enticing pasta option at osterie offering traditional Roman fare, and usually have nothing more to chose between than your basic cacio e pepe and arrabbiata (neither of them my favorites). But Antico Moro offers a dish called Casarecci del Moro that combines some of my very favorite things: cherry tomatoes, eggplant, smoked mozzarella and basil! It's heavenly! They also offer a plate of grilled veggies and other antipasti that will make you drool, if you have room for all that!


L'Antico Moro
Via del Moro, 61/62

Anyone have any favorite traditional and non-touristy restaurants in Rome?
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1 comment:

  1. I'm always a fan of Da Vito e Dina which is about two blocks down from Ottaviano metro. Also, the pizzeria that used to be called Almacri, but I now think is called Station or something like that (it has a railroad theme). It is one block up Viale Trastevere from the train station.

    The customers at both were generally Italians, though Vito's has had some US press.


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