Restaurant Review: Carlo Menta, Rome

Menu

Menu

I won’t boast the Carlo Menta serves the best food about town, but the atmosphere is always lively, service is fast, prices are extremely economical and its ideally located for a night out. Thats not to say that the food is bad – far from it. In fact, you would probably be hard pushed to find truly awful food in a restaurant in Italy. Its food with no frills, but tasty enough all the same.

Menu

Menu

The menu is typical trattoria style with antipasti, primi (pasta dishes), secondi (meat and fish)pizzas and contorni (veg and salad sides)

Tomato bruschetta

Tomato bruschetta

The bruschetta is a satisfying way to start the meal. The single slice of bread may not be much for €3 (I would say that the starters are a little overpriced for what they are compared to the rest of the menu which is fairy good value), but it whets the appetite. The tomatoes are lovely and fresh, topped with peppery rocket and a good glug of flavoursome olive oil.

Pizza vegetariana

Pizza vegetariana

When eating at Carlo Menta, my friends and I would often share a pizza between 4 or 5 of us instead of ordering a starter. The pizzas range from €2 for a simple marianara to €6 for those with more costly toppings.

The Roman-style pizzas had a thin and crispy base, the crunchy crusts were perfect for dipping on olive oil and balsamic, or even better, Carlo Menta’s chilli-infused olive oil (we almost finished an entire bottle of this!)

The vegetariana (€6) was one of my favourites – a pleasing combination of tissue-thin slices of courgette, ribbons of sweet red pepper, soft artichoke and black olives on a tomato base, topped with mozzarella cheese and a handful of olive-oil dressed rocket.

Pizza capricciosa

Pizza capricciosa

The capricciosa (€5) was a little trickily to share as each ingredient is allocated 1/4 of the pizza, so you’ll inevitable be fighting over the solitary olive of piece of artichoke. However, all for yourself, its extremely tasty and you won’t get bored half way through – each slice is different.

Piazza diavoletta

Piazza diavoletta

For a bit of spice, the diavoletta (€6) is for you. There is not a great amount of heat, but the smokey pepperoni, rich cheese and flavoursome tomato base are a great trio of flavours.

Gnocchi alla Trasteverina

Gnocchi alla Trasteverina

Onto the pastas; the gnocchi alla Trasteverina (€5) is a reliable choice. Plump and light little gnocchi tossed in a well-seasoned, aromatic tomato sauce. This is comfort food Italian style.

Tagliolini alla scoglio

Tagliolini alla scoglio

The scoglio (€7) used fresh seafood in their shells and doesn’t skimp. You’ll have to get your hands dirty to de-shell the prawns, but it’s well worth the effort.

Gnocchi "Carlo Menta"

Gnocchi “Carlo Menta”

If you fancy seafood but would prefer gnocchi, Carlo Menta have you covered with their signature gnocchi “Carlo Menta” (€5)

Tagliolini radicchio e gamberi

Tagliolini radicchio e gamberi

My personal pasta favourite was the tagliolini radicchio e gamberi (bar one occasion where it was a little cloying – perhaps a busy night and the dish had been sat for a while?) Thin, delicate al dente pasta folded in a creamy tomato-seafood sauce with cubes of fresh tomato, flecks of vibrant purple chicory and plump shrimp, finished with a liberal sprinkling of parsley.

Lasagna al forno

Lasagna al forno

The lasagna is a great let-down. There was hardly any béchamel sauce and the thinnest spreading of ragù (in which I struggled to find any trace of meat). It was basically just 10 sheets of pasta glued into a slab with a little passata.

Carciofi alla Romana

Carciofi alla Romana

For a classic Roman side dish, try the artichoke which are well cooked and sprinkled with herbs, although they need a little extra drizzling of olive oil at the table.

Gorgonzola and rocket salad

Gorgonzola and rocket salad

The gorgonzola and rocket salad comes undressed, but with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic from the table, it makes a nice end plate if you don’t fancy dessert. The cheese seem good quality – creamy and pungent.

The desserts are a bit hit and miss – I once had a lovely fruit tart here, however I have also experienced a rather tasteless tiramisù. Choose wisely!

All in all, you can’t go too far wrong here for a cheap and cheerful night out. And with a carafe of wine at only €3, you’ll soon be feeling merry!

Carlo Menta

Via della Lungaretta, 101

00153

Rome

T: +39 (0)6 580 3733

Open 12:00-23:30 daily

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About SAFbakes

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