Roscioli is a salumeria-cum bakery-cum cheese shop-cum deli-cum restaurant that excels in every category (much like that overachieving student from your high school class). But excellence come at a price. Both the restaurant and the bakery sit unassumingly along a narrow, semi-pedestrian street a few minutes walk from Rome’s Largo di Torre Argentina; an easy distance from the main shopping street for dinner after a strenuous day or store-hopping. At the bakery location you’ll find both focaccia-style and crispy-thin pizzas, biscuits, tarts and pastries, an impressive wall of freshly baked breads, as well as a deli counter of colourful roasted vegetables, salads and pastas for lunch-on-the-go.
The restaurant is just around the corner from the bakery. Stepping through its doors is much akin to stepping into a Caravaggio painting – dark wood, brick arches and beamed ceilings exude class and an old-school charm with a modern edge. To the left is the deli counter exhibiting a phenomenal range of Italian and Spanish charcuterie, artisan cheeses from across Europe, quality olive oils and mouth-watering conserves, all of which can be sampled right there and then, accompanied by the finest of bread bowls featuring an exhaustive selection of freshly baked in-house breads. Your bread bowl will never be allowed to fall below ‘precariously stacked high’, especially if you are conveniently sat at the bar stools, overlooking the bread counter. I was provided with classic crusty filone, pizza bianca, ciabatta, sourdough, focaccia, walnut, olive, Parmesan, five cereal, Kamut and fig breads and a wonderful brioche stuffed with nuggets of pancetta; each one as outstanding as the last.
Roscioli’s menu offers simple and authentic Roman dishes, elevated with top-quality ingredients, such as Cantabric sea anchovies, Sicilian red tuna, DOP buffalo mozzarella, hand-sliced prosciutto, Malaysian black pepper, San Marzano tomatoes and Paolo Parisi eggs. To start, I chose the caponata della tradizione Siciliana (€12.00) and the exceptional burrata di Pisignano con pomodorini (€17.00). The caponata came as an elegant stack of creamy, mellow aubergine, garnished with dried fruits, pine nuts and rocket and the plate decorated with a vibrant pistachio crumb. Any leftover fragrant oil could be soaked into the bread. The burrata cheese was divine ecstasy – slice through its mozzarella bundle and out seeps the oh so creamy and fresh curd within. The intense sun-dried tomatoes and piquant black pepper created a powerful trio of flavours.
The pastas are a run-down on Italy’s most classic recipes, from cheesy Roman cacio e pepe (€20.00) tossed with two types of pecorino cheese, cacio from Moliterno, and Malaysian black pepper, ravioli ricotta e spinaci (€20.00) made with fresh egg pasta and coated in sweet St. Malò butter, amatriciana (€14.00) with crispy pig’s cheek and possibly Roscioli’s most celebrated pasta dish, the carbonara (€15.00) made with the famous Paolo Parigi farm eggs. The carbonara sauce was thick and velvety, spiked with saltiness from the cheese, a little heat from the black pepper and intense flavour from the golden, rendered fat of the pig’s cheek. The portion size was spot-on and the price seemed extremely fair considering the quality of the ingredients used in the dish and the culinary mastering that went into its creation.
All seafood and meats are sourced from across the globe to ensure that customers are served the best ingredients available. Alaskan black cod, Balik salmon baby squid, king prawns, oysters and shellfish make up the fish section, while meat dishes include goose fois gras, suckling pig, pigeon breast, beef fillet and carpaccio. Prices range from €15 to €34.
Roscioli’s dizzying wall of Italian and French wines ensure that you’ll find the perfect bottle for any dish. The waiters will be happy to recommend a wine (€6 to €12 by the glass) to suit your tastes, whether you like a crisp, dry white or a dark and oaky red. An impressive selection of beers, both chiara and rossa are also available. Make an evening of it with a post dinner spirit, or take coffee and head home.
A little saucer of chocolate fondue comes with the bill, with sweet crumbly biscuits and mini meringue for dipping; a lovely little treat to end a wonderful meal (or perhaps a cunning tactic to distract you from the price!)
Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22
T: +39 (0)6 687 5287
Open 7:00-19:30 (Mon-Sat), closed Sun