Alfredo e Ada

Tel: +39 06 6878 842
Address: Via Dei Banchi Nuovi, 14
Cuisine Type: Italian
Closed: Weekends
Tables outside? No

Alas, Alfredo is no longer with us but his tiny white-haired widow Ada Ricciutelli, along with her sister and various other family members, still run the wonderful family-style restaurant they started together in 1945. It’s basic – paper on the wooden tables, bustling, crowded, seating a few more than you might think possible as people are crammed into every available space… and it’s fabulous.

Don’t expect a menu: you’ll eat what Ada has decided is good that day, starting with pasta that appears in front of you just after you’ve sat down and have poured a glass of their own white wine from the carafe awaiting you on the table. In our case it was penne with tomato and garlic, parmigiano already sprinkled, and it was wonderful.

There is sort of a choice of main course, in that there are variations. We were a group of six, and the first dish to appear was salsicce con lenticche – sausage with lentils – which pleased me just fine. But I could have waited to see what else was on offer – tender chunks of pork or beef, served with peas and spinach – and asked for that instead.

When it comes to dolci Ada gets down a battered biscuit tin, rummages in a big paper bag inside, and produces home-made biscotti – two per person (though if you praise them, as you surely will, you’ll be rewarded with a couple more).

Don’t bother to ask for coffee, because they don’t do it, and simply (but politely) change the topic of conversation until you give up…

The bill is a fixed price of around €15 per head, and what a bargain (no credit cards, by the way). This is one restaurant we have to return to.