Arco di S. Calisto

Tel: +39 06 58 18 323 – +39 06 58 06 991
Address: Via Arco di San Calisto 45, Trastevere, 00153 Roma

Cuisine Type: Classic Roman
Closed: Open every day
Tables outside? Yes

Just off Piazza San Calisto (and very close to the heart of the district, Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere) Ristorante Arco di S. Calisto is a real treat – so much so that we had to go back two days after our first visit and check we hadn’t just been lucky. At lunchtime it’s popular with journalists but in the evening there’s a very mixed crowd, on balmy evenings at tables spread out in the quiet street. The interior is inviting too – look for the huge fire under the griddle when you visit the loos…

There’s a short but varied menu, mostly Roman dishes, and although some reviews I’ve seen suggest otherwise, we found the food to be excellent and good value and the service charming. Antipasto San Calisto (€11) is a good mix of carciofi alla Romana (whole baby artichokes cooked with roman mint), buffalo mozzarella, fiore di zucca (stuffed zucchini flowers), bruschette, salami and prosciutto. Good for sharing! Misto mare (€13) is another option – octopus, calamari and smoked salmon (the latter too salty for my taste).

Pasta dishes are reasonably priced at €9-11 but we discovered that the secondi are the stars here. The saltimbocca (literally, ‘jump in the mouth’ – thin veal escalopes with ham and sage, €13) were the best I have ever tasted; likewise, the grilled calamari (€15) were declared fabulous (‘this may be the best thing I’ve had in Rome’ is a direct quote). There are lots of other grills too (€13-18). Contorni (€5) are interesting but my cicoria con aglio, olio e peperoncino was disappointing – very little heat.

Ah, a restaurant with good dolci… the souffle al cioccolato was superb, and a steal at €5. Or try the panna cotta con cioccolato or frutti di bosco. There’s also cheese at €7 or €8 for a mixture.

House white is a lovely Frascati Superiore (€12).

This has moved immediately into the league of restaurants we have to come back to each time we’re in Rome – I don’t know why other reviewers were disappointed because we found nothing but good here.