Not so much a restaurant, more a place to go whenever you need to sit down, relax and take a cup of coffee or tea, a glass of wine, a cocktail or a light meal, Caffé Novecento consists of tiny rooms with eclectic, mostly period furnishings. Tiny tables, plants and soft lighting add to the feeling of sitting in someone’s parlour. The all-female staff are pleasant and very friendly and the cooking is generally innovative and modern.
There’s quite an eastern influence too in a range of cous cous dishes (€7), definitely a meal in themselves and with a variety of fresh and healthy ingredients. We couldn’t resist the sformati (€8), one based on melanzane with ham and the freshest, creamiest mozarella di bufala imaginable, the other with potato and prosciutto. They weren’t really my idea of a – more like loose layers – but they were delicious.
Then on to a huge range of warm salads (€9), from which we sampled orzo e verdure (baby spinach, other greens, pearl barley) and radicchio e Bufala, warm grilled radicchio with mozarella balls, rugetta and parmesan flakes. They were good but could have done with a bit more zing.
As so often in Rome, alas, we had no room to try the wonderful selection of torte on offer, and I think next time I’ll drop in just for a glass of wine and a slice of something wicked. Wine comes by the bottle or the glass and is not cheap by Roman standards, but there’s a much wider selection than in the average Roman restaurant. The Muller-Thurgau (€20) we tasted was crisp and delicious.
You’d hardly believe you’re close to the seething hordes in Piazza Navona…
Editor’s note: Recent reports have indicated prices have gone up considerably – any comments on your experience here are welcome.