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Tel: +39 06 580 3775
Address: Piazza S. Maria in Trastevere, 3
Cuisine Type: Classic Roman
Closed: Monday
Tables outside? Yes

Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere is another of those magic places where you can watch daily life Roman-style, despite the tourists in this picturesque quarter. The ancient (11th century) mosaics of the church (and its bell gently reminding you how long you’ve spent over your meal) contrast with the locals chatting, keeping half an eye on their dogs and children as they play round the (16th century) fountain or kick a football.

Galeassi hasn’t been there as long as the church, but it’s venerable nonetheless – founded in 1907 – and doing much better business than the more famous Sabatini across the square. I don’t think it was just because it catches more sun, though its sheltered position certainly is a treat in spring.

The menu includes some classic Roman dishes. As antipasta, carciofi Romanesca, for example – small whole artichokes perfectly cooked in wine and herbs (€5), though our Roman friend might sniff that there wasn’t much mentuccia in evidence. A misunderstanding brought asparagi con burro instead of the expected carpaccio di pesce spada, but it was a very happy accident. The asparagus was young, fresh and delicious – a real treat and an absolute bargain at €5.

Our secondi di carne (€12) each came garnished with a portion of funghi porcini – a nice gesture, though the texture was a little uneven. My scallopine al limone was good – tender veal, very tart lemon – as was saltimbocca alla Romana.

The waiters are charming, professional and helpful. There was no cheese, for some unknown reason, the day we visited – but after a short delay, and without fuss, a small (and good) selection was found (€8). This is the sort of service that lingers in the memory. Mind you they should be good – they’ve obviously been doing it long while, most of them being very definitely senior citizens. I therefore trusted the reccommendation that the home-made tiramisu was worth trying – and indeed it was (€5).

As so often in Rome, we didn’t bother to look beyond the house wine – who needs to? Here the house red is very soft (surprisingly so for a Lazio wine), mostly cabernet franc and at 11%, perfect for lunchtime drinking.

This is a delightful restaurant in a delightful spot, and well worth a visit (or two). The interior is classy too, for cooler evenings (or hot summer days).

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