Il Giardino Romano

 

Tel: +39 06 6880 9661
Address: Via Portico d’Ottavia, 18
Cuisine Type: Roman Jewish
Closed: Wednesdays
Tables outside? Yes

A couple of doors along from one of Rome’s most famous Jewish restaurants, Da Giggetto, with its tables sprawling out on the pavement, is an unassuming doorway. Inside is a Tardis of a restaurant with cool mosaic floors and a series of pretty rooms leading to a tiny walled garden. A graceful overhanging tree turns this area into a cool oasis on the hottest day, and good food and friendly service complete the picture for a memorable meal.

The menu is relatively short. The delicious selection of antipasti includes carciofi alla giudei(whole baby artichokes flattened and deep fried until crisp), stuffed fiore di zuccaolive ascolane – stuffed olives rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried – and baby mozzarelle given the same treatment. Not good for diets, but too good to miss. Order the antipasto misto della casa. (Occasionally you will also get a piece of delicious fish.)

After OD-ing on antipasti we didn’t have room to test out either pasta or pizze, but the fresh fish (especially rombo con patate e tomate) is excellent and my dish of grilled radicchio was the best I had ever tasted. The tender bistecca is cooked to order on a personal barbecue.

The standard Italian puddings and sorbets were available but also, refreshingly, slices of perfectly ripe watermelon. The staff can also be coaxed into making up sgroppini – a wicked blend of lemon sorbet and vodka, which at this establishment requires a spoon. Not always available, but the limoncello served with slivers of ice is more than compensatory. Mid-price.