La Scaletta degli Artisti is one of Rome’s old established restaurants serving local specialities such as carciofi alla Romana, tripe, coda alla vaccinara (oxtail) at reasonable prices.
The outside tables are very pleasant in this quiet street close to Piazza Navona and the service is charmingly eccentric (by which I mean that the waiter is a character, in the best sense).
Antipasto della Scaletta and Antipasto all’Italiana (both €6.50) were a little disappointing. The former consisted of vegetables (the usual suspects – melanzane, zucchini, pepperoni) that were reputedly roasted but seemed to have been boiled in oil instead – reasonably tasty but far from exciting. The latter provided three types of affettati – a good salami, ditto culatello, and some strong-tasting ham. We’ve had better.
Moving on, our primi and secondi piatti were better. Tagliolini con limone (€7) was a lighter version of the one we used to adore at Ciampini (sadly no longer on the menu there), with no cream but very fresh lemon and thin strips of peel. My polpette con piselli (€8.50) were delicious: soft-textured and well-flavoured flattened meatballs with fresh peas in a fresh tomato and basil sauce.
This is solid, basic fare – there were lots of other dishes on the menu that would tempt me back, prime among them being maialino con patate (€11) and salsicce con broccoli (€10) – and it’s always encouraging when most of the clientele is Italian, despite the proximity to tourist-heavy Piazza Navona. House wine is good at €7/litre.
Dolci consist of the basics (fresh fruit, tiramisù etc) but also fresh ricotta (€4), caciotta (€5.50) or formaggi misti (€8). I meant to try the Coppa dell’artista (€5) – mixed gelati – but ran out of space. Next time. I’m going to assume the antipasto cook was having an off day.