Locanda Pasta e Ceci

Tel: +39 06 6880 8527
Address: Via dei Banchi Nuovi, 8
Cuisine Type: Calabrian
Closed: Sunday
Tables outside? No

Since our review in December 2004, Mirò has undergone a change of management and name – it’s now called Pasta e Ceci. The menu has remained largely unchanged however, though with a few additions. If anything, the food is even better than before. Our original review appears below. – Helen Wright, 10/2005

Calabrian cuisine is a treat for anyone who likes their food spicy – lots of hot sauces, and some dishes that make a great change from the standard Roman fare. And in case you’re wondering, the restaurant name has nothing to do with the Spanish artist – it’s the initial letters of the founders, Michaela and Rocco.

They weren’t in obvious attendance but there seemed to be a strong family resemblance between Primo, in charge, and the charming waiter and waitress who served us. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and there’s an attractive vaulted, cream-washed room with dark wood and checked tablecloths.

There’s a great choice of unusual antipasti so we went for the mixed plate for two. It turned out to be a meal in itself. Squares of aubergine pie and potato timbale (both delicious) were accompanied by a wonderful salad of fresh baby spinach, raw thinly-sliced mushrooms, fresh parmesan and balsamic vinegar. However these dishes were followed by a superb ratatouille-type dish and a bean and mushroom salad… and all for €11. Individual antipasti are priced at €4 – €7.

The pasta (around €8) is good. Rigatoni alla Calabrese does not, as UK visitors may suspect, contain that curiously tasteless green vegetable, not surprisingly never seen in Italy. It doescontain Italian brocoletti – the lovely stuff that looks like a green, pointy cauliflower and tastes like sprouting broccoli – and very spicy sausages, and it was very good indeed.

There are lots of different meats on offer for secondi, including spiedino. Make that spiedini, because for €8 you get two good skewers, with a great selection of meats and vegetables.

Dolci (€3 – €4) are not to be missed. We had no room but couldn’t resist anyway, and thought that by sharing an assortment (€6) we would cope. We did – just – but could hardly move afterwards. There were two types of tiny rum baba with limoncello replacing the rum: heaven, and so alcoholic it’s a good thing we weren’t driving. Then a torta della nonna that would have been superb in any restaurant but faded beside the unbelievably good apricot tart. And we hadn’t even got to the faggotini di nocciola – hazelnut ice cream encased in crisp dark chocolate…

The house red is a very soft, highly drinkable Colli Romani, in keeping with the superb value at this restaurant. Our whole meal for two came to €45, which considering the volume and the variety of what we’d had, was stunning.