Monserrato

Tel: +39 06 6873 386
Address: Via Monserrato, 96
Closed: Mondays and three weeks in August

Monserrato is a tiny restaurant close to Piazza Farnese with tables outside in summer in Piazza Santa Caterina della Rota. In colder weather the lack of space inside makes it a little cramped – don’t come here for a private conversation.

Our Roman friends say that ten years ago this was a great restaurant. The food is still good (though slightly pricy for Rome) but the service left much to be desired on our visit – not the fault of the waiter, who did his best to cover all the tables, as far as we could tell. The management, on the other hand, stood around doing nothing but get in the way – very odd.

Fish, which dominates the menu, is reckoned to be particularly good here and certainlycarpaccio di spada was an excellent starter. The self-service antipasto selection was adequate but not exciting, though the warm carciofi alla Romana that appeared just in time for sampling were superb.

Pasta dishes are also mostly fishy, with prawns and clams in abundance, in varying combinations with artichokes and funghi porcini.

Swordfish, rombo (turbot, the king of fish in Italy in my opinion) and sea bass were all available as secondi, but there are also meat dishes too. Straccheti di manzo con rughetta – thin strips of beef with rocket – were tender and tasty. Steak was also good (but then it always is in Rome).

Our meal had already become so protracted by the time we reached the pudding stage that we had lost interest, alas. There is no house red wine – the closest equivalent was a Lagrein (€ 13.50) that was frankly not great.

It’s sad when a restaurant that used to be great lets itself go in this way. Maybe we were unlucky – there were people happy to wait for a table, which suggests Monserrato still has its admirers. For an estimated average price of €55 per head, I think you can do a lot better elsewhere.