Olivella & Mariarosa

Tel: +39 06 48 87 81
Address: Via del Boschetto 73/74
Closed: Sundays

06/03: This restaurant has closed… we are trying to find out if it has moved elsewhere…

In tasteful but simple surroundings – between Santa Maria Maggiore and the Quirinale – expect a taste sensation.

Among the antipasti, the salmone marinato al sale ed aghi de pino in salsa bergamotto is sliced salmon cured in salt and pine needles, served with a genteel bergamot sauce. It is altogether juicier and more flavourful than smoked salmon. Or try the Insalata di seppie al sesamo all’aceto de mele – the squid are grilled to succulent perfection and served in a seductive drizzle of honey vinegar with sesame seeds – a perfect combination.

There is a brief but comprehensive range of primi piatti, from risotto to pasta – and there is also a regularly changing menu insert – ask for the Italian menu if you are ‘helpfully’ given the English. It’s fuller and has the insert. The penne arrabiata were the best we’ve had anywhere.

Among the inventive secondi perhaps the most intriguing was Pesce in crosta di riso rosso italiano – a tender and juicy fillet (sea bass) coated in cooked risotto and then fried so that the rice becomes crunchy. A wonderful idea that, I understand, comes from Southeast Asia.

There is a short but satisfying selection of home-made dolci, and the wine list – also short – is almost unnecessary in view of the excellent quality of the house wines, especially the white. The limoncello is home-made and powerful but very smooth.

Mostly local clientele.