Sette alle Sette

Tel: +39 06 6879 603
Address: Vicolo Montevecchio, 2/A
Cuisine Type: Modern Italian
Tables outside? Yes

Open just over a year, Sette alle Sette is another of those charming, tiny restaurants just a step away from the heaving hordes of Piazza Navona that amply reward customers willing to explore beyond the main streets. Elegant and minimalist with dark wood tables upstairs, there’s a whole new world down some atmospheric candle-lit stairs in a white cave of a basement – deliciously cool even on the hottest day. We wanted to savour the warm evening, however and although the tables balance rather precariously on sloping Roman cobbles, we had a terrific evening.

The menu is short and interesting. Antipasti (7€-10€) included millefoglie di bufalo con pesto, salmone affumicato su soncino e lime (we never quite managed to find out what soncino is, other than a green sauce, but it was good…), polpo tiepido con patate al vapore di pinoli… you see what I mean. The star however was bruschettone Sette alle Sette. A big slab of toasted bread cut into hefty soldiers, with four pots of do-it-yourself sauce – carciofi, olive nere, tartufo and, best of all, a sublime crema di salmone. I could have happily snacked all night on this fare.

Pasta dishes (8€-10€) include classics such as cacio e pepe but also some more unusual options – risotto ai tre ceriali con crema di scampetti, for example. I was tempted by tonarelli con brocoletti e salsicia – I can rarely resist Italian brocoletti, which is not only delicious but has a sculptural beauty completely lacking in any English relatives – but we went straight to secondi (10€-16€).

This is a restaurant that likes its meat. Saltimbocca or filetto di manzo al pepe rosa… or their speciality, a Fiorentina (the closest equivalent is T-bone steak) charged by weight, served in a salt crust with rosemary. It had a good flavour, and was served just as requested – but be warned, their smallest on offer was more of an American sized portion than standard Italian. Salads and contorni are 6€-6.50€.

We really weren’t going to have a pudding (8€). No, really. But our friendly waitress Camilla, whose slight lack of professional polish just added to her charm, persuaded us that we really should try the tortina di cioccolata, and she was right. It was a fabulous, soft chocolate splodge (I really can’t think of another word) with crema inglese, and the flavour was intense enough to make a true chocaholic swoon.

House white was decent value but a little sweet; probably better to look at the interesting and reasonably priced wine list.

A charming candlelit establishment in a lovely quite backstreet, with interesting food – what more could you ask for? We’ll be back.