Trattoria de ‘Gli Amici’

Trattoria de Gli AmiciTel: +39 06 58 06 033
Address: Piazza Sant’ Egidio
Cuisine Type: Modern Italian
Closed: Sunday
Tables outside? Yes
Website: Trattoria de ‘Gli Amici’

The Trattoria de ‘Gli Amici’ is situated in one of the lovely, quieter squares in Trastevere, perfectly positioned to do some people watching as it’s on the main route from the Ponte Sisto to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, but protected from the bustle by thick vegetation.

It was one of the few days on my recent visit to Rome that it was (just about) warm enough to eat outside at lunchtime, and we were charmed by the provision of soft rugs over the back of each chair – just in case you needed to wrap one around your shoulders.

That was the first indication that this isn’t just any Trattoria. The next came when reading the huge paper place mats covering the smart aluminium tables. It’s a co-operative sponsored by the Community of Sant’Egidio, set up in Rome in 1968. Today it is a movement of lay people and has more than 50,000 members, dedicated to evangelisation and charity, in Rome, Italy and in more than 70 countries throughout the world.

The Trattoria is managed and staffed by a mixture of people with disabilities, mental or physical, and their able-bodied friends, and the results are very good indeed. On a quiet day, as this was, the service can be almost too attentive but it’s always helpful, and the food is terrific, from a short and obviously regularly changed menu.

Antipasti are simple but stunning: burrata (an amazingly rich creamy cheese) with sun-dried tomatoes and rughetta was one of the best I’ve had, absolutely fresh. Similarly buffalo mozzarella (two good sized eggs) was superb. Both were very keenly priced at €5.

Primi (€8 – €12) included a delicious raviolo con radicchio e gorgonzola and secondi (€12 – €19) offer both fish and meat options. Straccetti con carciofi e parmigiano (€14) was excellent, the artichokes shredded and lightly fried and the whole covered with wafer-thin slices of parmesan. Filetto di maialino con pepe (€14) was also delicious – slow-cooked, tender pork with a creamy green peppercorn sauce.

The house white was Sicilian – Planeta La Segreta – and very good value at €13. All the wines are part of a scheme called “Wine for Life” that supports DREAM, which funds AIDS programmes in Africa.

We didn’t get as far as the dolci (€4.50 – €6) but I’d like to come back to try them – if they are as good as the burrata it will be well worth a second visit.