Tuesday, June 2, 2009


No, Carlo Petrini, honorary President and Founder of Slowfood, didn't check with me first. It was simply a matter of good taste that IL QUINTO QUARTO, one of the select restaurants in my book Flavors of Rome: How What, and Where to Eat in the Eternal City, was chosen by the picky-picky panel of Slowfood judges as best trattoria in Lazio for 2009.

IL QUINTO QUARTO is just a few side steps off the beaten tourist trail in Rome, closer to Vatican City than to the Colosseum in the Ponte Milvio area, across the famous Milvian bridge where the Emperor Constantine defeated Maxentius in 312 A.D., thereby ushering in the age of Christianity to Rome. (It's always nice to absorb a little history on the way to dinner.)

One of only two restaurants in the region which offers exclusively the food and wine from the region of Lazio-- of which Rome is the capital, IL QUINTO QUARTO serves all the traditional dishes from the treasury of Roman cuisine as well as some innovative twists on these classics.

Pasta alla gricia, case in point, is a basic and simple Roman recipe of pasta (spaghetti or rigatoni perhaps) with guanciale (similar to pancetta but from the jowl of the pig), lots of ground black pepper, and pecorino romano.

One day having lunch at IL QUINTO QUARTO, I ordered a featured dish of rigatoni alla gricia con le pere. the variation on this classic being le pere (pears), little juicy fresh pear niblets adding a subtle sweetness to but not over-whelming the sharpness of the original composition.

S0 Brava, Bravissima to Angela Pagano, my friend and colleague, and her extraordinary team at IL QUINTO QUARTO.

Osteria "Il Quinto Quarto"
Via della Farnesina, 13
00134 - Roma | Tel. 06 3338768

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