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Foodie Itinerary February Rome Trip Report

Kalenden | Feb 11, 201801:37 AM     2


This community has been so kind to help me out with a foodie itinerary for Rome, see https://www.chowhound.com/post/foodie...
so I've decided to write up a bit of a report and, of course, invite some comments!

So in the end we did Armando Al Pantheon, La Pergola, Mesob, Metamorfosi and Checchino Dal 1887.

#### Armando Al Pantheon:
Classic 4 course meal. Very good. Went with recommendations of the waiter but would not do so again.
Anti-Pasti were good but samey (2x cheese).
The Pasta Gricia was extremely good, do recommend that!
The secondi patti was a strong truffled sauce with veal. Reminded me a bit of a classic dish we have in Belgium so would have taken another if I had known, but it was very good!
Dolci was a Torta, good as well.
We paired wines, also based on suggestions. These were good as well.
Service was friendly and correct but in a business/factory-like manner.

Overall, good food, good service, a great first evening in Rome. Classic, but as we wanted it to. I would not mind going again but would then go with more adventurous options. Did get the impression we got a basic 'tourist' treatment, which makes sense, but as foodies we try to go a bit beyond that.

#### La Pergola:
Full tasting menu with wine pairing.
Phenomenal, as can be expected at this level.
Highlights were the Fagotelli and Winter Garden Dishes.
Top-notch. Good wines. Extremely professional but still warm service, warmer than Armando.

Overall, In everything it erred on the safer, more classic side of Michelin starred restaurants. The classic Italian grapes & wines. Not too experimental.
I was a bit disappointed that, in my opinion, it did not reflect Heinz's Beck philosophy of a 'healthy' cooking and 'how you feel after the meal is as important as during'. From that perspective I had expected somewhat more restraint since many Michelin starred places sometimes go more for abundance than balance. For example, there was a sort of 'in-the-mean-time dessert' that was given during the 2 desserts and there was a, phenomenal but excessive Magic goodie box during coffee with 12 treats. It was truly phenomenal but not reflective of the health&balance philosophy.
That said, this is extremely high-level fine dining and was a blast.
I would not go again quickly, but that is to savour the experience more when I would go. For me, somewhat less classical is my personal preference but I certainly am more than happy we did it!

#### Mesob:
Horrible. We arrived a bit late for our, telephonally made, 7PM reservation to find nobody.
After ~5-10 minutes, a man came, apparently the husband of Kuki, and opened up.
It was freezing cold inside.
He came to us and gave us, but did not show a menu, and then proceeded to take the menu away because it is only in Italian and explain that he can give us what he typically gives people who come for the first time, which we loved the idea of, since we wanted to experience the authentic cuisine.
When *we* asked for a drink, he said he could give whatever. When asked what they typically drink, he just gave a bunch of weird replies. When asked if wine is drank with it, he said sure and said he'd give one. We then needed to ask what wine and he could not say more than 'red' and Sicilian'
In our naivety we agreed. We gave a lot of allowance because of the different type of kitchen.
He then left and we saw only his movement in the kitchen and came back with a wine that was just plain. When asked if there were appetizers or something like that (we were starving), he said yeah. We then asked if they were typical to Ethiopia and if we could get some. We found it odd we needed to ask for this but recall we never got to see the menu.
Then we got Sambosa, which is something we know. It was still freezing. After we got the main dish and he explained only that it were some vegetables and a meat in the middle. He did not expand upon this explanation.
The food was cold. The Injera was also cold. I do not think this is the case. Isn't the Injeera supposed to be hot and the food steeming so the Injera better absorbs the flavours?
It was also not a lot. The food was mediocre. We often cook currys and stews ourselves and we do it better.
We paid and left, still freezing.

Overall, I think something went wrong. After some time, a woman arrived. I highly suspect she was the cook and the guy just quickly gave something to get rid of us.
Horrible, we felt ripped-off. Theoretically, the idea of a nice ethnic cuisine to balance the other cuisines still appeals to me, but this was not it.

#### Metamorfosi
We took the six-course menu on recommendation, though we first asked for the 10-course but were discouraged of that.
The meal was very good. Started and ended on the more latin-american side but in the middle was very modern/contemporary Italian dishes. I liked the playfulness. The dishes were also very good, highlights is decoration and the pasta tomatoes.
Excellent wine pairings. Pure italian but not the classic ones, which I appreciated.
Jovial and nice service

Overall, it is michelin but with many endearing mistakes. The Sommelier doesn't speak English but they solved it with another waiter who knew as much or asked if needed. The cuisine is fusion/contemporary but excellent and playful though lacks a bit of a theme. Service was very warm, informal and pleasant. Wine pairing was superb, better than La Pergola.
They started with a weak impression and ended with one, but the friendliness of the service and the excellent dishes warmed us up to it.
I would not take anybody else here, but adventurous foodies who like playfulness and don't mind a mistake here and there will appreciate this type of Michelin more than La Pergola.
I'd word it as La Pergola being "merciless, classic Perfection" and Metamorfosi being "endearing, playful excellence"

### Checchino Dal 1887
We took the full historical tasting menu and paired the recommended wines.
First dish was Foot of Veal - this we did not like as much.
The second dish was two pastas, Gricia and Pajata. Both excellent, glad I got to experience Pajata. Gricia was very good, though I think I like Armando's better. Pajata was superb.
Third was Ox-tail. Good, nice, solid.
Fourth was cheeses. Also good, but two times the same one, young and old, was a bit much.
Final, Chocolate, ricotta cheese and almond cake which was excellent.
We expected odd and formal service, but they warmed up a bit after I revealed my interest and research in the restaurant and testaccio district.
Wine pairings were good, I dare say, better than Armando's

Overall, excellent meal. The food, except the first dish, was very good. Somebody described the atmosphere as odd, distant and formal which is true. But if you try to reach out, they become more friendly. I would not easily recommend it to people, but for true roman kitchen and dishes and for a more interested foodie, this is a good place to go.

So, that was it. What do you think?

Armando al Pantheon
La Pergola
Mesob Restaurant
Checchino Dal 1887
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