One meal should be eaten in this serene restaurant with its family of Donghi-like retainers. Anna, a plain young woman growing ever more sophisticated-she has learnt English in the last two years, will serve you as her Renaissance fat mother in a hairnet , the cook, and thin anxious father, the proprietor, look on from a small table in the back. This is a restaurant for which we create a narrative. Some say Mussolini dined there and others may believe it all an illusion, too perfect to be real. Wood panelling, the produce displayed, six or so tables, a bathroom for which you must traverse a courtyard. We are in the centre of old Rome, a walk from the Pantheon.
The one meal, and I warn you heed my advice or you will be disappointed: Order some red wine and fizzy water and the ravioli with spinach and ricotta. They arrive with plenty of parmesan, fresh and large in their tomato sauce, tasty, a solid beginning. Now you are ready for rabbit. But first an artichoke, a pause, and a prelude in its strange particularity. Rabbit, a literary character more than a favourite meat, here is hare without equal. Strong, in this stewed sauce, oil, much rosemary, winey or vinegary, salty. A successful dish which cannot be reduced to its ingredients. You will want more, but resist and fill yourself if you need with bread. Have some fruit, there are always clementines abundant. Others will sometimes take the rabbit off the menu and it is busy on Fridays and Saturdays, so we must not be too greedy. The lamb is ok, a little dry, the involtini a better substitute. A plate of Salami or olives may be requested. So you leave, happy and perpelexed by the brilliance of that rabbit, if you ever eat better tell Ugo and Maria, and write its story.
Cost about 35 Euros for two