Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gianni's with Charlie Q & Southern Bella

Before reading any further: go to itunes and download a podcast called Rome Review.

Two years ago, during my first trip to Rome, we ate at this charming "restaurant" in Trastevere. Prior to that trip I had read about it New York magazine, which did not give the address, and, believe it or not, it was on our street in Rome (of all the streets in Rome!). I use the term restaurant loosely, because it is, in fact, operated out of the chef and proprietor's (Gianni) apartment. There are tables in the kitchen and in the street, and, it has become popular enough to require a reservation for a table.

After that first trip to Rome, I found Charlie Q's podcast and website called Rome Review (imagine a Zagat guide for Rome, plus more). I wrote him an e-mail, asking if he had heard about this restaurant, and if there is an underground restaurant scene in Rome. He is an authority on all this Roman, except for this topic. He had never heard of it, or anything like it. Well, flash forward two years, I am back in Rome, and lucky enough to meet Charlie Q and his girlfriend, Rome Review podcast's very own Southern Bella, in person. Two of the nicest people in the world, they generously hosted me around town: lunch, gelato, nighclub, drinks, sushi, more drinks...and I showed them Gianni's.

Surprisingly, the menu hadn't changed much since my last visit. We were started off with the same appetizers: squash puree, bruschetta and beans. Then we had a couple of options for pasta, I choose the carbonara, but I should have ordered the cacio e pepe instead.

For the main course we had the option of squid or chicken, and we all got the chicken. Juicy, tender chicken with rosemary, olive oil and balsamic vinegar on a bed of greens.

For dessert (the same as before) macerated strawberries and limoncello. The price fixed at 25 Euro, worth it if you take advantage of the limoncello bottle left at your table.

Not the cheapest meal in town, but certainly unique. Now, everyone go to itunes and download the latest Rome Review podcast: I recorded a segment with Charlie Q about our experience at Gianni's. Also, coming soon, our podcast segment about sushi in Rome.

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