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kai-m

La Pergola, Rome

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Hi all!

Well, the topic title & description say it all: Can anyone report about Rome's 3* La Pergola? Atmosphere? Price-range?

Thanks alot

greetings

kai

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Well, last visit was already in May 2003.

The atmosphere seems rather classic but the food is modern. I still think it is the best restaurant of Rome as it is about creative food. The wine list is one of the best I have ever seen and the service is also one of the best I have ever encountered (and the maître d' wrote a book on this, together with the German chef).

Try to get a table at the window, overlooking the old town, and if it is nice wether, you can have your apéritif at the terrace.

Count on about 200 € per person, if you go for the biggest menu.

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Thank you Paul!!

We'll be there in late summer, can't wait...

But Iam still curious: nobody else been there?!? Unbelievable...

best

kai

PS: by the way: after your post we skipped our Copenhagen trip for now, since it would have been primarily for dinner at Noma (it is L'Arnsbourg now)...thanks again!!


Edited by kai-m (log)

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PS: by the way: after your post we skipped our Copenhagen trip for now, since it would have been primarily for dinner at Noma (it is L'Arnsbourg now)...thanks again!!

La Pergola will be excellent, I am sure; I have been there several times and always enjoyed it!

My opinion [too simple for two stars] about Norma is a rare one, I have noticed, but personnaly I gather that L'Arnsbourg is much more interesting than Noma.

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We have secured a reservation for october 6 now - can hardly wait...!

Still I cannot believe that *nobody* has been to rome and La Pergola in the past months...?!?

best

kai

(by the way, paul: the 6 course menu is 175,- by now - so I guess it'll be rather 250 p.p. even though I hear that wine is not as expensive in italian restaurants...)

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We have secured a reservation for october 6 now - can hardly wait...!

Still I cannot believe that *nobody* has been to rome and La Pergola in the past months...?!?

best

kai

(by the way, paul: the 6 course menu is 175,- by now - so I guess it'll be rather 250 p.p. even though I hear that wine is not as expensive in italian restaurants...)

I was there last July and the tasting menu was as follows:

-Warm carpaccio of tuna on "pappa al pomodoro"

-Duck liver escalope caramelized in balsamic vinegar on lemon foam with mint ice-crush

-Green tortellini with seafood

-Medallions of lobster on clear coconut water with vanilla perfume

-Intermezzo of white asparagus, mushrooms and Parmesan mousse

-Fillet of sea bream in liquorice crust with sweet pepper and tarragon sauce

-Fillet of calf marinated with yoghurt on purée of apricots and “mou” "sauce

-A fine selection of cheese from the trolley

-Grand dessert

Of course appreciation is very personal and dependent on your day. I went there kind of unnoticed as I was on a waiting list, and had had lunch kind of late, having just arrived from Brazil in that very day. So I went there tired and not too hungry…

But the fact is it was really great. Sometimes amazing, ranking along Arzak and Can Fabes as my greatest dinning experiences so far.

To my taste, in order of preference:

The Fois Gras was sensational – not disliking, but not being a huge fan of traditional “lamb with mint” (one can have much better lambs), this one is a completely different experience. When you put the fois and the lemon foam in your mouth, it is already great, but then you add mint ice crush, and it explodes in your mouth…Jesus.

Aspargus is not my forte. I don’t eat it normally. But this one is a revelation. Its interaction with the mushrooms and the mousse… If my memory does not fail me, there was a bit of traditional balsamic vinegar to add to it. Quite a good surprise.

Calf – the sauce was delicious and the meat one of the softest I’ve had, it melts in the mouth. Only thing is, the taste of the meat itself could be a bit stronger. I’ve had this type of meat before in France and the flavor was more present. But I make this comment because of the level of this restaurant. In other places I would not even think about it.

The Lobster was pretty good, very subtle. The taste grows in the mouth.

Amuse-Bouche was three slices of different fishes with various sauces with increasing present taste. It was a really good start.

Sea Bream and Carpaccio the less good, more regular, but nicely done.

The Tortellini was perhaps the less interesting. Well done and all, but just good pasta.

Now with no preference order:

Cheese was of top quality as usual in this type of restaurant, some really interesting ones with truffles and so on.

Pastries are a succession of delicious goods with every taste and sweet. I had to ask for another one of the passion fruit. Then there are variations on Tiramisu, chocolates. A feast.

And the service is the finest I’ve ever had. It was said they have a book on the matter and they are well suited to write it.

All in all, I had the full above menu, and my wife the variation with two less courses. Without wine it cost us EUR 460.

I hope this helps…and remember I’m just a food lover, not a real gourmet as others here, so you don’t have to raise your expectations too high with my comments and get disappoint when you get there! 


Just trying to eat some good food and learn in the process with all the well versed foodies here. Please don't hold me too accountable for my so personal opinions! :)

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Wow, thansk for the great report, mbernstein!

This puts my expectations even higher...

Iam surprised about your pasta-comment, though, since Beck is famous for his pasta dishes...

How was atmosphere? Very formal (not to say "stiff")? (I find it kinda funny that waiters in italian upscale places still wear those black, old fashioned, tux-like suits and those huge bow-ties...)

One question regarding the price: 460,- euros just for 2 menus (one 6-course & one 9-course)?? Wow!

Or does that include some kinda drinks & coffee & tip?

Because as far as I know the large menu at La Pergola is around 190,- and the "smaller" one 175 - which would be rather like 360,-...

And can you comment on wine and/or drink prices?

Just curious, since tasting-menus in german 3*-restos cost way less (between 120,- and 160,-) but wine/champagne/water is more expensive than in italy, as far as I have experienced.

Thanks alot!

best

kai

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Wow, thansk for the great report, mbernstein!

This puts my expectations even higher...

Iam surprised about your pasta-comment, though, since Beck is famous for his pasta dishes...

1- Pasta: I was in Italy for 17 days and I discovered that for me (let's never forget this) the pastas in the better restaurants (see # 5 below) I went were a bit disappointing compared to the ones from simpler, less ambitious places. Of course I could have been influenced by the other courses of the menu in each restaurant, but honestly I remember better a Tagliollini al Tartufo Nero that I had at the Matricianella in Rome (very good for everyday meal), or a Pasta I had in a very hidden restaurant in Sicily called Vittorio (this is a must in Sicily - simple but tasty as hell) than in those better ones. May be a sacrilege, but...

2- Atmosphere: yes, formal, you can say a bit stiff and DON'T FORGET YOUR JACKET, although no tie needed. The decor is not to my taste at all. It is something that should have been "sophisticated" 20 years ago that aged not so well. Although it is pristine, immaculate. The view is a big charm.

3- Price. Your prices on the tasting menus seem correct. Let's see the reason it added to 460. We didn't have any alcohol. We drank only water. But there is a big menu on water with prices varying from EUR 7 to 30, 40 (?), if I'm not mistaken. We probably had 4 bottles of the 10. Then I gave probably 50 bucks as a tip. I didn't think it was fair to give any less. From the level of care it seems that the waiter doesn't wait on more than 2 tables. 3 at the most. And they rare eally attentive and take their time with you if you need info on the dishes and preparation, etc. There you have: 190+175+50+40=455...

4- I didn't want to take a look at the wine list as I didn't want to be tempted! My wife doesn't drink and there is no wine to harmonize with such a vast menu. I was told there is a restaurant in Rome called Agata and Romeo, if I'm not wrong, that has one glass of different wines for every course of the tasting menu. I didn't go there, but this seems a really great idea.

5- Prices 2: I've been to one Michelin one star, which is better regarded in other guides (Torre del Saracino) and one Michelin two stars (Taverna del Capitano) and they cost both 195 for two tasting menus with no wine again. That's the range of prices in center/south Italy for this level of restaurant. And in Rome they would be even more expensive. As a consolation think that in France they are even more expensive...than in Rome!

best


Just trying to eat some good food and learn in the process with all the well versed foodies here. Please don't hold me too accountable for my so personal opinions! :)

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Thanks for the details, mbernstein!

We will definetely try Matricianella (we have 4 nights in rome).

Regarding sicily: where exactly is that restaurant "Vittorio"? We have been to sicily 3 times (my girlfriend is sicilian) but never heard of it...

best

kai

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Thanks for the details, mbernstein!

We will definetely try Matricianella (we have 4 nights in rome).

Regarding sicily: where exactly is that restaurant "Vittorio"? We have been to sicily 3 times (my girlfriend is sicilian) but never heard of it...

best

kai

I guess I can post a link here with no commercial purposes: http://www.davittorioristorante.com/default.htm

This is about 80 km to the west of Agrigento, near the city of Menfi. The Albergo itself is very simple, as well as the restaurant. If you stay for the night you can include the full dinner, which is really good. The beach which it faces is very nice.

I heard the meal changes according to the will of the chef and what came from the sea that day. I didn't actually choose what I ate. I like the tasting menus (I suppose you can this one like this) and just ask for them expecting to be surprised.

The one I had started with a series of sea fruits with various sauces and different preparations: grilled, fried... Nothing fancy but very flavored, with tasty ingredients. Around 7 things. Delicious. At this point me and my wife were completely "sold" to the chef. And relieved. Because at first the Albergo was in on our planned way. But my wife got sick one day and I had to rearrange our whole schedule and Da Vittorio became a 160 km detour for us (80 way in; 80 way out). We had to pass Agrigento (which we still had to visit the next morning) in the wrong direction for us. It took us almost 2 hours to get there and the Albergo is so simple, that we didn't expect too much from the dinner. Don't take me wrong, it would be a nice stop as was the case in our initially planned route. But to spend 2 hours going there and coming back to Agrigento... My wife smiled at me sarcastically, and I feared failure! :biggrin: Luckily, we got our rewards.

After the starters (?!) there is the pasta. A variation of "alla Norma". Simple and so good. I had to force myself to stop eating it as there was a last course of grilled fishes and sea fruits (this was the most usual part of the meal, although everything was very good, just taken from the sea - good but unsurprising). The wine was cheap. If my bad memory does not betray me I had a Planeta Nero D'avola for EUR 25, which I liked a lot. The total for the night plus dinner was 150 (not incl the wine). But you can go there only for dinner and I believe lunch is the same.

La Pergola and Da Vittorio were the most remarkable meals I had in my trip, and the good thing was that they were in the opposite extremes in terms of restaurant classification: local/international, simple/fancy, cheap/expensive...

I just hope you agree with me at least partially when you go to those places. I don't want to be accountable for any big disappointments... :rolleyes:

Wow, I'm on witting spree...


Just trying to eat some good food and learn in the process with all the well versed foodies here. Please don't hold me too accountable for my so personal opinions! :)

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As an Italian (though living in London since time immemorial) and therefore a daily pasta-eater, I find the previous comments on pasta interesting and very perceptive.

It agrees with my experience that often one finds marvellous pasta dishes in humbler places, and slightly underwheming dishes in posher ones. Though I've never been to a three starred restaurant, it is true that superior chefs sometimes find it hard to insert in the pasta dish that necessary earthiness (which does not mean heaviness).

Now I frequent more London restaurants than ones in Italy, but a memorable one I had in Italy recently is this one (Linguine Setaro with 'clams' and courgettes), at Ristorante l'Ortica on Lake Garda (unfortunately quite far from Rome). Note the quantity of clams, which many multi-starred chefs would refrain from putting in the dish.

Man

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Then I gave probably 50 bucks as a tip.

was there a coperto included as well? it's great that you tipped on top though most italians probably would have left much less. contrary to what most people think, servers/barmen (i'm one of them) in italy make very little money in terms of hourly wage in most restaurants and bars.

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was there a coperto included as well?  it's great that you tipped on top though most italians probably would have left much less.  contrary to what most people think, servers/barmen (i'm one of them) in italy make very little money in terms of hourly wage in most restaurants and bars.

I don't remember about the coperto. And, yes, now I understand why the waiter was so thankful. Although being far from rich, going to restaurants like La Pergola is my personal sin once in a while, I'm glad I did it. They deserved it.


Just trying to eat some good food and learn in the process with all the well versed foodies here. Please don't hold me too accountable for my so personal opinions! :)

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Yeah, my girlfriends cousin, a sicilian who lives in palermo, told us that italian waiters love german (and other foreign) guests, because they tip so well as opposed to italians...

But at a place like La Pergola, where, at least as I've read somewhere, the "super rich jet set" of rome makes for most of the guest, I would've thought that huge tips are rather common...

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Curious to know Kai-m experience at La Pergola. If he hates me, indifferent or agrees...

Yeah, my girlfriends cousin, a sicilian who lives in palermo, told us that italian waiters love german (and other foreign) guests, because they tip so well as opposed to italians...

But at a place like La Pergola, where, at least as I've read somewhere, the "super rich jet set" of rome makes for most of the guest, I would've thought that huge tips are rather common...


Just trying to eat some good food and learn in the process with all the well versed foodies here. Please don't hold me too accountable for my so personal opinions! :)

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So finally, here is a short summary of our visit to La Pergola on april 5th 2008 (@mbernstein: we had to cancel our trip last year):

We went for a 6-course-menu.

1. Carpaccio of scallops on amaranth grain and black corn

with ginger oil

2. Cylinder of scampi with olive oil powder and tapioca vinaigrette

3. Fagotelli "La Pergola"

4.1. Crispy red mullet with spring herbs

4.2. Amberjack with cime de rape sauce and salt cod snow

5. Duck liver and lobster medaillons with lime-"air" and raw pea-sprouts.

6. Grand dessert

Well, what can I say: All in all it was a very disappointing meal.

Okay, the ingredients were first rate - but what else would you expect in a 3* restaurant?!

The problems were:

-Extremely small portions

-Lack of flavor

-Lack of complexity in the compositions and the flavors.

-Lack of a real "dramatic arc" in the menu.

For example the bitterness of the pea sprouts was "killing" the lobster and the foie gras - which weren't seasoned at all, so it seemed...

The salt cod snow didn't do anything for the amberjack. So why was it there?

And a little piece of "crispy red mullet" with some herb-leaves on the plate qualifies for a 3* dish??

The "Grand Dessert" was a mass of small plates that were banal in taste - but at least the lime-soufflee was really excellent.

The amuses bouches, a "variation of melanzane and red pepper" was a joke - I don't remenber any of it. It may be the most boring amuses I have ever had in michelin-*-restaurant and it certainly was not worth 3*...

The best dish, I have to say, was the Fagotelli "La Pergola": amazing, just amazing!! A true 3* dish...I would love to eat a pure pasta-degustation-menu by heinz beck one day...!

Regarding the service: for a restaurant whose chef has written a big, fat book about the "art of service", the service was far from perfect. For example it was forgotten to bring the famous salt-and-pepper-selection to our table - we had to do without...

But all my kudos go to maitre simone pinoli! What a charming, welcoming man!! Wonderful, really wonderful! To me, he is the quintessential maitre.

Apart from the slightly arrogant sommelier and the snobbish manager, who only seemed to visit the "VIP"-tables, the young waiters were friendly and quite good - apart from one guy who had a subtle way of showing us that he thought we were stupid tourists on a "big night"...for example when I asked him about the filling of the fagotelli (I wanted to know how it was done) he just replied: "That is a carbonara sauce. You know: the famous italian sauce..." Oh well, thank you very much... :angry:

And I wonder: there is golden cutlery and a sterling silver box for the petits fours - but when you get coffee, the sugar comes in little paper bags...

To summarize it: the food was not bad - it was quite good, of course.

But if I pay 170,- euros for a menu, I expect every course to be a little sensation. That was not the case here - not nearly.

I have the impression, that at La Pergola you pay for the luxurious environment, the golden cutlery and the antiques that are on display, not for the quality of the food - really sad, because Iam sure that Heinz Beck can be a great chef...

best

kai


Edited by kai-m (log)

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Well, I can only be glad that I made my disclaimers when I recommended it! :rolleyes:


Just trying to eat some good food and learn in the process with all the well versed foodies here. Please don't hold me too accountable for my so personal opinions! :)

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I will be going this July - I'll give you all an update. Likely we'll be on the terrace, which is supposed to be magical - so my views may be biased by the view.

BTW- I read they will be redecorating in August.

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The view is really nice, indeed. When were there, there was even a huge fireworks right in front of the terrace, due to a wedding in the house...gorgeous!

Can't wait to read your update!

(Speaking of a nice view: a friend of mine raves about the restaurant in the hotel hassler: great view of the spanish steps and fantastic food)

greetings

kai

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mdbasile,

As you can see from my posts, I had a wonderful time in La Pergola. After almost two years when I think back about the best restaurants I've been to, and think "best lamb", "best foies", "best dessert", La Pergola is among the top and the Foies Gras and desserts never leave my mind.

So, if you are not going with the tasting menu and love Foies Gras do go for it (if it is still in the menu): Duck liver escalope caramelized in balsamic vinegar on lemon foam with mint ice-crush.

BTW I'm glad they are renovating! :)

Keep us posted.


Just trying to eat some good food and learn in the process with all the well versed foodies here. Please don't hold me too accountable for my so personal opinions! :)

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