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mogsob

Rome Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

397 posts in this topic

Hello John.

The best meal on my last trip was lunch at La Rosetta. Near to the Pantheon.

The last couple of visits I have stayed in Frascati - Cacciani is nice. This links to places involved in the same "union".

http://www.piattidelbuonricordo.it/piatti_italiani_Lazio.htm

I didn't enjoy Ditirambo. It is well placed for campo de fiore but we were not impressed.

It is quite esay to get around on public transport (metro) so most places are only ten mins away.

Other places we have enjoyed - Al 34, Gusto, l'altro mastai, cafe universal, news bar (free wi-fi) - aristocampo - vineria il chianti - too many to mention all. We also found a really good looking fish restaurant I think on salita del grillo - not far from the colosseum. Didn't eat there but the fish on the counter looked amazing. It was not cheap though.

You should have a great time.


Martin

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Cheers, Martin.

What was up with Ditirambo? I'd started to pencil that one in already, not least with it being right on the plot for where we're staying.


John Hartley

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Recently back from a week in Frascatti. Took in a couple of lunches in Rome, firstly at Ditirambo - near Campo de Fiori. The main reason I ended up here was that I recognised the name from past trips and it had started raining heavily.

We ate Seafood tasting plate and antipasti de casa. Both were ok. The langoustine was a bit overdone and fluffy textured, but the rest of the items (scallops, razor clams and octopus) were ok. The other antipasti featured some quite nice mozzarella and ricotta, some ham and fried zucchini flowers and finally rustic pie. All tasted fine, although the pie was hot with cold spots almost like it had been microwaved.

Next came tagliolini with baby squid and clams. Simply prepared and described as "ok, just ok".

I liked the sound of tortelli of guinea fowl with truffle but they had sold out, so I chose, without adequate consideration, roast beef with potatoes and beans. This was a poor choice. It was fridge cold. The beef the beans and the potatoes, all icy cold. Didn't bother with dessert or coffee. Not the best.

Much better was lunch in La Rosetta.

We ate the E50 lunch menu comprising of five courses and as much bread as you can eat. The bread was much finer textured than the usual rustic slices offered and came with butter, perhaps beacuse we were english, but a little butter was a nice touch.

Firstly we had three very delicious oysters.

Next, a plate of three parts - tuna with strawberry vinegar and thyme - grilled octopus salmorglio sauce and potatoes - fried calamari with zucchini strings.

Pasta was rigatoni with grouper, tomato and salted ricotta. This was really good.

Next came John Dory "acqua pazza" style with potatoes. I love john dory so I was very happy.

Dessert was panna cotta with wild berries. A couple of coffees a bottle of prosecco and some water made for a very satisfying couple of hours.

It was all very delicious.

It is probably one of those places (ditirambo) that can be good - it just wasn't when we went. It was also mostly tourists. Most places will have tourists but this was almost everyone.

The plate restaurants are generally decent and often better.

Besides La pergola the other places I have looked at - but not got to are - il pagliacco - glass hostaria among others.


Edited by MaLO (log)

Martin

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DITIRAMBO

A decent restaurant just off the Campo de Fiori is bound to be a magnet for tourists. And, of course, that’s why we were there. What was, perhaps, a bit surprising is that, apart from one table occupied by Italians, we were the only Europeans in the place. Everyone else was American.

It’s a long, long way to come for decent – but only decent – food. For our first dinner in the city, we decided to order the “full Monty” – antipasto, primi, secondi, contorni – and see where that took us.

There was certainly very decent bread – baguette, foccacia and an exceptionally thin crispbread topped with sesame.

We both started with courgette flowers, stuffed with ricotta, dipped in batter and deep fried. It was a generous portion of two flowers but this was disappointing. Underflavoured, underseasoned, the filling a bit claggy and the batter a bit soggy.

Pasta was a game of two halves. Tagliatelle was good. It came with a sauce made from rabbit and sun dried tomatoes, pecorino adding a creaminess. This was a good coating consistency – but light in both taste and texture. On the other plate, two large ravioli had been stuffed with exactly the same bland ricotta mix as the previous course. They had been cooked and then finished in the pan with butter to crisp them up. It desperately needed the lift from the tomato and caper sauce.

Main courses – one lamb, one suckling pig – brought plates that could have been from anywhere in the Med.. A generous slow roast, served on the bone with a scattering of roast potatoes. Good, simple flavours here. A bowl of mixed salad to accompany, with a very good olive oil and OK balsamic to dress it.

We passed on dessert. Espresso was a decent strong cup but was luke-warm.

So, all in all, an OK dinner. Nothing to shout from the rooftops about. And, for €100, including a half bottle of Cab. Sauv. and a bottle of water, nothing close to several good value for money meals we’ve had in recent months. But, maybe, that’s the penalty for eating just off the Campo.

That'll teach me not to listen to martin's advice.


Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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A COUPLE OF LUNCHES

Il Miragggio, Via dell’Umilta. Pizza. Very average. Nothing to commend it except it was near the Trevi fountain. And so were we when we got hungry.

Trattoria da Luigi, Piazza Sforza Cesarina, off the Vittorio Emanuele. It’ll probably never make the guidebooks. And nor should it. But it offered up a decent open air lunch eaten in the company of a mainly Italian clientele. Mixed bruschetta to start on the other side of the table – three slices of bread, one topped with an artichoke puree, another with tapenade, a third with tomato and rocket. All good flavoursI’d also ordered artichokes – a salad with parmesan. Just that. Thinly sliced fried but still very crisp artichokes topped with thickly grated cheese. A lovely very lemony dressing. I followed with polpette – five meatballs covered with a really good tomato sauce, the sweetness highlighted by the addition of peas. My partner had a plate of salt cod fritters. Firm white fish, crisp light batter. Simples.


John Hartley

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ARMANDO AL PANTHEON

Situated literally a few metres away from the Pantheon, this could so easily be a complete tourist trap. But it isn’t. Of course, there were tourists, like us. Of course, places that get mentioned on international discussion boards are going to attract international customers. But it was good to see Italian customers as well – several clearly welcomed as regulars.

As to the food, there was a good mix at all courses. Some light dishes. Some much more substantiaL. A really well constructed menu, in my view.

A good selection of bread was served. More bread came in the form of bruschetta, topped with a delicious goose “ham”. Across the table, a generous portion of gnocchi with a rich tomato sauce. My partner followed this with a light main course and one that’s a long-term favourite – thinly sliced steak, a scattering of big chunks of garlic, a little dried chilli, topped with rocket; the dressing nicely astringent from balsamic.

I’d gone with the day’s “special” – osso buco. Well flavoured meat, although a tad chewy in parts, surrounded with a light gravy flavoured with peas and mushrooms. I also had a plate of mixed vegetables – peppers, fried courgette, romanesco cauliflower.

For desserts – tiramisu, topped with fruits of the forest, which needed more of a kick from booze, but was otherwise fine. The other plate described as a “traditional” Roman cake – an exceptionally light sponge with strawberry jam running through the middle.

Espresso was good and hot.

Service had been bang on throughout. A thoroughly pleasant experience.


John Hartley

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IL PAGLIACCIO

Il Pagliaccio provided two surprises before we started on the surprise eight course tasting menu. Firstly, when we made the reservation they required not a credit card to secure the table, but a €100 deposit, payable upfront through PayPal.

And, secondly, perhaps even more surprising, they are quaint enough to provide two menus – one with prices starting “Dear Sir” and another without prices for my wife. I havnt heard of that in many a long year, let alone seen it. And it was surprising, not least, as she was the one with the credit card that was paying for the meal.

As mentioned, we decided to take the eight course menu (there’s other options at ten and twelve courses, as well as a carta). Confirmation received that we’d no allergies, major dislikes, etc, it was on to one of the best meals we’ve had in the last 12 months (on a par with Sat Bains in Nottingham and In De Wulf in Dranouter). It’s not an Italian meal, as such, rather a meal with some Italian culinary influences.

In ordinary circumstances, the first food out would be an amuse but I suppose it’s just an unadvertised “extra” course here – a few fried whitebait with a ricotta cream and cucumber sauce to dip them in.

Beef that had started out as carpaccio was slightly cooked through in a broth, along with some soba noodles and calamari, returning to a link with the beef by way of a topping of iced horseradish. Clever. Very clever.

Then a soup – mozzarella and oyster, soft and luxurious, topped with the sharp contrast of a Granny Smith and camomile granite.

Now, something distinctly Italian. Cannelloni stuffed with artichoke mousse, topped with smoked sardine. If I recall the whole meal correctly, this was the only dish which nodded towards fashionable foams with an unlikely, but entirely successful, liquorice one.

Now, some technical skill. A small potato had been turned to a perfect cylinder and then hollowed out to make an extremely thin tube. This had been deep fried to perfect crispness and then stuffed with crab. Alongside, a quenelle of mango. In itself, this absolutely delicious but it was accompanied by something frankly odd – a coconut milk and rice soup. Again, in itself, lovely. But did the two elements work well together? The question divided us.

No dissent on the next dish. One of the meal’s megastars. Three tortellini sat on the plate arranged like a work of minimalist art. Underneath each one, a blob of spicy tomato sauce. Inside a rich meat mix of suckling pig.

Small fillets of red mullet – plainly cooked and tasting exactly of themselves and garnished simply with a quenelle of mixed spring vegetables.

I suppose if there was one, the next plate was the main course. Pigeon breast, served whole and perfectly rare and perfectly delicious. A little wilted spinach and a couple of cubes of a beetroot jelly, adding an earthy sweetness. A single blackberry scattered with sesame seeds marked what seemed another nod towards influences of cuisines much further to the east of Italy.

We thought that had finished the savoury courses but next up was the meat from the pigeon leg – long braised and served with black rice and thin slices of daikon. Another nod to the east.

There seems to be a new trend in tasting menus to have a course that deliberately links the savoury and the sweet. Here it was a blue cheese mousse, surrounded by chocolate. The mousse not overpoweringly cheesy, the chocolate thin enough to be in the background. There was a little baked pear and a few arty dabs of yoghurt. These link dishes can be difficult – the chef got this bang-on.

The first dessert was a palate cleansing lemon and ginger granite, topped with a twirl of lime flavoured biscuit. Absolutely excellent. And, finally, a white chocolate tart with superb crisp pastry, chocolate ice cream and, recommended to drink last, a hot rosehip syrup, served in a shot glass.

Coffee was a right bleeding performance. Firstly, there was a coffee menu. Of course, none are cheap, so you can’t use price as a basis for selection. Then the foil sachet is presented to you, much as would a wine bottle. Then it’s opened and presented again for you each to sniff. At that point, it was emptied into the coffee machine “bowl”, tamped down and taken away. In due course, it came back in a cup. And damn fine it was too. As were the excellent petit fours – testament to the skill of the pastry chef.

Needless to say, at Michelin 2* level, you have every expectation that service will be faultless. And so it was. There is a skill and craft to cooking and presenting food of this quality. And it has to be paid for. Il Pagliaccio is not cheap. In fact, Il Pagliaccio is bloody expensive – and not just by Rome standards where every meal seem to cost more than you hope it would. The meal for the two of us cost more than my annual salary when I started work in 1966 and now was a week’s pension. Back in the day, restaurant meals were, perhaps, steak and chips on a birthday. And, today, this is the third Michelin starred meal so far this year. It was worth every penny.


John Hartley

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SPIRITO DI VINO

“So, where are you from?”

“Near Manchester”, I reply

“United or City?”

Sometimes, you just know you’ve found the “right” sort of place just from the style of welcome.

Then you find out that the food is prepared according to Slow Food principles and you know all really will be fine. “Bring it on”, we said to ourselves.

One starter was simplicity itself. Two cheeses - one sheep, the other goat, served with lovely sweet fig jam that would be great on toast for breakfast. A classic combination of the sharp salty cheese and the sweetness of fig. It worked as well here as in Spain where I’ve had pan de higo or, in the UK, where cheese was served with fig roll biscuits at the now closed Juniper.

The other starter, described as artichoke cake was thin slices of the vegetable baked in a savoury custard. I was allowed a taste. Only a small taste, mind. And it was excellent. Rich yet simple at the same time.

On to the pasta. Spaghetti with a sauce made from “Cinta Senese” pancetta (apparently made from free range Tuscan pigs) and a powerful Parmesan cream. A similar richness to a carbonara but no egg. The other, mezze manichi (a large tubular pasta) with a white meat ragu. It’s explained that the “white” means no tomato, rather than any description of the meat. Both of these dishes were faultless – good pasta, great texture and taste to the sauces.

For mains, there was a fillet steak, simply cooked to a very rare side of medium. It came with mixed salad leaves and a thick tomato based sauce, heavy with mustard and a good touch of chilli. The other plate, taken from a recipe from ancient Rome, was a pork shoulder stew. There was a complex spicing going on here with no single flavour dominating the meat. The owner had explained that there were thirteen herbs, spices and other flavourings. There was nutmeg certainly, coriander probably and an asian fish sauce used as a substitute for a Roman flavouring of fermented fish (garum?). Served with a little finely shredded and wilted cabbage and a medium sweet apple sauce, it was the sort of dish you’d find throughout Northern Europe but entirely in its place here.

We passed on dessert but had good espresso. Thoroughly recommended.

So, returning, in a celebratory way, to my opening sentences......forza azzurri.


Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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I wandered past Il Pagliaccio in March and noticed its prices had risen - although with 2 stars, presumably it is attracting enough business to be sustainable at that level?

By contrast, I visited Trattoria Monti on that same trip and was impressed (not least by the good value).

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presumably it is attracting enough business to be sustainable at that level?

Midweek - and it was pretty much full. Italian regulars, as well as as tourists like us.


John Hartley

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Hello,

Does anybody have any new recommendations for near the Pantheon for bars (cocktail bars would be a plus) cafes and restaurants? My fiancee is there and would love your imput.

Thank you,

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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what are you looking for? do you have any places in mind?

I might consider bonci's pizzas. they're 'all the rage' here now. I personally think they're pretty awesome.

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what are you looking for? do you have any places in mind?

I might consider bonci's pizzas. they're 'all the rage' here now. I personally think they're pretty awesome.

That's a great start, ambra :wink: . As is our general style, we're looking for food that "Romans" might be going out to lunch or dinner for. I'm pretty set on knowing the standards; I'm just wondering if there's anything new that's got people talking.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I know you don't want an "oldie," I'm just going to point out a "goodie" anyway. Perilli in Testaccio has amazing primi. The best carbonara (with crunchy bits) and the best pastas with a sugo made from coda di vaccinara. Also, a delicious crema di zabaglione. (Somewhat like a mousse and not actual zabaglione. And not too sweet!!) Total old school place even in it's decor. But best carbonara ever.

Another solid is Felice and another is Flavio Velavevodetto.

I have to think for more. Hopefully some of the Romans will pop up here, I don't live there, just visit often!

If you check out Elizabeth Minchilli's blog (of the same name, I believe) she's got lots of Rome info.I like her because we agree on the carbonara at Perilli. :smile: I'm pretty sure there is something about Bonci on there. (His place is called Pizzarium and it's a shop not a pizzeria.)

Oh, if you like beer, there is a place called Open Baladin that has hundreds of beers. I know you can get that in the US, but they'll have a ton of artisanal beers made in Italy. another huge rage here now. Their menu gets mixed reviews though and anyway, they've got burgers and stuff which I am SURE you don't want. :laugh:


Edited by ambra (log)

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Mitch -

Eliz. Minchilli's blog last week has a great lead on hamburgers in Rome... that got people talking :rolleyes: More seriously, in that article, she references the place that the sous chef from Arco went to and that sounds hot right now. And, just a reminder that Ginny and I went to Perilli twice last month when we were there. Think pajata (or carbonara). Hanging out in Testaccio a bit, it seemed to us that a # of new places seem to be opening in that area. There's also a wine bar right on the square in Campo de Fiore that has a great listing by the glass and tables outside. In the middle of tourist central but it looked genuine. Remind me to give you the name... it's been there, looks like forever.

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"Oh, if you like beer, there is a place called Open Baladin that has hundreds of beers. I know you can get that in the US, but they'll have a ton of artisanal beers made in Italy. another huge rage here now".

That reminds me that we lucked into a really interesting place across from the Testaccio market that had 20-30 pages of beers. A lot were out of stock, but many were available and worth a shot. Wine list was also incredibly good, as they are a retail food and wine store and sell everything from the shelves to those at the tables.

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We are planning on being in Rome for a few days end of June. We are travelling with two small kids (8 and 5). Any recommendations brkfast, lunch and dinner would be much appreciated. Obviously no fancy high end places. I'd be more interested in more casual joints but not tourist traps. Pizza places and gelato are definitely a must as well. We are staying with family outside of Rome, but will be seeing the sights in the city (museums, colosseum,...) most of the time. Many thanks for any suggestions.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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This thread has been quiet for a year so I hope no one minds if I bump it. My wife and I will be in Rome for three days next month, and would love to have some up-to-date restaurant recommendations. We're well-traveled, and we do go in for high-end meals a few times a year. But as this is the first visit to Italy for both of us, I think on this trip we're interested in more modest options (particularly in terms of production values, i.e. no La Pergola for us this time); so I'd love to hear suggestions for where to go for a variety of the very best of traditional Roman cooking. Especially, if any of the restaurants discussed upthread are known to have gone downhill (or to have closed), that would be very helpful information.

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You gotta look at Katie Parla's info and app. She's written any number of travel articles for the NY Times, National Geographic, and others.

Katie Parla.com

Parla Food

Katie and a number of her friends have also founded a very useful website called:

The Rome Digest

On our last trip to Rome, I contacted Katie directly and she was of tremendous help.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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<p>On our most recent trip to Frascati we decided that we would head into Rome for lunch.  I considered all the usual options but settled on Metamorfosi.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Getting to the restaurant from Frascati is not too difficult.  You get the train to Termini then a bus from Termini.  It takes an hour or maybe less.  So that’s what we did. </p>

<p>    </p>

<p>We arrived at the restaurant  and made our way inside to be told that they were closed and would be open that evening.  I had booked online a few weeks prior to our reservation, so I showed our confirmation email.  There was an awkward moment while the restaurant people decided what to do with us, but happily they invited us in apologising for the mix up. </p>

<p> </p>

<p>So, after a slightly odd start, we were shown to our table and gifted a large glass of champagne each. A very good way to make things right.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>There are a few menu options at Metamorfosi.  The prices range from about €35 to €100.  I would have gone for the biggest menu but that was not available.  Menu "Gustando the classics" was available so that’s what we ordered.  We did ask to switch the meat main course so the we got Wagyu beef “per-fumé” with hazelnuts mushrooms and tarragon and Squab in fig leaf foie gras and apple.  </p>

<p> </p>

<p>I don’t write notes so pardon my lack of detail.  It was the end of July and now is late September....</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Bread came in two services and was good.  I particularly liked the olive oil ice cream served as butter.  The bread was good.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Amuse was Chicken with curry spices and tiny herbs. </p>

<p> </p>

<p>Chicken, Indian spices.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Raw Piedmontese Fassona expression of the moment.  Very good.  I love raw food.  Pure and clean.  Nuts and herbs to add flavour and texture.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Fassona.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Carbonara egg 65°came with fried pasta and pork skin.  All very good.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Carbonara egg 65.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Spaghetti Masciarelli mussel powder and perfumes of the sea was next.  No photo but it was as described, with plenty of kitchen trickery to add some real flavour.  Quite spicy-hot, if  recall properly.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Squab in fig leaf foie gras and apple.  This was not mine but my share was really good.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Foie gras fig.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Fig foie gras.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Squab.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Wagyu beef “per-fumé” with hazelnuts mushrooms and tarragon was mine and was very, very nice.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Beef.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Wagyu Beef.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p> </p>

<p>Next was a cheese course.  Blue cheese and white chocolate as a lollypop and port gel. My preference is cheese.  Good cheese, little or nothing with it.  This was ok but not a replacement for a proper cheese course.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>White chocolate blue cheese port gel.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Dessert was White chocolate with caramelized bananas and Armagnac.  Not my favourite flavours.  It was in no way unpleasant but I would have chosen something else.  Petits fours were good although I have no idea what they were!</p>

<p> </p>

<p>White chocolate with caramelized bananas and Armagnac.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Petits fours.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>We opted to take the wine pairing.  It was ok.  Nothing amazing.  I had a couple of fantastic wine pairings in London at Medlar and Hedone on the day before this trip so they had a hard task following this pair.  If you ever go to Medlar or Hedone the wine pairings are excellent, well worth asking for.  I would advise caution in terms of the wine pairing at Metamorfosi.  The wine list is good.  If you have much money or excellent wine knowledge you will be fine, do your own thing, otherwise ask for advice based on the cash you want to spend. The wine pairing is not terrible; although I feel it could be more interesting and the list might offer better value.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>Metamorfosi is good.  The prices are very reasonable (especially the set menus) by Rome standards and the food is very enjoyable.  I think it would have been a more enjoyable experience if the restaurant was busy.  I don’t quite know what happened with the not open at lunchtime problem.  We did get fed very well though and the champagne made amends nicely.   After lunch we went sightseeing and visited a few bars we knew from past visits.  A personal favourite being AI TRE SCALINI, not far from termini or the Coliseum and a nice little place.</p>

<p> </p>

<p>DSC03826.JPG</p>

<p> </p>

<p>If you walk toward the coliseum you will find a small square where you can sit outside in the evening sun (if you can find a bar that is not too annoying – they can be a bit odd) and listen to the music and enjoy the life. </p>

<p> </p>

<p>Rome.jpg</p>


Edited by MaLO (log)

Martin

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