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mogsob

Rome Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

397 posts in this topic

If you order fresh fish in salt crust, which I recommend,

I first had this dish in, believe it or not, Florida (!), at Pepin's, a Spanish restaurant in St Pete which is quite authentic. The dish was called Pompano alla Sal because Pompano is a local flat white fish (nearest European equivelant anybody???) and after being baked in rock salt the hardened salt is then cracked open leaving a very juice fish.

I have also had it in Marseilles where they told me it was a Catalan dish.

I've tried cooking it at home but it just doesn't taste the same (yes, I've used Rock Salt and/or Kosher Salt) and now I find it in Rome!

If you ever see it on a menu order it as, if it's done right, it's extremely tasty.


Edited by peterpumkino (log)

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When you describe the wines list as great to 'your taste' - what do you mean? What are you looking for in a great wine list?

Things I Look For In A Wine List

1. Regional strength. I like to drink regionally, and appreciate a list that shows great depth in their local region. If I am in the States or outside of a good wine producing region, I like to see more than just Napa Cabs/Merlot/Chards, Bordeaux, Tuscany and a few Cote du Rhones on the list -- good pinots, germanics etc.

2. Interesting bottles. There are tons of wines you just can't get easily. I like to see those on wine lists.

3. Value. I don't begrudge a restaurant a decent profit on wine, but anything more than 100% of retail really irks me. I'll pay for storage, risk of taint etc., but I don't want to be gouged.

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I first had this dish in, believe it or not, Florida (!),  at Pepin's, a Spanish restaurant in St Pete which is quite authentic. The dish was called Pompano alla Sal because Pompano is a local flat white fish (nearest European equivelant anybody???) and after being baked in rock salt the hardened salt is then cracked open leaving a very juice fish.

I have also had it in Marseilles where they told me it was a Catalan dish.

and now I find it in Rome!

Interesting, I've always viewed this dish as originally Neapolitan, but maybe not, or maybe it has arisen spontaneously in a number of places. It is served at essentially all of the many fish restaurants in Naples, my favorite is da Dora which is a much more pleasant restaurant than La Rosetta and actually does the fish better, but not the appetizers. In my experience this dish works best with the local fish Orata or Pizonia (spelling?).

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I have also had it in Marseilles where they told me it was a Catalan dish.

and now I find it in Rome!

Interesting, I've always viewed this dish as originally Neapolitan, but maybe not, or maybe it has arisen spontaneously in a number of places. It is served at essentially all of the many fish restaurants in Naples,

My knowledge of European history is weak and that's not surprising considering that most of today's political boundaries are relatively new. I am aware of contact, trading and occupational governments somewhere in the past between Catalonia and Sicily. I'm not sure of the time frame, but I've found one intersting map that shows the Kingdoms of Aragon, (including what is now the Spanish part of Catalonia) naples and Sicily as well as the island of Sardinia as all belonging to Charles I, grandson of Ferdinand (think Columbus, the Inquisition, etc.). Charles I later increased his control when he became the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Noodles are a traditional Catalan dish.


Robert Buxbaum

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Interesting, I've always viewed this dish as originally Neapolitan,

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Pesce Arrosto in Sale is a dish that I associate with regions futher south than Roma - although you can find everything in Roma. Certainly Napoli but even more in Puglia and Calabria. As Bux noted - all areas that were under the Spanish crown.

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Peter -More than you wanted to know about the pompano fish:

Types of Pompanos

Of the 30 genera that constitute the family, the 6 most important are the leather jacks, the amberfishes, the cavallas or jacks, the moonfishes, the casabes, and the pompanos. 2

Best known of the leather jacks is the pilot fish, a slender variety rarely over 2 ft (60 cm) long. Pilot fish, Naucrates ductor, often follow ships and sharks, feeding on the scraps left behind. Another species also called pilot fish is an amberfish. The amberfish genus, Seriola, (whose members are also called amberjacks and coronados) contains often beautifully colored fish that are of moderate to large size. The genus includes the streamlined California yellowtail, a popular game and food fish, weighing up to 40 lb (18 kg). Amberjacks are common off the Florida coast. They are grayish purple on the back and golden on the sides, and average 12 lb (5.4 kg) in weight, though specimens may reach 100 lb (45 kg). They prefer deeper water and feed on smaller fishes, as does the rainbow runner, strikingly colored in blue, yellow, and silver. Others of this group are the mackerel scad and the saurel, 2 ft (60 cm) food fish of commercial importance in San Francisco. 3

Most abundant and valuable of the cavallas (genus Caranx) is the crevalle, or common jack, C. hippos, found in dense schools on both coasts of tropical America and as far north as Cape Cod and the Gulf of California. Crevalles have olive backs, silvery and yellow sides, and reach 2 ft (61 cm) in length and 40 lb (18 kg) in weight. The kingfish, or king cero, is an important food and game cavalla of tropical Atlantic waters. The blue runner, or hard-tailed jack, 1 ft (30 cm) long and 1 lb (.45 kg) in weight and found from Brazil to Cape Cod, is an important food fish in the West Indies. The horse-eye jack is found in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. It is most abundant in the tropics, where its flesh is reputed to be poisonous. The Cuban jack, or African pompano, averaging 2 ft (61 cm) in length and 12 lb (5.4 kg) in weight, is a beautiful fish with an iridescent silvery sheen, similar in coloration and in its compressed, angular body to the moonfishes, silvery marine fishes of the genus Vomer. 4

Two moonfishes are the lookdown and the silvery moonfish. Both average from 7 to 9 in. (17.5–22.5 cm) in length and 1/2 lb (.25 kg) in weight and are important food fishes. They frequent sandy bottoms, feeding on small fish, crustaceans, and marine worms. The lookdown differs from the moonfish in its elongated dorsal and anal fins and in its rainbow iridescence. The casabe, or bumper, a smaller fish (up to 1 ft/30 cm) found from Brazil to Cape Cod, is of little value as food. 5

Commercially the most important of the family are the pompanos, species of which are among the most delicious of all food fishes. Prized as a food and game fish, the common pompano, found from the Carolinas to Texas, reaches a maximum length of 18 in. (45 cm) and weight of 8 lb (3.6 kg). It prefers sandy bottoms and feeds on small crustaceans, especially shrimps and sand fleas. A warm-water fish, it migrates to avoid cold, and an unseasonal cold spell will kill it. Of similar habits and distribution are the round pompano, named for its shape, and the gaff-topsail pompano, or palometa, a beautiful fish with a cerulean blue back and silvery yellow sides. Its counterpart in Pacific waters is the pompanito. The permit, or great pompano, of the Florida reefs is the largest of the family, weighing up to 30 lb (13.5 kg) and reaching a length of 3 ft (91 cm). 6

Classification

Pompanos are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Perciformes, family Carangidae. 7

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2002 Columbia University Press

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In the same fish family-pomfret,found in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia.[i had it cooked in a tandoor in New Dehli].Pompano cooked in salt is one of the most delicious things on earth [to me].Stuff the cavity of a whole fish with herbs and lemon.Mix salt with enough egg whites to make a workable moosh,and cover the fish,top & bottom,on a sheet pan or wherever it will fit.Bake for about 20-45 minutes[depending on the size of the fish] and crack the crust carefully-you don't want to get salt in the fish.Delve into the crust and remove thefilets,and serve immediately.The best...I noticed fish cooked in salt in many places on the coast of Campania-usually branzino and orata,but pompano is the most heavenly.

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Wonderful answers to my question on Pompano (thanks Craig and Wing Ding). Thanks a million BUT my original question remains unanswered viv: what would be the nearest equivelant in Europe as I found Pompano great for cooking in this manner??


Edited by peterpumkino (log)

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Sorry for the long winded answer to the wrong question!

Try Orata - I think it is called Gilthead in England. I also like Branzino (sea bass) for this dish.

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I've tried Branzino but it's really not as good as Pompano. Next time I'll try Orata. Meanwhile don't apologise for the Treatise on Pompano, I loved it. Thankls again.

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A French friend of mine will be going to Rome in a few months time. She doesn't have much time to spend, and asked me about tips on the Rome eating scene. Couldn't be of much help myself (only been there once, a while ago). I was wondering if any of you experts could be so kind to make a list of typical restaurants 'not to be missed' from budget to mid-expensive and probably one to where to splurge.

Thank you.

PS. Of course, I will oblige to report on her behalf when she comes back! :smile:

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Click on the link below for a discussion about restaurant guides -

Italian restaurant guide thread

Also I would suggest for someone headed to Rome who is not familiar with Roman cuisine to read Cooking the Roman Way by David Downie. It is a cookbook not a guide - but it will introduce you to the special aspects of Roman food.

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Last month's Gourmet was devoted entirely to Rome.


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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As lon as she goes to San Crispino for gelato she'll be alright. It's near the Trevi fountain so it's not like she'll be going out of her way to get there and they have the best gelato I've had in Italy, the fruit flavors are especially good.

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Last month's Gourmet was devoted entirely to Rome.

I'm sorry, but is the Gourmet a magazine, a book or a website.?pls enlighten!! :smile:

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Last month's Gourmet was devoted entirely to Rome.

I'm sorry, but is the Gourmet a magazine, a book or a website.?pls enlighten!! :smile:

Sorry, Lucrezia. A magazine, widely available. Also a website here.


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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We will be travelling to Italy for our first trip Sept. 26th-Oct.19th. We have already booked a hotel room for 3 nights in Rome at the start of the trip & also 1 night at the end. The problem is that the hotel is in the Vatican area, & quite far from the airport for our very early (7:00 am) flight home. Does anyone have a suggestion for accommodation closer to the airport?

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Fiumicino Airport is out of the city and connected to Rome only by highway. The absolutely only hotel on site, within airport grounds and with direct access to terminals, is the five star Hilton. As far as I know, it is outrageously expensive and of course conpletely anonimous.

On the way to the airport, just off the highway to the latter and at about half way, there is also the Sheraton Golf Rome, as expensive and modern, but at least set within a Golf course.

Otherwise, You would have to aim at Fiumicino village, a 5-10 min. ride form the airport and on the sea. The hotels there are fairly modest and in 2-3 star range. Two names I recall are "Mach2" and "Roma". In this case I advise You to have a dinner at "Bastianelli al Molo", Via Torre Clementina, the best restaurant in town, good seafood with nice terraces and settings and seaview.

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I know it is expensive, but splurge on the convenience of the Hilton at the airport. You can get rid of the rental car the day before if you have one. The breakfast is expansive, the rooms are comfortable and you can easily walk from your room to the flight.

I don't work for Hilton by the way.

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Not too bright of me to leave out the airport! It's Leonardo Da Vinci.

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Faced the same problem our last trip. Found the seaside hotels in Fiumicino village either unopened or not quite what we would want to stay in. Finally found, by default {it was late}, the Hotel Satellite Palace. This is the hotel used by the air crews. Our room was a solid three stars, very comfortable. It is modern vs. charming but close to the airport. Took us all of 20 min to drive vs. the 10 min from Fiumicino village. In short convenient, reasonable {140 Euros} and they obviously know how to get you to FCO on time.

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By my experience, Roman restaurants are very expensive if you want to have good food, especially if these very restaurants are Michelin star awarded. Even Gambero Rosso standards are disappointing to me... Are there any alternatives?

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