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The Best in Rome

Rome Restaurants: MONTI and ESQUILINO

Agata & Romeo
Owners, celebrated chef Agata Parisello and her husband sommelier Romeo Caraccio belong to a select group called upon by Italian heads of state to prepare meals for visiting foreign dignitaries. A collection of ceramic tea pots is the only decoration in this intimate if somber Rome restaurant. The menu offers traditional Roman cuisine. Start with an antipasto of fresh fava beans (when in season) with pecorino cheese, mixed green salad and balsamic dressing, or a flan of aged Sogliano pecorino cheese with pear sauce and Acacia honey. Proceed to a delicious entrèe of asparagus risotto with quail egg, crunchy Parma proscuitto and thinly shaved parmesan cheese. Meat and poultry lovers are at home here: pigeon breast or thigh in brandy and Cassis sauce served with foie gras or glazed pork with apple chutney. Parisello, who is the author of several cook books and an award-winning pastry chef produces incredible desserts. Try her millefeuille (puff pastry with cream), bitter choccolate with exotic fruit mousse or milk pudding with tonka beans, pineapple and rosemary sauce. €€€€
Via Carlo Alberto, 45 tel. 06 446 6115 Open till 22:00 Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Japanese foodDoozo
In Japanese, Doozo means “please come in, make yourself at home.” Owners, Tetsuya Ojure, a music producer, and Riccardo Vuzzanca, a scenographer, who also stages special events such as the Venice Film Festival, have created a sense of virtual movement in this Rome restaurant, squaring off each area in the dining room into distinct spaces. The restaurant’s director, Pascal, has added decorous arrangements of Japanese artifacts — teapots, ceramics and other wares — to the minimalist architecture. A reading room displaying a purchasable selection of art books serves as a relaxation area and buffer between the restaurant and an exhibition space. A corridor leads to a zenlike garden patio enclosed behind remnants of an ancient Roman retaining wall. The fixed-price box lunches include tempura or ginger-seasoned fried chicken and sushi, rice, salad, perfectly textured miso soup and the freshest tofu we’ve ever eaten . The dinner menu adds more variations on the same theme. €€
Via Palermo, 51-53 tel 06 481 56 55 Closed Monday

Romans Recommend:
Trattoria Monti
The friendly owners are from the Marche, so not your typical Roman trat. House wine is Verdicchio. It’s a very nice family-run place, almost always too crowded, but not the major destination the Internet boards would have you think. Reserve. On Sundays you can have the rich, meaty, and creamy Marche lasagne known as vincisgrassi. The portion is small enough so that you can contemplate another course.
Via San Vito 13a, near S. Maria Maggiore, 064466573. Closed Sunday evening and Monday.
Recommended by Maureen B. Fant, ccokbook author, food writer, cooking teacher, tour guide. www.mareenbfant.com.

Al Moro
This historic Rome restaurant, a few steps from the Trevi fountain, is much frequented and revered by affluent locals. The menu offers traditional Roman cuisine with just enough edge to add diversity to classic dishes such as fritti alla romana, zucchine flower and ricotta supplì or spaghetti (alla Moro) with egg, bacon and red peppers. Among the entrees, the calamari alla Moro, Sicilian-style swordfish and abbacchio al forno (roasted lamb) and veal roll are among the most often requested by a returning clientele. €€€
Vicolo delle Bollette, 13 tel 06 678 3495 Open till 23:30 Closed Sunday.

A princely presence in the hills above the Coliseum, Maharajah offers good service and classic Punjab cuisine. The cozy dining room is decorated with Indian paintings and sculpture and hand-painted furnishings. Specialities include chicken Maharajah tandoori, chicken tikka masala (herbs and spices), vandaloo lamb, and an easy favorite, rogan josh, lamb with herbs served with spinach cooked with potatoes al curry. If you have a weakness for Italian ceci (chick peas), try the pakora, (mixed vegetables rolled in ceci flour). Choose from ten different Indian breads and several varieties of basmati rice. Among the desserts, kulfi (pistachio ice cream) is a particularly refreshing after a spicy meal. One of the best Indian restaurants in Rome. €
Via dei Serpenti, 124 tel. 06 474 7144 Open daily 12:30.-23:30 Closed Saturday and Sunday lunch.

The vintage 1930’s sign announcing a beer house throws you. Pay attention to the street number or you may wander the cobblestones looking for this family owned Rome trattoria-wine bar, but it’s worth the search, because the service is gracious and the atmosphere is perfect for a casual evening out. The house specialty is scamorza (a cheese best consumed grilled). If you haven’t tried it, this would be the place to do so. Here it is served with a number of condiments. Grilled meat and the kind of juicy hamburgers you rarely find outside the States give the menu some diversity. Local Lazio wines. The gelato is from Fassi, a nearby gelateria. €€
Via dei Boschetto, 37 tel 06.488 0643 Open till 23:30 Closed Sunday.

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In Rome Now City Guide: Restaurants Monti