Have I mentioned that Rome at the end of October seemed more like the middle of July? I haven’t actually been to Italy in the summer, but I imagine that it’s hot and crowded and that’s exactly what we experienced last week. I found myself trying to wade through the crowds around Piazza Navona on the way to our inn wondering why all these people weren’t at work or school.
The streets to My Navona were lined with numerous restaurants, each and every one with its own personal “hawker” trying to entice you to come into their establishment. Thankfully after they saw you go by a few times they left you alone and yelled to whomever was behind you. I mean if they need to hassle you on the street, how special can the food be?
For this very reason I made sure to get a recommendation from our innkeeper for our first night in Rome. Tucked into a small lane just around the corner from the inn was La Pace del Pelato. There was no one outside trying to lure you in, no sign with a printed menu, just a few tables pushed up alongside the building. We chose to sit inside the small dining room. At most there were twenty tables.
Our friendly server took our drink order and returned with a complimentary starter of focaccia stuffed with sauteed greens-I think it might have been escarole. A little while layer she returned with what may have been the best thing I ate during our entire vacation-an eggplant and tomato dish which we piled atop bread and then I ended up devouring by the forkful. There were no actual pieces of tomato or even a sauce. Each piece of eggplant was infused with tomato and bursting with flavor. We queried our waitress about the dish but she simply replied “it’s just eggplant and tomato”.
Our entrees were equally delicious-osso buco for J. and tagliatelle with fresh porcini for me. With each bite I was reminded how happy I was to have asked for a dinner recommendation. I probably wouldn’t even have walked down the little street where the restaurant was located and would never have known it was there. This meal was everything I hoped it would be-incredible food served in a lovely, quiet setting.
La Pace del Pelato
Via del Teatro Pace, 42, 00186 Roma