It may be named Primo – First – not by chance. Roman foodies remember it as one of the first new-generation restaurants in the capital, established in 2006 in the multi-ethnic Pigneto neighbourhood. You can sit outside and experience the cheerful, faded, peculiar feeling of the working-class suburb, or sit inside if you prefer a renewed retro reception. Order cod croquettes, wild herbs, red onions and capers if you too think that, sometimes, a good fry is right what you need. Otherwise, order scallops with smoked potatoes sauce and lukewarm tagliolini with lemon, fish tartare, raw vegetables and herbs, if in May you always miss the sea, as we do. Or sliced grilled Maremma beef with BBQ sauce and coffee, and buds salad, if tonight you feel like a peculiar carnivore.
It all started from Mrs Howard’s visionary idea, when guesthouses did not exist yet in Italy. Casa Howard is a place where intimacy and character win you more than the many comforts of an anonymous luxury hotel in the city centre. It has no sign, just a writing on the intercom, as if the Howard family lived here. You step into the building’s hall and leave behind a bright Roman sunset…
Roscioli is one of the most prestigious bakeries in the capital, and a cabinet de curiositès devoted to Italian and international gastronomy. As if this was not enough, it is also a little inspired bistro – one you would be glad to discover just around the corner. You can sit among the shelves – crowded with precious salts, homemade preserves, bronze-died pasta – and the cheese and cold cuts counter to taste delicacies belonging to the Italian tradition, and sometimes revised with flashes of the appropriate creativity. A temple of flavours for anyone who thinks of cuisine as a continuous, intriguing, minute research.
Our empathy with The Corner Rome begins with two pink stone swans. This is an early 20th century Art Nouveau townhouse turned into a small hotel, thanks to the noble rehabilitation by architect Danilo Maglio, who also devised the project and owns the villa. The empathy continues with the pale grey wood panelling and the herringbone parquet. The geometrical patterns of the period floors and of the East-inspired wallpapers. The wall-gardens of the restaurant and of the breakfast room, the modern antique furniture, the minimalist and graphical lamps. There are eleven bedrooms divided by size: small, medium and large. In the veranda with luxuriant contours, the awakening smells like American coffee, custard and pine-seeds tart, red fruits marmalade, crisp muesli and exotic fruits. The Corner is also a food project by means of the restaurant and of the bistro Bistreet, which are both directed by the star-awarded chef Fabio Baldassarre.
It is eight in the evening and the mild Roman Saturday tempts groups of cheerful chatty thirty-year-olds to linger among the outdoor tables of Bistreet, at the foot of hotel The Corner Rome, for the last open-air drink before taking a seat inside. Tiny, intimate, easy. A Bohemian atmosphere, an in-sight kitchen, a colonial touch, a wall of books to share in front of the oval table. The menu begins with breakfast and ends with dinner. It offers Italian-style comfort food in the shape of street food – from cornets with fried food to burgers, from fondue flan to homemade cakes. Bistreet wins you with its quality, simplicity, and care for the interior, for food and definitely for service.
by Francesca Romana Fontana
Francesca Romana and I meet at the corner between via Cavour and via Amendola, on a sun-kissed Roman afternoon, while a gentle zephyr blows. She was born and raised in Rome…
Via Giulia 100, Rome. It’s a gentle autumn afternoon that feels like spring. This time, our secret address is Il Mezzanino, a maison de charme located in a historical building dating back to the XVII century in the heart of Rome. This uneven, poetic pied-a-terre is what we would dream to have in the Marais, Dalston or Brooklyn. Fifty square metres wisely divided and surrounded by ancient walls. Only sparse furniture, all vintage, a minimal steel and marble kitchen, elegant home fabrics, small knick knacks from Porta Portese market (when it was still authentic), old postcards of the city taped on the walls, books, indie magazines, flowers, a tart under the bell jar, a glimpse of San Biagio degli Armeni’s church from the window and Rome, authentic, noisy, bubbly, that invites you to go out and be part of its great beauty.
A restaurant with walls covered in a giant decorative map, furniture that we would buy for our homes and an open plan kitchen where two chefs, with sweet smiles, work. The toilet door resembles the door of a bush plane and reminds us of our last adventure in the New Continent. Outside, there is a seating area covered in vine and small lights with chalkboard tables to give shape to your thoughts. The seasonal, multiethnic and organic menu includes the name of the farm each ingredient is coming from. An authentic Meraviglia place.
We believe that the real marvel of a place is defined by its soul. This is why Hotel Locarno, founded in 1925 by a Swiss couple, is our first choice for a getaway in the capital. It is a historical residence in a secluded central street that has been welcoming enlightened tourists, passing-by artists and habitués for decades. A hotel with a distinctive atmosphere, through whose rooms one can breathe the magic of art, the enchantment of beauty and the respect for history. Emotion greets you at the entrance, where a generous wisteria plant embraces the façade and courts the Art Nouveau glass windows, and accompanies you in the hall, in the bar, up the stairs and in the rooms. Authenticity is a constant, even where a conservative, appropriate, inspired restoration was carried out. In the warmest mornings, we suggest having breakfast in the romantic outside area of the hotel, between wrought-iron furniture and Roman skies, and using the bicycles at the guests’ disposal to tour the city. At sunset, do not miss a drink on the roof garden with its loving view on Rome’s house tops.
by Sigrid Verbert
Sigrid has a passion for vintage stuff, the laugh of her daughter, the smell of tomato sauce on a Sunday morning and the striped Breton fishing t-shirts. After 10 years in Rome, she’s just moved to NY. Her Cavoletto di Bruxelles is one of the most successful food blogs.
by Caterina Gatta
Caterina is one of the young promises of Italian fashion. Her own label is made of precious materials of the most famous fashion houses that are collected from fabric shops: an amazing range of colours and prints. She lives and works in Rome.
Urbana 47 is a smart and curious food project. In addition to the restaurant where they serve revisited recipes from the Lazio region, as well as snacks, light lunches and brunches, this is also a grocery store for casual dinners and a cinema where to enjoy good food and art films.