The Underdog in Rome
Apart from booking ourselves into Imago, I hadn't actually done much research on where to eat in Rome. This was partly because I was operating in zombie mode for Ramadan, but also because I was trying to be spontaneous (!!). However, with the proliferation of WiFi everywhere I couldn't help but quickly Google restaurants before we left for lunch one day, and I found out about Sora Lucia through Katie Poller's guide to Rome in the Guardian. As Poller says in the article, Sora Lucia is a tiny tratorria run by the owner serving excellent homestyle food. From the picture above you get an idea of how cosy it is – a just few tables inside and three outside. Basic furniture, minimal decoration, but less than five minutes walk from Trevi fountain for great food. Sit outside if you can, the area is shaded during late lunch and you can watch the tourists go by.
Ask for menus in English since they're available, but on our visit both the owner and the other staff member spoke little to no English. Thus we eschewed the specials of the day on the board as Poller recommends trying, due to our complicated combined dietary requirements (no pork for me, no fish and strange ingredients for him). If you're easier, by all means try the specials. However, we had no regrets with our choices from the standard menu – mixed vegetables and bruschetta with tomato and olive oil as starters, followed by pasta dishes for our main courses.
|Mixed vegetables and bruschetta with tomato & olive oil|
The starters arrived quite quickly and the vegetables were particularly good, grilled to a softness I've never managed to replicate and seasoned perfectly. A pleasure to eat, something that I cannot say often about plain vegetables. The artichokes melted in your mouth without leaving you chewing fibre – Imago take note. I suspect the mushrooms were canned, however.
|Pasta with parma ham|
The mains arrived after a short wait. I'd ordered a seafood spaghetti that with mussels, prawns, chopped tomatoes, garlic and a bit of parsley. No parmesan in sight, but the garlicky butter and seafood combined to make this a sweet, creamy dish that was so delicious that I have to say that I have not had it better elsewhere. The other dish on the table, pasta with parma ham, is not one I can claim to have tried but it received similar praise.
We skipped dessert as we had sightseeing to do on a tight schedule, and for the two courses plus a large beer and a coke our meal came to around EUR 38, if memory serves. We chose the cheaper of the starters at EUR 4 each (whereas most are around the EUR 6 to 8 mark), and all of the mains were EUR 10 or above. This is not cheap for food in Rome, but for the quality of the meal I can't complain. If you're on a budget I would advise you to get a drink and a main, and perhaps one of the larger starters like the vegetables if you're particularly hungry. For dessert, head to the cheap-ish (EUR 3 for two scoops) but excellent gelato at Il Gelato di San Crispino, the famous gelateria from Eat Pray Love which is conveniently just around the corner.
All of this being said, however, I do not want to downplay the food at Sora Lucia. This was the best restaurant we ate at while in the city, and I'm amused at how I've ended up scoring it the same as the Michelin starred Imago. Definitely one to recommend to friends and family who may be travelling to Rome, and obviously high scores below.
Final Score: 7/10
A: Via della Panetteria, 12, 00187 Roma, Italy
T: +39 06 679 4078
T: +39 06 679 4078
NB. The final score, while influenced by the sub-scores, is a qualitative reflection of my overall impression of the establishment.