Sacrofano

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As if Rome does not have enough to satisfy the hungry populace, many small towns within easy driving distance lure Romans into the countryside to dine.  One such town is Sacrofano about 25 miles north of the capital where  a handful of restaurants vie for  customers.

Da Tonino is a charming, traditional restaurant with local dishes; RistoranteFinamore offers excellent fish; La Scaletta  exudes the atmosphere of a house in the country; I Due Archi is a warm, friendly traditional trattoria while L’altroPosto is located in a 16th century palazzo and includes a cave dug into the tufo which stays at a constant temperature of  16 °C.

The name of this last restaurant means The Other Place, and one can only think that they are comparing themselves to the restaurant that put Sacrofano on the map some time in the 70s: Il Grottino, or the (not so little) cave.  This too is built into the side of the hill and it consists of an enormous fireplace and a number of small rooms.

On one’s first visit, one was charmed by the casual atmosphere and the way in which the host made suggestions – the antipasto, a  mezzo (half) portion of pasta for the foreigners, perhaps something from the grill accompanied by a baked potato, beans and salad, and if you still had room, the rather plain cake dipped in Vin Santo for dessert.

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On the second visit, one realized that there really was no choice: this was the menu, day in and day out.  But who would have it any different?  From the bruschetta, made as it should be over an open flame, and accompanied by finely chopped well-cooked mushrooms, through the grand assortment of salamis, pork chops, bits of beef, liver, sausages and more off the grill to the last drop of digestive, it was just perfect.  Wine and water flowed constantly, and the bill was also always the same.

These days reviews are mixed, but a visit to Sacrofano is still a culinary treat.

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