Thursday, July 12, 2012

Trattoria der Pallaro – Rome, Italy

Most everything seems to be about a stone’s throw away in central Rome – restaurants, outdoor markets, Roman antiquities. Located near one of Rome’s most famous markets, Campo di Fiori, is a simple, rustic restaurant, Trattoria der Pallaro.
A pilot recommended this restaurant to a flight attendant on our crew, swearing up and down anyone she took there would love it. He emphasized being hungry on arrival, since plate after plate of food is brought to the table. Patrons eat what is brought to the table, which seems to be the restaurant’s traditional fare. The three of us from my crew were the second patrons to sit down, and the last to leave that seating general seating of patrons, pacing ourselves through the multiple plates of food that continued to arrive.

Within moments of sitting down on the enclosed terrace, we were asked, “Vino rosso or blanco?” Vino rosso!  And immediately arrived a pitcher of red wine, with sparkling water.  Then the food started: the ubiquitous basket of fresh baked bread, sliced fennel in vinegar and salt, green olives, sliced prosciutto and salami, a bowl of lentils, arancini rounds and Italian falafel, fresh mozzarella balls, pasta with pancetta, sliced veal au jus, and after all this – handmade potato chips.
To cap it all off, next was a slice of baked lemon cake straight from the black, cast-iron pan, an ideal dessert for a Roman dinner in the summer, accompanied by a shot of Fragioli, a wild strawberry liqueur.
Serving everyone was “Momma”, the essence of Italian grandmother (might have been great-grandmother in this case), who looked the throw back to WWII Italy – a little rough and poor, but with a gregarious and infectious smile of happiness and joy of life that dispelled any other notion.  With a kerchief on her head and apron around her waist, smiling broadly, she was giving friendly hugs and pats to the mostly local crowd of diners.
I thought I was going to roll right out of the restaurant at the thought of so much food. But the servings were not of copious amounts, and shared amongst the three of us, and pacing ourselves, I was able to have a little bit of everything, and feel satiated. Was this the best restaurant I have been to in Rome? No. But it is good? Absolutely. And you can’t beat the local Roman ambience, including the framed picture of the Pope over the bathroom door.
When the bill came, we each paid 25€. Trattoria der Pallaro is tucked away, but is worth finding when you want to feel like part of the neighborhood.

(Originally published on June 22, 2012)

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