Arrived in an Autumnal downpour and woke to 2 days of azure skies and perfect days for ambling about and sitting in cafés watching the world go by.
We did quite a bit of research before we went and booked dinner at Il Viaggio http://www.ristoranteilviaggio.it/en/ for the first evening. They bill themselves as having an entirely gluten free menu. A couple of chilled ‘senza glutine’ Peroni soon washed the irritations and stresses of Stansted, Ryanair and arriving in an epic rainstorm away.
The food was entirely as billed it was a huge treat to tuck into deep fried calamari, their signature veal and saffron risotto and a whole grilled sea bass. The early mixed European crowd of tourists changed over to a more local crowd tucking in after 9pm. The place was still jumping when we left at 11pm.
For us coeliacs and gluten avoiders in general, Rome like the rest of Italy, entirely gets it. Everywhere does GF pasta, you just have to ask. More to the point everywhere we stopped to eat entirely understood the implications of the question ‘senza glutine’ and would point out the items that were to be avoided.
The problem with the food in Rome is everywhere had the same dishes – a ubiquitous pizza and pasta offering that was fine, but got a bit samey. On a recommendation we went to Al Pompiere http://www.alpompiereroma.com Manifestly not a tourist orientated destination but a very traditional white-tablecloth, ancient-waiter run place set in the ‘Piano nobile’ of a palazzo in the Jewish quarter. It was great to see and experience a very well drilled team go about the business of getting food on to the tables. But it was still the same pasta dishes as everywhere else. Whilst I ate a very nice plate of oxtail and Debbie a plate of deep fried brains and artichokes, there was nothing about it that made me go wow. But whilst the food was OK, but disappointing by London standards, the wine was delicious.
Highlights other than Il Viaggio was a very fine crispy gluten free pizza at Voglia di Pizza, and watching the Ireland-France match in an Irish pub with a mixed crowd of Irish, French and Italians. Also standing in the Forum contemplating the Monty Python line “what did the Romans do for us”. There was a very strong sense of everything we are in the Western world, good and bad stems from that particular spot.
All in all, a lovely couple of days, confirming that Italy is the best destination for coeliacs!