La Pentolaccia in via Flavia is one of many unpretentious restaurants in Rome, where you can enjoy a typical Roman meal for less than 50 euro per person.
People are always asking me for restaurant recommendations, which was why I made a list of recommended restaurants in Rome some years ago. This may be slightly outdated by now, so during our recent visit to Rome I kept track of what we ate where. The notes will be published as a small series of highly subjective restaurant reviews that might guide you to similar culinary adventures.
Typical Roman Restaurant
La Pentolaccia in via Flavia 38 looks like the typical family-run Roman restaurant. The waiters are more experienced than young. The menu looks reasonable with a good choice of few well-chosen seasonal dishes within each category. Tables are packed and the chatter raise noise in the unadorned, high vaulted rooms. There’s a friendly atmosphere, and though we are in a tourist area most of the guests are locals celebrating birthdays and anniversaries with family and friends.
We were welcomed by efficient waiters with the annoying habit of addressing all foreigners in English. For someone who knows some Italian and has a third mother tongue this is highly confusing, as you end up in Babylon mixing all the languages you have ever studied together. I always end up trying to order part of the menu in Turkish. So please – if there are waiters out there reading this restaurant review – let the customer decide which language to use. But that is a digression.
High Quality Ingredients
Despite the language mashup, we managed to order a starter of pears with taleggio and Bresaola rolled around a cream of gorgonzola and walnuts. The antipasti had a fixed price of 10 euro each and they were both the lazy kind that require next to no preparation.
Italian restaurants in Italy can, however, get away with this thanks to acceptable prices and the impeccably high quality of the ingredients. Here the pears in themselves were deliciously juicy, and even the ever-present Ponti glaze served a purpose.
Just Like Lady and the Tramp
Primi piatti were also about 10 euro a plate, and we had ‘agnolotti con zucca’ of pumpkin filled pasta and ‘fettuccine con polpette di vitello’ like the dish from the famous restaurant scene in ‘Lady and the Tramp’. The pasta was great and homemade, the tomato sauce intense and good with plenty of heated cheese to cream it up, and the meatballs tasted of meat and nutmeg.
I liked the agnolotti pasta too. They had an interesting sweetish pumpkin stuffing, though some of the flavours drowned in a butter bath that was far too generous for my taste.
Glad to Go Back Despite Minor Blemishes
The meat courses were too large for our appetite, so we jumped directly to desserts and chose an intense chocolate mousse and a creme brulée that turned out to be a strange combination of vanilla custard with a rather rustic layer of proper caramel on top.
With water, a very light house wine and coffee we ended up with a bill of 75 euros, which seemed okay. La Pentolaccia is a good restaurant, and I’d gladly visit it again despite the butter pool and a failed creme brulée.