Trattoria della Barchetta, Rome restaurant review

Trattoria della Barchetta, rome, italy restaurant

Set a few blocks away from the hustle and bustle of the Lepanto Metro stop and the River Tiber, kind of near The Vatican, sits Trattoria della Barchetta. The restaurant seems unassuming from the outside with about 4 visible windows flanking the front door with white awnings discreetly stating the restaurant’s name and a few small outside tables.

architecture in rome italy

Great architecture along the way

The first time we ate at Trattoria della Barchetta, it was me and my husband, and we were looking for a leisurely, romantic, authentic lunch. We had no plans for the afternoon and wanted food that would WOW us. We entered about 20 minutes after they started serving lunch. My first reaction was to the amazing smells. My second was that the dining space was so much larger on the inside than it seemed from the outside. I guess many locations in Rome have small entries but lead back into deep spaces. Then I saw a round table just left of the entrance full of a variety of fresh baked desserts.

Two men were busy behind a counter and looked up to greet us with a friendly “Ciao!” To one we asked, “Two for lunch?”, an immediate way of letting them know they were dealing with English speakers. The other brought us each a glass of cool, sweet, bubbling prosecco and a blob of hot, fried dough covered in fragrant olive oil to whet our appetites. They were so puffy and heavenly scented I asked if they were fried zucchini, but he insisted it was pizza. This was while we were still standing in the doorway! Then they showed us to our table.

selfie in rome italy restaurant

trattoria della barchetta menuTrattoria della Barchetta has a folded, laminated menu with English translations showing a wide variety of pastas, meats and desserts. Tucked inside is a brown piece of paper with a handwritten Italian menu. During my trip planning for Italy, someone told me to be on the lookout for this! Usually items that are handwritten are made with ingredients that are fresh that day. So we tossed the extended menu aside and just ordered off the Italian menu. And we were happy to find we could understand most of the Italian ourselves – from just a little time spent on Duolingo before our trip, plus Brian’s high school Spanish and my high school French. (You’ll find the link to their menu on their website is broken.)

Gnocchi with mushrooms

Gnocchi

Brian ordered gnocchi with mushrooms. There was not much of a sauce, maybe a drizzle of white wine. I had four-cheese tagliatelle pasta with black truffle. Both were great, but the truffles were a bit rich for me and I couldn’t finish my meal. Brian’s was amazing down to the last bite! I asked if we could each have one more of the little pizza dough balls we had when we came in, and they brought us a bowl full to enjoy. After we ate they came around with a tray of pastries to try (which I declined) and chocolate covered candied orange (which Brian insisted I had to try.) That put our tummies over the top and we took the Metro back to our apartment to shower and nap.

Tagliolini with cheese and truffles

Tagliolini with cheese and truffles

Pizza dough balls

I so enjoyed the meal, service and atmosphere, and was disappointed that we hadn’t room to try more – like beef or veal – that I told Brian I would be happy to return again for dinner one night. As it happened, we had a day trip to Pompeii and one of our fellow tourists mentioned on the train ride home that he wanted an authentic delicious dinner for his last night in Rome. I suggested Trattoria della Barchetta, showed him our food photos from lunch, and said, “I can’t guarantee we won’t be there too.” So he asked if we’d meet up with him, and we did at 8pm that night.

montecompatri wine in Rome Italy

one of the wines we tried

The three of us ate dinner like Italians that night. When you reserve a table in an American restaurant, they assume you’ll eat, pay, leave – and they can turn the table over to another paid customer. But in Italy when you reserve a table, you are expected to linger and it’s yours for the night. With all of our food, two bottles of wine and interesting conversation (he was also the parent of teenagers and had some cool travel stories to tell) we were there for a few hours. We shared two appetizers (one was mussels and clams but I forget the other one), veal, the same gnocchi Brian ordered, and more I can’t remember. (I let our new friend take the photos and he was going to email them to me but he hasn’t and I’ll probably never see him again.)

For dessert we ordered tiramisu to share – which the server came and made tableside. That added a special touch! They also brought over 4 bowls of cookies and sat them on the table for us to taste as we liked while we finished off our wine and conversations.

When supper was over and we were a little tipsy, I told Brian that we should visit the Trevi Fountain. I figured the big crowds would be gone at night. The one time we saw it during the day the crowd was so big we never pushed our way through to get close. It was also our last night in Rome, so I thought it was our last chance to toss a coin in. You are supposed to toss a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder to ensure a return trip to Rome. Rumor has it the money is collected to finance a supermarket for the poor people of Rome with the help of Italy’s Red Cross.

trevi fountain rome italy

Selfie at the Trevi Fountain

We walked to the Trevi Fountain with our buddy and found approximately 25 people hanging out. Nothing like the 6-rows deep crowd of 10am-5pm! We tossed our coin. Then we all set out for a nightcap.

By the time our drinks were finished, the Metro was no longer running, so Brian and I walked the 2.5 miles back to our apartment past The Vatican. This provided a lot of beautiful photo opportunities – with historical sites well lit at night. Brian was gushy and romantic about both our relationship and our pretty last stroll through Rome. I will have lovely memories for a long time from that night.

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Dinner at Dishoom, London

Just weeks before I visited London in June, my cousin’s wife was there with their daughter. I asked for suggestions about places to eat and things to do, and she recommended Dishoom. She called it “Indian food,” and after all four of us loved our meal at Sanaa (twice), we figured it was worth a shot.

map to dishoom kings crossDishoom describes themselves as paying “loving homage to the Irani cafés that were once part of the fabric of life in Bombay.” There is more than one Dishoom location, and we chose the King’s Cross location for dinner after a day in The British Museum. Luckily, my Google maps were choosing to load that day, so I could find the way from the train station to the restaurant. We almost didn’t make it, because the front door is not visible from the street. You have to walk around the side of a large (office?) building.

Kings Cross Station harry potter

Kings Cross Station

interactive birdcage art piece identified flying object

“Identified Flying Object” interactive birdcage art piece outside the station (DD2 inside)

Dishoom kings cross location

Dishoom – we found it!

We hadn’t eaten much that day, and had done a lot of walking, so we were ready to share a family-style feast! We were seated upstairs – the stairs are behind the clock in this photo:

dishoom interior

The four of us went through the menu, and since we were a little concerned with our pronunciations and the server understanding us, I started a notepad file on my phone and listed all the items we wanted to order. We got: lamb samosa, vegetable samosa, black daal, cheese naan, rice, calamari, chicken ruby, gunpowder potatoes, murgh malai, far far and 2 drinks for Brian. The samosas were yummy, the daal was amazing, the calamari my husband and kids liked so much they ordered a second portion (they were small, tapas-like sizes), and I loved the gunpowder potatoes but they were too spicy for Brian.

dishoom far far menu

See the description of Far Far?

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Here’s what Far Far looks like! It tasted like unsalted Bugles

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dishoom black daal

This daal was the best I’ve ever had, with creamy undertones!

IMG_2145 murgh malai dishoom chicken

The teen daughters enjoyed it! YOLO they said, about ordering the Far Far…

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Here’s a peek at some of the architecture:

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Through the window we could just make out a ping pong tournament

Through the window we could just make out a heated ping pong match

Aqua leather booths

Aqua leather booths

Bartender below us in the Permit Room

Bartender below us in the Permit Room chopping an ice block

It was trendy, funky, comfortable and fun. Although we all kind of wanted dessert eventually, we were full as we were leaving. We asked one of the hostesses if she could recommend a good place to have dessert in a couple hours. She recommended Flesh and Buns. “It’s near Matilda,” she said. “Matilda the musical?” I asked. “We actually have tickets to see that show on Wednesday. We’ll have to go to Flesh and Buns for dinner that night.”

 

10704222_10153285720715923_4313730862484977527_oThen – get this – she gave us 4 coupons to come back to Dishoom for breakfast and get a free drink! So two days later we were back for naan stuffed with eggs, sausage and other goodies! The runny egg yolks were really dark, almost orange. Farm fresh! My mango banana lassi was delicious!

She told us about the Flesh and Buns menu and said to ask for her boyfriend, Casper, one of the bartenders. And we did… but that meal is a story for a different time!

fleshandbuns london

 

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