Before we went to our guided tour of the Colosseum, we had a morning walk around the hotel area and then settled down for a nice little lunch. For the lunch we decided to go to the Osteria Gran Sasso, which I picked up from Google as an authentic neighbourhood restaurant in the vicinity.
To start with, we had plates from the antipasto buffet (the prices for the dishes were around 10-12e and the antipasto buffet was per person, but we got some plates instead for five persons for around 25e). There was a salad of beans and carrots, some mushrooms, dry-cured ham (crudo), grilled zucchini, olives, bread, cheese and such.
For the main dishes, I had the pasta all’arrabiata. The dish was quite good, the penne was cooked perfectly and the sauce had a bit of a kick to it, although I do like it slightly more fiery (but not too much).
My wife had a risotto with shrimps and she liked it, although I did have to shell the shrimp for here.
Our older girl had fish (of course) and it came with potatoes and cherry tomatoes. She nibbled at it, but the antipasto in the beginning had taken the edge off of our hunger.
Our eldest had the pasta ragú (‘natch) and enjoyed it. All in all, the restaurant served very authentic food in a authentic setting. This is a good place to go if you want a feel for a nice Roman neighbourhood restaurant.
The restaurant is clean, but also rather old and you can sense the time that has passed in the decor. The service was friendly, but don’t expect to get by with just English.
After a nice lunch at the Tomoko Tudini, we kept on walking around Rome. The littlest one started napping in the carriage and the sun pounded on us with such a scorching heat that we had to take shelter.
Luckily for us the Palazzo Delle Esposizioni came to view as we were walking along the Via Nazionale and the wall was plastered with large ads about the Gianni Berengo Gardin – “Vera Fotografia” exhibition. Seeing as my wife is a photographer, we decided that it would be a great idea to peruse the imagery of Mr. Gardin and went in through the side entrance (the steps of the main entrance can be rather daunting with a sleeping child in the carriage).
The exhibition was lovely. The collection of images on display were thoughtfully categorised along large themes and had a clear narrative from the early days through to the more jarring pictures of lunatic asylums and so on. The pictures gave a though provoking show of Italy and also a world gone by. The photographs of Venice gave rise to memories of our honeymoon over at the Floating City.
The Palazzo Delle Esposizioni was a spectacular building and it was quite easy to navigate even with the carriage holding our sleeping child. I heartily recommend going over here, the exhibition was well curated and the whole experience went extremely well.
This restaurant was a part of a longer walk that we took around Rome, going from our hotel towards the central railway station and onwards to the beautiful Palazzo Delle Esposizioni. But before we went to see the wonderful photography of Gianni Berengo Gardin, we stopped over for lunch at the Tomoko Tudini restaurant. This place had a cozy terrace on the street with fans blowing for some relief in the high noon sun.
My wife had the Insalata Nizzarda (i.e. Salade niçoise, 11e) with fresh tuna, salad, olives and hard boiled eggs. The salad was lovely and the tuna was fresh and tasty with a nice char.
We also got some olive oil and balsamic for the bread. The bread was fresh and we went through the lot quite quickly while dipping it in the oil.
My son went for the pasta with ragú (10e). This was a very good version of it, with fresh pasta and a deeply delicious meat sauce.
Our older girl had the fish (close to 20e, I think), which was grilled whole and came like that to the table. The dish was quite spectacular, with the oven fried potatoes (in essence these were crisps/chips), but the whole fish did look a bit daunting to our girl.
Luckily the waiter asked if we wanted him to clean the fish and as we said yes, he took it apart in a quick manner and our daughter made a lovely feast of it. The fish was excellent and the chips were crispy.
I had a pizza (diavolo, if I recall correctly, approx. 10e) and I have to say that of all the pizza’s eaten while in Rome, this was clearly the best one I had. The crust was top notch and the tomato sauce tasted just wonderful. The oozing cheese and the slightly hot salami closed the deal for me, this was a very good and filling lunch.
The terrace was surprisingly nice and we had a great time just sitting here and relaxing after a long walk on the streets of Rome. The service was excellent and our waiter took care of everything with ease. The kids were also treated with care and all of us left the restaurant happy.