Monday, June 20, 2011
For some reason Gigetto gets a bad rap from a lot of people. They think it’s too touristy, or don’t like their food. But I’ve been going there since I was 12, and can truthfully say I have never had a bad meal here. In fact, it is one of my favorite restaurants in Rome.
Don’t look to Gigetto for fancy, or creative. Do run here for all the Roman classics – amatriciana, carbonara and gricia are all excellent. Since they are located in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto, they naturally specialize in Roman Jewish dishes, and have been doing so long before it became trendy.
My favorite are, of course, the famous Carciofi alla Giudea: deep- fried artichokes. Absolutely do not leave Rome without having tried one. To see how they are made, I've posted a video (with me) getting a behind the scenes tour at Gigetto, at the end of this post. I was there last week and my favorite waiter was there as he always is, every Tuesday and Thursday, prepping cases and cases of artichokes for frying.
And just to be clear, Gigetto uses fresh, local Roman artichokes when they are in season. But they do extend the period by importing gorgeous artichokes violettes from the south of France. Me? I'm ok with that. A lot of my colleagues moan about not everything being 100% local, but....well...these ones taste pretty darn good.
I took these photos last week, when I stopped by for lunch. We started out with the carciofi (of course) which were perfectly crispy on the the outside, and melt-in-your-mouth tender near the heart. The zucchini flowers were the first of the season and stuffed with a salty anchovy before they were deep fried in batter.
The gricia was among the best I've had, made with hand made taglierini. The dish came with a mountain of freshly grated fluffy pecorino on top, and just enough pasta water at the bottom of the dish. A few twists of a spoon and fork and it was perfectly amalgamated in a creamy richness flecked with pepper.
Our main course were a few grilled baby lamb chops, abbacchio scottaditto, with a side of vignarola (the last of the season).
The location, right under the ruins of Portico D’Ottavio, can’t be beat, so sit outside if weather permits. The restaurant is still family run, and the brothers are very much in charge with mamma behind the cash register. Stefano, the older brother, actually owns the bakery next door, Dolce Roma, which supplies very non-traditional (sacher torte and cheese cake) desserts, so make sure you save room.
Via Portico d'Ottavia 21/a
06 686 1105