Thursday, April 19, 2012
You already know about my obsession for finding old fashioned bars or pastry shops that haven’t been horribly ‘renovated’. I hope you aren’t getting bored with these kinds of places? I’m not. Which is why I was so happy to discover this one the other day.
I have to admit I’d passed it by about a million times. But I was always on the back of Domenico’s scooter. Every single time I'd make a mental note to return, but somehow the note kept getting lost (That seems to happen a lot. Too much mental clutter?).
But the other day I was walking around, researching some gluten-free places for an upcoming Food Tour, and so was off my usual beaten track. As I headed from Via Giubbonari to Ponte Sisto, I finally remembered to visit Mariani, since I was walking right by it.
It had always looked enticingly untouched from the outside. It was even more vintage than I had imagined on the inside. The neon signs, the ivory-colored enameled coffee machine and the case full of simple pastries and sandwiches were enough to pull me in.
But what I really loved was the back room. As it turns out this bar used to be a working bakery as well. Not only did they decide to leave well enough alone in the bar part of things, they actually left the back room pretty much in tact as a forno. A hulking oven, stand up mixer, tiled walls and huge stone pastry table were left as is. They only added a few bentwood chairs and marble-topped tables so that you can enjoy your cappucino and occhio di bue amid the urban articfacts.
I guess it’s sort of ironic that I discovered this shrine to gluten-past while researching gluten-free. And even if I wouldn’t send any of my celiac friends here for the food (mostly wheat filled pastries and sandwiches) the setting is reason enough to enjoy a completely gluten-free cappucino or aperitivo, right?
Antico Bar Pasticceria Mariani
Via dei Pettinari 44, Rome