Thursday, October 4, 2012
If you’re visiting Rome as a tourist then I would never ever suggest you go to an ethnic restaurant here. Although I often go to places like Sitar and Hasekura even I realize that they are not up to what most people who live in bigger cities like London and New York are used to.
But for those of us expats with a hankering for something other than pizza and pasta, finding ethnic food that will satisfy that craving has become the holy grail.
When it comes to Chinese food the situation is particularly grim. There has been a virtual explosion of bad Chinese restaurants in the last 15 years or so. I can remember when I moved back to Rome in 1989, there were about three. Now? Can’t even count’em. And for the most part, they are bad, bad, and worse.
Luckily there are exceptions. One of our favorites is Mr. Chow Due and take out from there on a Sunday night has become so routine that the owner recognizes my voice and already knows same four dishes that I always order.
But every so often we want a change of pace. Different dishes, maybe? Which is why I was so happy to discover a new, very good, Chinese restaurant: Food + Beverages. Yes, strange name. And even stranger location. It’s directly across the street from the entrance to Termini on Via Gioliti. You literally have to walk over drunks lying in the street to make your way to the door. Nice.
Once inside however, all is bright, clean and cheerful. Full of not only Italians seriously digging in with chopsticks, but also tables full of Chinese ordering mysterious dishes not on the menu. Both good signs.
I’ve been there a few times now and everything we’ve ordered has been excellent. All dumplings are obviously prepared in house, with delicate wrappers and perfectly seasoned fillings. Emma always orders egg drop and corn soup, which is surprisingly good. Not just real chicken broth, but chicken as well.
I’m completely addicted to the crispy beef, which the waitress recommended as a house specialty. It is pretty much the orange beef I used to order as a teenager in New York and haven't seen since.
The spicy squid was perfectly cooked - not all rubbery and actually spicy. A big plate of 'seasonal vegetables' was stir fried bok choy, barely wilted and with no cornstarch at all (a novelty in Rome.)
There are a few things I still want to try. Duck Tongues and Chicken Feet were on the display buffet, and were weirdly tempting. But the one thing I am definitely going back for is the Peking Duck. Almost every table of Chinese had a platter of it, and it looked delicious. It has to be ordered the day before (another good sign) and is enough for a small group. I see another girls night out in my future.
Food + Beverage
Via Giovanni Giolitti, 105
For more information on dining in Rome, download my app, EAT ROME , available on iTunes and for Android.