There’s been a lot of talk regarding Rome street food lately. Suppli, pizza al taglio and more panini places than you can count. You would think that street food has been ‘rediscovered’ by a new generation . But there’s one place that has been serving the same simple, quick and cheap Roman street food for generations.
Fried fillet of bacala’ is a Roman standard. The flaky fillets are dipped in a heavy egg batter, fried, and served piping hot. Although you can usually find them served at most pizzerias around town, the best place to enjoy them is Dar Filettaro.
This small hole-in-the-wall doesn’t kid around. They specialize in one thing, and one thing only: big, steaming hunks of freshly fried bacala’. Yes, there are a few other things on the menu, including a few different kinds of preserved pickled vegetables. And if you want to be really Roman, order a plate of acciughe con burro, anchovies with butter, to start.
But the main draw is of course the bacala’. You order it by the piece, and each is really quite big. I can barely make it through one, although Domenico can eat at least one and half. But don’t worry, you can always order until you are full. And don’t even think about using a knife and fork. Those flimsy little napkins that are hiding under your plate are there for a reason. Grab a couple and use them to hold your filetto, which is meant to be eaten with your hands.
If you are there winter through early spring, make sure you order the puntarelle, a salad of endive dressed with a lemony anchovy vinaigrette. And if you want to be truly authentic, order a carafe of the slightly fizzy house white, still decanted from taps in the vintage fridge. (I usually play it safe, and stick to beer )
In the summer the outdoor tables in the tiny pedestrian piazza are heavenly.
My only gripe is that they aren’t open for lunch. They do, however, open at 5:30 pm so you can actually make this a stop before dinner if you’d like. And if the lines are too much (there are always lines at dinner time), just head straight to the back to the kitchen and order your bacala to go. That’s what Romans do.
Largo dei Librari 88
Monday – Saturday, 5:30 pm-11:30pm.
For more information on dining in Rome, download my app, Eat Italy, available on iTunes.