Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Osteria da Lucia, Rome

 Outside of Italy, Italian food tends to be heavy and robust and most first-time visitors to Italy find authentic Italian food too simple and light in terms of flavor. I think you have to re-set your palate and expectations to savor the freshness and simplicity of the cuisine. This was my second dinner in Italy and I was slightly disappointed because I wasn't used to the lack of meat even in meat dishes. Remember this was my first time to Italy. When I returned to Italy a month later, I loved the lightness and simplicity of the dishes made with fresh ingredients and without much condiments.

This restaurant was highly recommended by Rick Steves in his book, Best Of Europe. I think it was Osteria da Lucia in Trastevere, the old district of Rome. Osteria is a trattoria, family-run restaurant. We ordered the Roman dishes that Rick had recommended. The portions were rather stingy.

This was one of the best bread we ate in Italy and for me, it was a welcome change from baguettes.

I can't remember the name but it was a beef dish.

Trippa alla romano is a Roman dish of braised beef tripe. Tangy and good, full of tripe flavor.

Another famous Roman dish, alla amatriciana, which hardly had any guanciale or pig cheeks bacon.

Again, memory fails me but I do remember that this was a tasty pasta. The strong al dente-ness of the pasta surprised me. Back home, the pasta would've been considered too hard. It was a revelation to me what al dente should be.

We wanted to try another recommended restaurant just a few steps up from Osteria so we went there for dessert. They weren't happy that we weren't ordering dinner and said we had to order at least one main dish. We thought that was quite bossy and it was unnecessary to eat more than what we wanted so we left. There were plenty of places to eat and we didn't need to bow to any stupid rules.


~ Kat said...

I'm new to blogspot and just wanted to say Happy Gobbles Day! :)
omgosh your blog is yummy goodness! ^^

the lunch guy said...

the one thing about traveling that i enjoy is being able to compare the real local food of a country with what is touted as being an authentic cuisine when prepared and served in another country. i know that in most cases the foods have either been "watered down" due to the lack of proper ingredients or an even more ridiculous scenario, what the locals perceive the authentic version to be or can handle (ie: spicy foods). then when you eat the real deal, you are befuddled as to what happened in the translation. (i hope i was able to convey what i was thinking.)

terri, you say: They weren't happy that we weren't ordering dinner and said we had to order at least one main dish.

i am curious, how crowded, or not, was the restaurant in question? were they simply trying to maximize the "ROI" on every seat on a busy/premium night, or were they simply strong arming you into ordering more food than you wished?

if it is the later, then they are very short sighted. you may have enjoyed your dessert and returned the next day for a full blown lunch or dinner. if it was the first scenario, although it may not be too hospitable, this kind of policy is almost always enforced.

when i was in this situation as a proprietor, i would simply invite folks to sit in the lounge/waiting area or in the bar to enjoy a snack, app or dessert and coffee. 99% of the people would understand and graciously accept the invitation.

terri@adailyobsession said...

sd: there is a Happy Gobbles Day?*surprised*

lg: i get what you mean. i was piffed tt they insisted but your ROI comment made sense bc it was dinner time (eightish) and the restaurant was empty but i suppose they were expecting the crowd since the place was also on rick's list. we could've just ordered a main but there were lots of other places where they literally grab the customers as they walk by, esp those near the piazza. osteria n this other place are off the beaten path, tucked at the fringe of trastevere.

gerrie said...

Hi,am already in KK, will send you the Maldon in a couple of weeks, will ask for more info nearer the time.
BUT I have sourdough starter if you are in the mood. It' a "mixed" breed if you like, started with a "Gold Rush" San Francisco SD starter, and has been messing around with the wild bornean micro-organisms...thus named "FranBornean©" SD starter.

the lunch guy said...

terri you said: it was dinner time (eightish) and the restaurant was empty but i suppose they were expecting the crowd since the place was also on rick's list.

this for me casts a different light on the situation. if this was my place, or my staff speaking to you, it would have been a simple thing to explain that it was approaching dinner time, they were expecting diners to arrive, and if you wouldn't mind only having 20 minutes at the table, or until the table was needed, you could gladly have a dessert. then i would have quickly taken your order, delivered the food and coffees, and then handed you a menu to browse so as to up-sell you on a return visit the next day for a full meal, that is hospitality and good business sense.

what level of staff were you talking too? were you speaking to management/owner, or possible a wait person who is afraid to make a decision?

i will assume that you did not look like a disheveled-rowdy-hitch-hiking-hippie-vagrant-type-homeless-person. LOL

is it possible that there was a language barrier and they were unable to have a meaningful conversation with you? that is a big problem here in Thailand at times and non-Thai speakers feel put off, ignored, cheated, etc............................

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