Piazza della Cancelleria 74-75, Rome near Piazza Campo de' Fiore
Today I wandered a bit further from my hotel for dinner (but not too far). Earlier today I talk a walk through the Campo de' Fiore and scoped out 2 restaurant options for dinner. One was a place called Da Sergio, a classic red and white check tablecloth trattoria and the second was Ditirambo. Ditirambo stood out to me because when I read the posted menu I noticed it was different. Although I was really craving some classic pasta carbonara, I selected Ditirambo.
Ditirambo is a small restaurant right near the Piazza Campo de'Fiore. Out of all the restaurants I have seen and of all the menu's I have read, this is by far the most original. I also read that many of their ingredients come from organic sources. At Ditirambo, you won't find carbonara, amitriciana or alfredo on the menu. Instead there are some real creative combinations and seasonal specialties.
The interior of Ditirambo is simple, the tables are dressed in green and white checked cloths and the mood is warm. At first glance at the exterior one would think this is a mom and pop, but once you see your first dish, you realize this is more.
To start I am having the pumpkin ravioli (€9.50). This sounds basic but the dish was exquisite. There were 3 ravoli's filled with pumpkin (zucca) and in a light sage flavored cream sauce. Over the top there was finely crumbled ameretto biscuits. At least that's what I think they were because they were very sweet. As I ate I thought that I wanted this dish to last forever. Excellent.
For my main course I couldn't decide between the pork with smoked ham and chestnut puree or the Osso Buco. I asked the waiter what he thought and he suggested the Osso Buco. This is a pretty typical dish and I was curious what they would do with it.
I wasn't disappointed.
The Osso Buco (€15) wasn't prepared in the typical "red sauce" fashion but it seemed to be in a white wine and light pesto and olive oil topped with sliced almonds. Regardless of the preparation it was the best and most tender Osso Buco I've ever had. In fact it was so good I mopped up every bit of sauce with my bread.
Speaking of bread, the bread basket here was well worth the price (€1.50). There was a variety of breads, every one of them was delicious.
After my Osso Buco I had a salad of fennel, oranges and pomigranite seeds (€8). It was beautifully prepared and looked delicious. I have to say this was a lot of fennel, in fact, too much for my liking. I loved the orange slices and pomigranite though.
As I moved on I selected the Tiramisu for dessert (€6). On the menu it said it was saffron scented. What trattoria in Rome would even attempt this? If you like tiramisu, you won't be disappointed. It has a nice flavor and was very creamy, but I didn't really taste the saffron. Saffron is such a mild flavor that I think the coffee flavor in the dessert overwhelmed it.
I want to also note the wine here is also better then most places. At Ditirambo they offer a few wines by the glass, but not the typical flavorless jug wine offered in most places. I had two glasses of the Nero d'Avola and I really enjoyed it.
To finish off this fabulous meal I ended with a nice after amaro liquore from Venice. I originally asked for my favorite, Montenegro, but it wasn't available. The waiter suggested one they had from Venice. It was a real treat but I cannot remember the name.
I will say that of all the places I've dined in Europe this will be in my mind as one of the most memorable.
I originally read about Ditirambo in many of the popular guidebooks and in some they described the service here as "brusque". I disagree. I thought the service levels were friendly and personal. This also isn't the type of restaurant that positions someone on the street to hail you in.
If you want to dine at Ditirambo, either come early (they open at 1pm for lunch or 7.30pm for dinner) or reserve. I arrived at about 7.45pm and the place was near empty. At 8.30 they filled up immediately to capacity.
My meal at Ditirambo ended with my check and three small home made biscotti.
The total bill this evening was €48 ($63). Don't let the high ticket scare you. This evenings dinner included all the courses and frills including wine, sparkling water and dessert. I wasn't charged for the after dinner drink.
Regardless, the meal was worth every penny.