So it finally happened. I went to Italy! It had been the food-finding mission of my dreams for years, and there I was. So much to eat, so little time…
Of course, I’d done some research before the trip. All sources (including Alberto at the Country House Montali – reviews coming soon!) pointed me to Il Margutta Ristorarte, an upscale vegetarian restaurant near the Spanish Steps, so after landing and getting our bearings, we set out to find it on the artsy Via Margutta.
Now, I’m normally an indoor cat, but the weather was too perfect to sit inside. We chose a table on the patio in front, where tall potted plants rustled in the breeze. Our server came to introduce himself and started what I’m sure was his usual disclaimer – “you know this is an all-vegetarian restaurant, right?” He was delighted to find that I was all-vegetarian as well.
As vegetarians, we mentally grey-out most of any menu we get in a restaurant, so it can be overwhelming when every item is an option! Vegan and gluten free menus are included as well. I was tempted to get the Menu Gourmet (see page 7 on this menu; ours was different as it changes seasonally) but Eric wisely pointed out we should take it a bit easy on our stomachs after the long flight. I guess I’ll have to order it next time, when I’ll have Meera with me (this must happen, Meera).
While we were deciding what to order, our server brought out the chef’s complimentary amuse – a delicious and tiny potato, tomato, red onion and arugula salad with a dollop of strained creamy yogurt and whole wheat croutons.
Of course, we had to try the squash (courgette) blossoms, stuffed with Ricotta cheese, thyme & toasted pine nuts. I’d always had squash blossoms fried before, but these raw flowers were tender and refreshing. Yes. I was eating flowers. In Rome. Still not over it.
Next came the chilled fig and melon platter with baked ricotta cheese & honey. Italians don’t seem to think you can have too many kinds of cheese in a meal (not complaining here) and the figs were just bursting with their unique sweetness.
For my secondi piatti, I had ricotta ravioli on top of a melt-in-your-mouth tomato and eggplant sauce. Yes, that is a little cup of burrata on the side, and I hate to admit I could not finish it. I did savor every last bit of that eggplant though.
Eric ordered the fresh tagliatelle with a tomato & basil sauce with mozzarella di bufala & spicy peppers. The pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce flavorful but not overpowering.
Alas, there was no room for dessert, but like I said, I am determined to go again! Don’t miss it if you ever find yourself in Rome. Eat there twice if you can.
Via Margutta, 118
00187 Rome, Italy