Continuing my streak of useless Rome posts I will now write about our last meal in Italy. Why is a post about this particular meal useless you ask? Well, good question Timmy! The answer lies with Google and the reason I picked this place in the first place. Virtually every Rome blogger and their nonnas has already blogged about Cesare since they opened a few years ago. Some of them even show you the same pictures like the Kodak friendly meatballs and the fried gnocchi. I really don’t have much new to offer here. The Oxtail? Looks like that tip was already covered by Katie Parla. “off the beaten path”, “Last stop on #8 tram”, “Only locals”, “gotta have the fried stuff”, bla bla bla, all of that was already covered extensively. Perhaps I could add a picture of myself trying to smile but that would just make things more awkward and may ruin any appetite you may have, or may make you moody. I got nothing but reconfirm what the locals already said. Cesare al Casaletto has left us impressed.
Its almost like every major Italian tourist destination has this line in the sand. Cross the line and you dine with the locals. Cesare is well beyond the line but extremely easy to get to especially if you are staying in Trastevere. Take tram #8 all the way to the last stop, about 15 minutes from the river, and its right there on Casaletto street.
I almost didnt make it to Cesare after seeing less than glowing reviews on the boards. But then it hit me. Caicos Cafe in Turks and Caicos is just about my favorite restaurant in the world, but does not always get rave reviews from visitors. So just like I expect my friends and family to trust my judgement on Caicos Cafe I decided to stop reading and start trusting.
The menu here reads like a roman cuisine dictionary with a surprising English translation for such a residential area trattoria away from the center. Within an hour the place got filled with locals. How do I know they were all locals? Well for starters everyone got kisses from the staff except us. I tried forcing a wet one but the young waiter got a little confused.
Appetizer portion of the menu consisted of all sorts of fried staff which is a specialty here. Started with a very interesting and very generous fried gnocchi on a bed of light cream. Terrific, although the the gnocchi loving little ones declared their preference for the regular kind. Tough to argue but this was satisfyingly unique nonetheless. Excellent fresh succulent mussels here. The reason we order them everywhere is because the kids ask for them every time they see them. But the star of the apps and perhaps the entire meal was probably the meatballs with pesto. Not the meatballs your mamma used to make. Better! Like an airy slow cooked savory brisket balls. Well done!
The pastas were fine here but again the least memorable course as was the case with all the meals in Rome not named Sorpasso. More of a testament to the other courses here really. You select a pasta type and the classic preparation. I wanted another Carbonara and Cacio but the wife said lets try something else so I opted for a Gricia with Tonarelli and Bucatini Amatriciana which was more satisfying. I realized I prefer all the classics over the Gricia overall. Roman pastas to me is like Mexican food. A 3 to 5 ingredient shuffle. Pasta, Pecorino, Guanciale, black pepper, egg or tomato sauce. Stuff I would eat over Mexican food any time of course.
Another winner was the last course of oxtail stew. Chunky, falling of the bone juicy, tomatoee, packed with flavor meat. Although I forgot to take a picture of this one since we were so engaged telling the kids the story of Maximus (gladiator). I took pictures of pretty much every single dish on this trip except this last one
We skipped dessert this time and left very satisfied. For the price perhaps the best dinner in Rome (70 something. 100 euros less than Roscioli).
Special thanks to Hande of Vino Roma for all her help with the restaurant choices. Thanks Hande!