Ristorante Paris in Trastevere

Pizza di patate

Yesterday I had pizza di patate for lunch—potato pizza, which is simply thinly sliced potatoes with rosemary and onion baked to a light crisp on top of pizza dough. Many pizza lovers rave about pizza di patate, but I thought it was just okay and eventually picked off all of the potatoes and ate only the crust. Potato pizza doesn’t make my list of Rome’s greatest pizzas. Lest you think I’m being too hasty about this, I had the pizza from my favorite forno on Campo de’ Fiori, and I trust them to be at the top of the pizza game.

To make up for this sad event, Michael and I went to dinner last night across the river in Trastevere. Michael wanted to try Ristorante Paris, which specializes in “authentic Roman cuisine.” Many restaurants in Trastevere claim to specialize in authentic Roman cuisine, and if they serve food as good as the food at Ristorante Paris, I’d better buy several pairs of walking shoes, because I’m going to need them!

Ristorante Paris is located in Piazza San Calisto, a short block south of Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. It’s a charming restaurant with a wide patio, rattan chairs, and stemmed wine glasses, and it has served food since 1890. Although we didn’t have a reservation, we arrived at about 8:30 and snagged one of the last tables. That surprised us because most restaurants don’t begin filling up until 9 or later.

Agnolotti in butter with veal and black truffles

For an appetizer we each had a carciofi alla giudia, a Jewish-style artichokes that is fried and eaten warm.  For our main course Michael had the most delicious grilled lamb that we’ve ever tasted. It was coated with herbs and served rare with fried eggplant and some other vegetables. I chose agnolotti in butter sauce with veal and black truffles. It was simply amazing. The chewy black truffles were shaved over the top of the agnolotti and tasted like the forest. It’s one of the best pastas I’ve ever eaten. The outstanding food reminded us of one of our favorite restaurants near Charlottesville: Palladio at Barboursville. Neither of us wanted our meal to end.

For dessert we shared a crème brûlée, which was very nice. As we walked home, we passed Cremi, our favorite gelateria in Rome (so far), and Michael couldn’t resist a small cone. I had no room for more than a bite of his, and I was quite jealous! So this morning, I decided to return to Trastevere, even though I ALWAYS get lost there.

Interior of Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere

I set off at about 10:30, vaguely remembering that the gelateria opened at 11. I wandered successfully to Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere—only feeling lost a couple of times—and went in for a visit. It’s one of the oldest Christian churches in Rome, dating back to 340 AD. It’s rather plain and doesn’t look much like a church from the outside, but the inside is very elaborate, as are so many churches in Rome.

I sat in the sanctuary for several minutes and then continued walking south through Trastevere to Viale di Trastevere, the major street through Trastevere and the one that crosses Ponte Garibaldi (see my post from yesterday). Success! I was so excited! I retraced my steps—I didn’t dare do anything else!—and arrived at the gelateria at 11:30. Chiuso! (Closed!) It opens every day at 1. It’s probably for the best, but I REALLY wanted my coffee ice cream!


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