I don't usually post restaurant reviews here. I commonly save those for my Italian blog, Forchettine.
But last night I had dinner in a place that deserves a bigger audience.
I have recently written up a short list of my favorite Roman restaurants for my foodie column on The American | In Italia magazine, and am now cursing myself for not knowing about Metodo Classico sooner, to include it in all my Rome's Best lists.
Down the street from the recently inaugurated MAXXI contemporary art museum, just a few blocks from the Rome Auditorium concert hall, and around the corner form the Teatro Olimpico, Metodo Classico caters to a culturally inclined audience, as well as devoted aficionados. It's not uncommon in fact to bump into Zaha Hadid (critically acclaimed Iraqi architect responsible for the majestic MAXXI) or famous musicians, conductors and actors that work in the nearby venues.
The relaxed atmosphere, which is elegant yet unpretentious, is exalted by wise lighting, modern lustre and comfortable seating. The limited number of tables–45 table settings–guarantee a cozy, quiet and homey environment; the fresh flowers, art books filling the shelves and classic jazz musical selections add a note of sophisticated flair to the warm ambiance.
"Metodo Classico" refers to the traditional method of making champagne, and that's exactly what guests are welcomed with here, when they arrive. Our party of 4 enjoyed a frosty bottle of bubbly rosé in the outside seating section before being assigned to our table inside.
And now the food. The quality is stellar, and yet the prices are not.
Chef Marco Salis, with his extensive expertise in the gastronomy field is a true master at matching the perfect wine to the delicious dishes he cooks with simple passion. It is this same passion that drives Samba Gaetani Lovatelli D’Aragona, born into a winemaking dynasty, to work the dining room, welcoming guests and tending to their needs with such stylishness.
The menu varies daily, and all dishes are prepared with locally sourced, fresh ingredients, personally selected by the owners at the nearby open air market. Fish lovers should not pass up the mouthwatering array of raw and cooked seafood featured in the 20+ sample antipasto, the restaurant's "calling card," as Samba describes it. The rapid succession of tasty mouthfuls shines in the red mullet tartare, the sea bass carpaccio, the spiny lobster crudité or the divine European drum ceviche with tabacchiera (Saturn) peaches. When the crudo leaves room for the cooked hors d'oeuvres, tears of emotion spill before the warm escabeche anchovies in saor, a creamy baccalà alla Vicentina crostino, or the breathtaking Stocco alla Livornese (cod stewed in savory tomato sauce).
But the list of delights, should your appetite be large, does not end here: apart from traditional seafood restaurant dishes like fettuccine agli scampi, the surf entrée selections vary. Roman pasta staples like amatriciana and cacio e pepe are always on the menu, while the meat selections includes two tender Chianina beef cuts: filet and tagliata. But carnivores can also enjoy the house ossobuco and a rosemary-flavored chicken breast tagliata.
The complimentary bread basket is filled with thick slices of dark and crusty homestyle pane casareccio and desserts are decadent and inventive, with peak performance in the house dark chocolate tart with molten oozing heart, and the warm apple crumble served in sexy bite-size morsels.
As devoted vino philosophers, Marco and Samba make sure Metodo Classico's wine, champagne and liqueur list is vast and varied, satisfying all palates and wallets.
Don't be like me, don't procrastinate your visit to Metodo Classico. Book and hurry over there quick, before the tables are all occupied.
Via Guglielmo Calderini, 64 - Rome (Flaminio) See Map
Tel. +39 06 324 4262 | Closed Monday - Open for lunch only on reservation
Major credit cards accepted