It’s the end of the world as we know it. If you haven’t had your head in the clouds, then you know that today, May 11, is the day an earthquake will hit Rome, rendering the city eternal no more. Though I would be devastated if the Colosseum were to complete its collapse (in 1349 most of the southern wall fell), I may be more crushed if my favorite restaurant La Matricianella were to disappear.
La Matricianella is my home away from home. Located on a side street just around the corner from Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina (near busy Via dei Condotti), La Matricianella screams postcard perfect whose rough translation could be “touristy”- I’ll let you handle that idea. Though the initial thought is made-in-Hollywood restaurant, thanks to the blue checkered table cloths, ecru umbrellas and uncannily busy outdoor and indoor dining, the hypnotic aromas that immediately greet you are just the first confirmation that you are about to set foot into a slice of Roman heaven. The second- the patient, prompt and sometimes quite cute waiters.
Lest I be melodramatic, La Matricianella’s dreamy cuisine is the perfect and only menu for my Death Row dinner, my Last Night on Earth locale and unequivocally my Last Supper send-off. For the quick breakdown, the cuisine is tipica romana- the usual pasta primi like carbonara and amatriciana, and the standard secondi such as trippa alla romana (tripe), scottadito (lamb), saltimbocca alla romana (veal) and polpette (meatballs like you’ve never had before). Along with fried zucchini flowers, the obvious artichokes appear alla romana (lightly stewed) and alla giudia (fried). All incredibly well done and in abundance.
For the not-so-typical, there are the seasonal puntarelle (root tips of a bitter leafy green with an anchovy-garlic-olive dressing), the interestingly nominated secondo of melanzana alla parmigiana (eggplant parmesan) and my favorite: filetto al pepe verde essentially, and in the vernacular, interpreted a la Eggs Benedict- a thick filet in a green pepper and light cream sauce resting on a piece of bread. La Matricianella’s wine lists add another slight wrinkle to the stereotypical Roman facade. In solidarity to the Lazio region, two wine tomes are provided- the thinnish Lazio and the codex of Everywhere Else: Italy and the rest of the world.
Put it on speed dial: La Matricianella, via del Leone 4, 06 6832100, Mondays through Saturdays, Lunch and Dinner.
*Searching for something to critique? The swinging gate leading down to the cantina drives me nuts.