Food for Body and Soul
Calabrese cuisine reigns supreme at Sacro e Profano 11, a church-turned-restaurant in Rome’s historic center.
Few steps from the Trevi Fountain, Sacro e Profano 11 boasts arguably one of the most unusual restaurant locations in all of the city: a church dating back to medieval times (now deconsecrated) replete in wall and ceiling frescoes and even an organ, long out of use. Nowadays, locals and tourists alike come here to worship at the altar of cucina calabrese, with a menu dedicated almost entirely to the traditional cuisine of the toe of Italy’s boot. Chef Roberto Scarnecchia, originally a soccer player for Rome’s beloved AS Roma team—the newly added “11” in the restaurant’s name was chosen in honor of his jersey number—serves as Sacro’s kitchen captain. Unfussy seafood-based dishes shine here, like octopus and potato tartare; tonnarelli pasta with shrimp and zucchini; raviolini stu ed with plum tomatoes; stewed baccalà (salt cod); grilled salmon fillet; seared tuna steak; and the catch of the day baked in parchment paper. Calabrese specialties range from Benedetto Cavalieri spaghetti with ‘nduja, a spicy pork sausage typical of the region; cavatelli with wild fennel, tomato, and sausage; smoked ricotta; cutting boards laden with salumi (think capocollo, salsiccia, and the aforementioned ‘nduja), and roasted veal alla fornara, with rosemary, garlic, and potatoes. A wood-burning oven bakes pizzas to a crisp perfection, and an intriguing wine list is also on o er. The star of the dessert selection, meanwhile, is hands-down Sacro’s tartufo. Hailing from Pizzo Calabro, this sweet consists of a decadent scoop of gelato filled with dark melted chocolate. Prefer to dine al fresco? Revel in the mild September weather at the outdoor seating area close to the city’s most famous fountain.