A Journey of Taste
A new restaurant in Rome’s most international neighborhood combines traditional Italian cuisine with more exotic flavors. Federico Schiaffino digs in.
The idea for newly opened Vittorio Spezie & Cucina came from the desire to take diners on a journey that reveals how traditional Italian gastronomy has been influenced by the multicultural area around Rome’s Piazza Vittorio, with its famous colorful market stocked with exotic ingredients and fragrant spices.
Vittorio—which encompasses a restaurant, pizzeria, and cocktail bar—continues the theme of travel in its choice of décor. Think eclectic vintage furniture, leather suitcases, and ornate timepieces, all of which conjure up an old-time, speakeasy ambience. The menu is composed of a select number of dishes, chosen to showcase the high quality ingredients used in each recipe. Start your meal with vitello tonnato, a northern specialty of sliced veal with tuna sauce; or meatloaf with salsa verde and Spanish Cantabrian anchovies. To follow, there’s Vittorio’s take on oxtail (shredded and served with orecchiette pasta); trenette pasta with spiced duck ragù; chicken and pepper stew; guinea fowl confit; pork neck with orange chutney; and salt cod with Sichuan pepper, spiced polenta, and squid ink crisps. Don’t forget the wood-fired pizzas either, made with specialist Italian flours and leavened for at least 72 hours. Toppings range from the traditional, like the classic margherita or marinara, to the adventurous, such as the mari e monti, which comes piled with anchovies, prawns, porcini and cardoncelli mushrooms, and burrata. Complete your meal with one of the desserts on offer, such as lemon tartlet, tiramisù, or dark chocolate mousse, served with chocolate shortbread and raspberry jelly. The abundant cocktail list features a fun and unusual selection of drinks, mixed with spices and botanicals, to accompany the elegant cuisine. Wine, meanwhile, comes courtesy of the passionate owner and refined lover of labels.