La Reginella

by Danilo Brunetti

When Kosher Means Delicious

At an authentic restaurant in Rome’s Jewish quarter, discover just how exquisite kosher food can taste. Danilo Brunetti takes a look.

In the heart of the Jewish Ghetto, La Reginella serves a rich array of traditional recipes, every one of which adheres to strict Kosher food rules. Each ingredient is carefully selected by the warm, welcoming owner, Italia Sonnino Tagliacozzo, who is affectionately called “Nonna Italia” by everyone who knows her. At 80 years young, she proudly displays her knowledge of ancient recipes that have been handed down for generations. Assisted by her nephew Angelo di Porto, she offers her diners the cornerstones of Kosher cuisine, which is based on a few fundamental concepts, such as the rule that only ruminant animals can be consumed; certain birds are also forbidden; and only fish with fins and scales can be eaten. Perhaps most well known is the strict separation of milk and meat in all meals, based on the Torah scripture, “You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”

The first actor to take the stage (or the menu, as the case may be) is the artichoke, which is served alla giudia (deep fried and open like a flower) or alla romana (steamed). Other stand- out antipasti include the anchovies with endive or the stuffed zucchini, both excellent starting points for the first courses to follow. Indulge in gluttonous pastas such as mezze maniche with oxtail sauce; tonnarelli with anchovies, cherry tomatoes, and breadcrumbs; or ravioli stuffed with sea bass and bottarga ( fishroe). Second courses Roman baccalà (salt cod); sea bass steak with artichokes; and Jewish-style lamb with garlic and herbs are not to be missed. End your meal with a classic cherry tart, with or without sweet ricotta.

The wine cellar is stocked with Kosher labels, which are just as flavorful as the non-Kosher blends of Merlot, Syrah, or Cabernet Sauvignon.
> Via del Portico d’Ottavia, 65. Tel 0668801607.