On our first night in Rome, after discovering the delights of “real” pizza, we wanted to continue the culinary adventure, looking for a local restaurant for my birthday dinner.
Staying along Via Nazionale at the La Griffe M Gallery was central to the Metro and walking distance to The Colosseum, Palatino and Forum with many local restaurants to be found through the winding cobblestones side streets.
Grezzo Raw Chocolate Shop on Via Urbana was a wonderful discovery as was Cotto Bar & Restaurant on Via Torino where would we stop in after a big day to enjoy a beer and Aperol Spritz to watch the people of Rome go about their business.
OK, back to the restaurant search for tonight’s dinner! Remember, when you want to find something local, ask a local. The doorman at our hotel, Joseph, was an encyclopaedia of information and suggested a restaurant within 5 minutes’ walk of the hotel. He explained that it had been in the one family for generations and had amazing seafood.
As we approached Restaurant Rinaldo on Via Palma there were no flashy lights to attract the tourists, this was a local’s restaurant and the staff welcomed us with open arms. After descending the stairs (and practicing our Italian) we picked a fish from the huge selection that was on ice, together with some pasta, bread and a bottle of red wine, we relaxed and enjoyed some amazing hospitality.
A trip to the bathrooms takes you past the cellar which was small with a locked iron gate and full of red wine which looked intriguing. When commenting on this to the manager he took us in to have a look. He explained where the wine had come from over the years, the old bottles, the expensive bottles and the rating system so we could pick certain wines that were to our taste as we travelled through Italy.
Restaurant Rinaldo certainly lived up to our expectations of delicious food, great wine and local hospitality.
Remember when travelling make sure you seek out local experiences, ones that are off the beaten track because you will often find something really special.