On my latest visit to Rome we decided to be more adventurous and explore areas outside the Centro Storico (the historical centre). Last time we had ‘braved it’ for the first time, and taken a taxi to Marzapane, about a 10 – 15 minute taxi ride away from Piazza Navona. It had been such a success that it gave us confidence to continue exploring Rome’s less central areas.
This time, we started with Pigneto.
Pigneto is an eastern ‘suburb’, though it’s only a 15 minute taxi ride away (or Metro journey) and you could probably compare it to Dalston / Peckham / Hackney in look and feel. It’s up and coming but technically already ‘up’, all the (hip) restaurants and bars were certainly heaving on the Friday night and while this isn’t really an area you’d come to for sightseeing, if you’re looking for good (and super affordable) food and drinks, then you’ll love it.
The main focus of the area is around the aptly named via del Pigneto, a pedestrianised street lined with vibrant restaurants and bars. I could easily have stopped to eat at a number of places, but we kept walking until we got to Primo. While we were pretty much the first people there (at 20:15), it didn’t matter at all. The staff are so charming and welcoming, that you immediately feel at home here. The interiors are laid back industrial, but with a warmth you tend not to get at places like this.
We all fell in love with our waiter Leroy (yes, that really was his name), who was beyond helpful and put up with our ridiculous conversations. And we enjoyed all our food, the highlights being the grilled octopus with horseradish cream to start, and the lemon curd for pudding. The only dish which was disappointing was the veal sweetbreads with truffle, which were chewy and any taste of truffle was strangely absent. But the pasta dishes were all excellent, and I liked their original way of doing tiramisu with ice cream.
The wine menu is wonderfully affordable (we drank an excellent Barbera D’Asti for EUR26 a bottle), and they also have organic wines if that’s your thing (it’s not ours).
Originally when we got out of the taxi in Pigneto my father asked me why on earth I’d taken him there. That night he understood why. And if my Dad can think areas that Pigneto are ‘really cool’, then it’s most definitely a winner.
Via del Pigneto, 46