Will I just state the obvious if I said Italian cuisine is one of the best in the world? At least that's how we feel about it! And when we found out we were going to spend one evening in Rome between flights, our first thoughts didn't exactly go towards the architectural jewels of the Eternal City, but all the Italian wine and food we could have. From our previous experiences we knew the best pasta dishes in the world are to be found in Italy, and though we aren't big pasta fans outside Michelangelo's country, we just can't help stuffing ourselves with fresh pasta whenever we have the chance to visit. So we booked a table at Fontana di Venere Restaurant (which actually translates into 'Venus Fountain'), partly because of its great location, partly because of all the great reviews it's got.
Fontana di Venere Restaurant is located on a small quiet alley next to the world famous Fontana di Trevi. It is somewhat hidden from the crowds, though it was actually fairly easy to find. We were greeted by the owner himself and though the restaurant was already packed, they gave us a great table in a somewhat more intimate part of the restaurant. Apparently fame precedes this restaurant and though it's now situated smack down in front of the Trevi Fountain, the hungry tourists and locals alike find their way here. Plus the guy handing flyers at the beginning of the alley does a great job at pointing everybody towards the restaurant.
Tip: Better book a table in advance.
|Antipasto della Casa|
At Fontana di Venere Restaurant they serve typically Roman and Mediterranean dishes and we must admit choosing our dinner from the menu carte was a bit difficult, as everything sounded extremely good and we only had one stomach each. My husband went for the 'antipasto della casa' and I chose the 'crostino salmone', given that I'm a huge salmon fan. Both were absolutely delicious! We accompanied the meal with Italian red wine and we gave in the cheerful atmosphere of the place. As pasta couldn't miss from the menu, we ordered the 'bucatini amatriciana', a plate that proved us again that the best pasta is to be found in Italy. I don't know how they do it, and to be honest, I don't want to know, because I love having a reason to return to this wonderful country. All in all, from starters to tiramisu, we were extremely happy with the choices we've made. The food was fresh and tasty, the 'filetto 4 formaggi' was cooked exactly the way we asked it to be, the ingredients used were good quality and the presentation of the dishes was absolutely gorgeous. Given how busy the restaurant was that night, they really impressed us.
Tip: They don't charge a 'coperto' (service charge) in this restaurant
|Filetto 4 Formaggi|
At the entrance we were greeted by Antonio, the owner of the restaurant, one of the most delightful people we've ever met. He is the soul of this place and it's amazing how he manages to talk to each of the guests and make everyone feel welcomed and part of the family. Seriously, food apart, Antonio is the main reason to go check this restaurant. The waiters were very professional and friendly as well. They were not for one split second pushy or anything, though we really took our time to read the whole menu (twice). Once we ordered, they were really prompt in spite of the place being packed. We also appreciated that they seemed to be invisible. You know how in some restaurants when very busy the waiters rush through the tables and scream at each other? This didn't at all happen here. Instead they let the food be the protagonist of the show.
Fontana di Venere is no high-end restaurant, but it has a very friendly and young atmosphere. People from all corners of the world seem to meet here and have fun in company of good wine and excellent cuisine. The laughter and joie de vivre were contagious. There were groups of friends in their early twenties and couples in their late thirties, but everybody seemed to have a great time, and we felt like this was not only a place to fill your belly but also a place to make new friends. The atmosphere was casual, but there were plenty of corners and smaller spaces where you could have certain privacy.
Given it's price range and great location, we believe Fontana di Venere Restaurant was a great find. Thought we wouldn't necessarily recommend it to couples looking for a romantic atmosphere (in spite of its name) or for business meetings, we can definitely recommend it to groups of friends and families. The atmosphere is informal, service and food excellent and you can always go relax by the Trevi Fountain once you've finished your meal, which is priceless.