Culinary digest: Ristorante Aroma, Rome

The last restaurant review (Full disclosure: I use the term loosely, as it was more of a glowing, completely biased recommendation of my favourite restaurant in the city) I wrote of a restaurant in Rome told you of how close it was to The Spanish Steps and the Piazza del Popolo. Today’s review of my second favourite restaurant in the city also takes us tantalizingly close to yet another Roman landmark: The Colosseum.

DSC_0361-001 It doesn’t exactly make its presence known to the many people walking past Via Labicana. This is because it’s actually located at the top floor of the luxurious Palazzo Manfredi hotel, so we at first wonder whether we are at the right place when we amble into a hotel reception. After being assured that we have indeed found it, we take a short walk up a set of stairs and soon settle down for lunch.

Having grazed lightly on fruit for breakfast in anticipation of a heavier than usual lunch, I was famished. Thankfully, my starter of roast mackerel with carrot quinelle and chilli sauce arrives shortly after I order it:

DSC_0331The verdict? Just small and light enough to whet one’s appetite while simultaneously giving you a rough idea of how Chef Guiseppe Di Iorio has taken this restaurant from just another hotel restaurant to one of Rome’s 16 Michelin star restaurants in the space of four years.

Duly settled in, my significant other spend the rest of the two-hour lunch session oohing and aahing our way from one course to the next. There’s the boneless quail on a cream of red cabbage and quail’s egg which is as delectable as it is colourful:

DSC_0334-001Followed by Chitarrine pasta with Roman courgettes, baby calamari and bottarga:


Then comes the white truffle rice filled with ravioli on chicory cream and parsley chlorophyll which looks like a smile on a plate:



My favourite dish, however, turns out to be the crispy king prawns on a bed of Risina beans with a side of stewed broccoli: simply stunning in its simplicity.


Lamb is one of my favourite meats so I am a tad crestfallen that Aroma’s roast rack of lamb and leg perfumed with thyme and pink pepper makes an appearance so late in the game, when my tastebuds have already been teased, tantalised and overwhelmed. Word to the wise: if you want to successfully tackle their 7-course tasting menu and are a bit of a light-weight like myself, consider fasting for a day in advance and eschew the bread basket in favour of one of the many good wines on their list.


A small helping of soft cake on a bed of muesli crumble with a side of gelato along with a view of the Colosseum in the afternoon glow (we heard the view is amazing at night!) neatly wraps up our visit to one of Rome’s culinary highlights.


When in Rome… Ristorante Aroma, Via Labicana, 125 – 00184 Roma. Tel +39 06 97615109, Prices for the tasting menu start at €130.

© Cynthia Wamwayi 2015

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