on March 3, 2010
Our last dinner in Rome was at the three Michelin starred La Pergola restaurant considered by many to be the best restaurant in Rome. When you make a reservation, they inform you that the dress is "formal" and men must wear jackets although ties are not mandatory. No description of what we women must wear. It was a great excuse to buy some clothes anyhow, particularly, for my daughter who only had jeans with her.The restaurant is located in Rome Cavaleri hotel, formerly a Hilton, now a Waldorf Astoria hotel. We took a taxi because the location is a fair distance and uphill from the central historical part of Rome. Take care in giving the taxi driver directions, because there’s also a pizzeria called La Pergola and a hotel Pergola. I had to show him the written address.The hotel is opulent and the restaurant on the top of the hotel commands views of Rome which would have been more impressive had it not been raining when we arrived.However, the ambiance and food were impressive enough that we weren’t too disappointed by the wet view. The table is laid with gold coloured vermeil plates and cutlery. All around are art treasures – fine paintings, an Aubusson tapestry, porcelains, candelabras, and hand-blown glass works. At the centre of the room is an imposing vase filled with a spectacular floral composition.The restaurant offers a tasting menu or an a la carte menu. We were not up to eating all the nine courses in the tasting menu but opted for a la carte. Our first courses were topinambur-filled pasta parcels with scampi and black truffle, and risotto with artichokes, veal sweetbread and mint. They were divine and not too filling. Our second courses were lamb with artichokes on garlic purée with pecorino puff and lamb sweetbreads, and veal cheeks with black truffle, apple purée and topinambur (Jerusalem artichoke). They were modest sized and delicious so I managed to eat that course as well. We had started with a French rosé apperitif and then ordered a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino. We still had half a bottle of wine so tried the cheese plate. We could have split it one if we had been thinking because neither of us finished the cheese. Nevertheless, we continued onto dessert. I ordered the Grand Dessert which is a sampling of desserts: a chocolate and coconut drink, raspberries au gratin, licorice souffle, wild strawberries in champagne gelatin, whisky ice cream, chocolate tube filled with coffee mousse, and tangerines with tiramisu like mousse on top. I sampled them all and my daughter sampled as well, although she had ordered the raspberries au gratin dessert for herself. Only managed to finish the strawberries in gelatin. We were so full, so just sat, sipped water, and enjoyed the view until we could move. Service, as expected in such a restaurant, was very gracious and unobtrusive. They seemed quite content to allow us to sit in the restaurant which was not full. We took a quick view from the terrace before we left. Very expensive, total bill was €500 including wines, but so very good.Reservations can be requested by email and more information can be found at the Cavalieri Rome website www.romecavalieri.com/lapergola.php. The website suggests making a request well in advance, although in our case, in off season February, we were able to secure a reservation just one week in advance.
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