Back in June 2010, Cart and I went to Testaccio to look for a new place to eat.
To me, Testaccio is an interesting area to explore, seeing the eccentric Piramide monument for example. The area is also known by locals to be full of good restaurants, so we decided to come here to celebrate Cart’s birthday.
It was past noon. We managed to find a parking along an alley and started walking. But after walking for over an hour, we didn’t managed to find any restaurants along our path. At length, we gave up and headed back to the car. It was so disappointing.
Just as I was about to board the car however, I spotted a wall full of grape vines. It was so pretty that I started to walk towards it and that was when I spotted people sitting at their tables, having a meal. It was a restaurant! So we walked for an hour searching for a place to eat when it was right there where we originally started!
Of course we had to give this place a try.
It’s such a pretty place. When you enter, you walk in a small courtyard full of pretty green grapevines. I imagine that it would look especially gorgeous in Autumn when the vines will be full of hanging ripe grapes and when the leaves start to change its colour.
Inside, the restaurant looks rustic, with wooden furniture and barrels which is reminiscent of being in a countryside. It feels very cozy here.
The name of this place is La Fraschetta di Mastro Giorgio. It’s supposed to be fashioned as a sort of osteria. Traditionally, osteria is a place where you could find local specialities at a cheap price, as it was meant for the working class. You could even bring your own wine and meat for them to cook. You won’t be able to do that here however, as it’s hard to find a true osteria in this present time.
Nevertheless, after having our first meal here, Cart and I enjoyed ourselves so much that we come back when we can and through the years we find ourselves recommending and bringing our visiting friends here.
La Fraschetta di Mastro Giorgio serves Roman styled dishes and uses ingredients found in the area, such as Roman artichokes and Pecorino cheese. Depending on when you go, the menu changes accordingly to the season and what might make foodies happy is that the restaurant supports ‘Slow Food‘.
As you sit down waiting for your meal to arrive, there will always be a paperbag full of pizza bianca meant as an accompaniment but you can’t help to breathe in the aroma and munch on the freshly made, crunchy, chewy, lightly salted bread.
Here are some of the food that we had :
For appetisers, I really enjoyed eating these deep fried pizza. Generously sprinkled with parmigiano cheese, it’s sinfully succulent.
These are the deep fried mozzarella balls – fresh, soft and chewy.
Cheese platter with a mix of fresh and cured with their condiments.
Bruschetta with tropea onions with balsamic vinegar. This was surprisingly fresh tasting and extremely delicious.
For the first course, or primo :
There is Tonarelli with mussels with Perocino cheese sprinkled on top. I was surprised at the mix of cheese with seafood, but the salty pecorino cheese worked well.
While Cart had Fettucine alla Sorrentina and you could taste the fresh basil and can tell that the pasta is hand made.
The pasta with Cicoria and Pecorino is one of Cart’s favourite dish here and he’d always order this whenever he can.
The pasta with asparagus tips and pomodorini was so delicious.
This was their dish of the day, their version of minestrone.
Fetucine with pachino and ricotta
Gnocchi with cherry tomatoes
And this was another dish of the day, tonarelli with
For the second dish, or secondo would features meat and seafood.
Personally I like their calamari, even though it’s not typically a Roman dish.
There were meatballs the size of your fist.
And this was another dish of the day, the orata fish with artichokes on top. I remember that this was a delight to eat.
After your primo and secondo, and you still have room for dessert :
There is the mint semi freddo
Crostata ricotta e visciola, which is a kind of pie with wild cherries inside. Cart absolutely loves this and would always get this for himself.
Crostata con marmellata di arancia
Or if you can’t decide, you could have the waiter bring small pieces of all their cakes.
As for me, the dessert that I adore here is their gelato covered in chocolate. Inside each of these treats are different flavours – vanilla, coffee, hazelnut and coconut. It’s such a treat and a great ending to a lovely meal.
I really like La Fraschetta di Mastro Giorgio and sometimes I wonder what would happen if I didn’t notice the green grape vines. We probably would have never discovered this place. It’s surprising how getting lost can bring you to a hidden treasure.
La Fraschetta di Mastro Giorgio
Via Alessandro Volta, 36
00153 Rome, Italy