Sherman's Food Adventures: Antica Osteria di Pietra

Antica Osteria di Pietra

After a brief hiatus from Roman cuisine (only one meal in between), we went back to the well because when in Rome...  Our destination was another recommendation and it sat near the Trevi Fountain on the very busy Via di Pietra.  Normally, that would be a place to avoid due to the touristy nature of the area where restaurants are practically pulling you into the place with their large posted menus and pictures of their dishes.  However, when we arrived, the place was bustling, but no one was pressuring us to go in nor was there any large advertisements.

As such, we sat relaxingly at our table looking over the dishes we wanted to order.  To start, we didn't do anything complex and went for the Antipasto della Casa featuring some prosciutto, coppa and spicy sopressata.  As for the cheeses, it appeared to be provolone and asiago.  We also found toasted bread with marinated tomatoes on top.  The star of the show was the tomatoes as they were fresh and sweet while nicely seasoned.

For our mains, we shared a bunch of dishes including the Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe.  This was a solid version of this dish with the salty nuttiness of the pecorino coming through with each bite.  I liked how there was only enough to coat each strand of pasta without being soupy.  There was a good amount of black pepper to give the dish some bite.  The tonnarelli itself was firmly al dente and had a great mouth-feel.  Since it is thicker than spaghetti, it already had a firmer chew, which I prefer.

We also had the Lasagna alla Bolognese which was pretty good.  I would've liked to see the sheets of pasta to be a bit firmer, but they were still good nonetheless.  The pasta sheets were fairly thin and that would've meant by virtue of being baked, it would soak up much of the moisture.  In turn, the pasta was delicate and very easy to eat.  The creamy bolognese featured properly cooked down meat that was tender and rich.  Good balance between tomato and creaminess.

I really wanted to try the Trippa alla Romana since I spotted it on the menu several meals ago.  This time I went for it and knew I had to eat the whole dish myself.  Well, everyone else's loss since this was delicious!  Each strip of tripe was cooked until super tender with only a minor buttery bite.  There was no gaminess as this was prepared properly before and during cooking.  Loved the creamy tomato sauce as it was mild and not overpowering.

Our favourite dish of the meal was the Spigola alla Sicillana or sea bass with olives, capers, parsley, basil and tomato.  The fish was seared up beautifully where the skin was browned and nicely seasoned.  Flaky and super moist, the sea bass was a bit buttery (as it generally is) and was also properly seasoned.  The sauce of the aforementioned ingredients provided a really bright tanginess from the olives, capers and tomatoes.

Lastly, we had the Bistecca di Manzo prepared medium-rare.  The rib-eye steak was properly seared on the outside while being medium-rare (closer to rare) on the inside.  This was our preference and it yielded a juicy steak that was properly rested.  It was seasoned enough and was served with an arugula and tomato salad.  So as you can tell, there was a little of everything on this menu representing different regions of Italy.  Normally, this would be dubious, but we felt the food was quite good and reasonably-priced.

The Good:
- Well-prepared dishes
- Solid service
- A little of everything on the menu

The Bad:
- Located in a busy part of town near the Trevi Fountain, so it can be packed


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