After our posh drink and snacks at Hotel Raphael we walked through the cobble-stoned and picturesque streets of Rome to Alfredo e Ada’s.
I need to quickly brag that I read the map and got us there. I’m bragging because I’m extremely bad at reading maps and usually give up half way through in tears. But this time I persevered and got it right. A proud occasion for me!
Our mate Douglas told us to ask for the red wine as soon as we sat down because it’s home made and better than the white wine they serve. He was right, it was delicious. I love the way it’s served in a carafe with little tumblers rather than wine glasses.
Before we can say ‘bellissimo!’ a big plate of macaroni with fresh tomato sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan arrives.
I should mention now that there’s no menu, you simply eat whatever Ada feels like cooking. Sadly, Alfredo has passed away so Ada and various other family members and friends now run the restaurant.
The macaroni was perfectly al dente – they really do cook pasta well in Italy, although al dente is a little firmer than I thought it was meant to be. I actually really like it and will cook it that way from now on.
The fresh tomato sauce was vibrant in taste and silky in texture. It had been barely cooked so the tomatoes still tasted very fresh. The simplicity of 3 ingredients cooked perfectly and combined on the plate was pure reverence to the produce. I love that about Italian cooking.
We were surprised to get a choice. “Chicken or veal?” said the nice elderly man who was serving us. He had a cheeky smile and no explanation of what either was served with. He didn’t speak much English and we didn’t speak much Italian so we chose one of each.
A kind of lucky dip. Where both of us got very very lucky indeed.
I had the veal pictured above. Amazing! Braised so well it practically fell apart just by looking at it. Accompanied by peas and a thin but deeply savoury broth flavoured with rosemary and a hint of garlic. There was also sauteed eggplant that was soft and squidgy and nicely salty.
I ate too much white crusty bread while soaking up the juices. It was worth it.
Dillon declared this the best chicken he has ever eaten. Even from the dishes I’ve served him. I doubted him until I tasted it and realised it would probably take me quite a while to figure out how to replicate something half as good as this dish.
Slices of chicken thigh with the bone in the middle were braised in an oily broth flavoured with rosemary, chilli, garlic and saffron (I think, because of the colour of the oil).
It was served with boiled potato chunks smothered in a rich tomato pulp and lots of crusty white bread to mop up all the heavenly sauces.
We’d been given the tip to save a bit of red wine for the last course. It was hard to do because the wine was so drinkable and went really well with the pasta and the meat courses. But were really glad we did when these yummy biscotti came out.
Not too sweet, although covered in granular sugar, they were the perfect ending to the meal when dipped into the red wine.
I don’t think that’s Ada up the back there in the kitchen, but it’s definitely the lovely lady who cooked our meal.
If you’re in Rome please check out this restaurant – it’s absolutely delicious and excellent value.
Alfredo e Ada’s
Via Banchi Nuovi, 14, Near Castel St. Angelo, Tel. (06) 6878842