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23 May 2017

Retrobottega Restaurant in Rome, Italy


Chefs Alessandro Miocchi and Giuseppe Lo Iudice say that in their 2-year old restaurant, food happens. Gastronomy does happen in Retrobottega, I firmly agree. These two talented chefs created a gastronomic lab where they spin ideas, innovate, create and interact with their diners (especially the ones who sit at the counter that overlooks the fully-opened kitchen). The kitchen team is composed of a couple of other chefs, Matteo Magagnini and Gabriele Di Lecce. All four of them have impressive past working backgrounds in the kitchens of Michelin-starred chefs before congregating in a kitchen of their own.

Chefs Alessandro Miocchi (left) and Giuseppe Lo Iudice (right)
The concept of Retrobottega is quite different from the usual restaurants where you book, get ushered in and get served. At Retrobottega, you won't get any of them. Well, in general anyway because if you are a group and getting the same degustazione or tasting menu altogether, then you can book and hold a table. Otherwise, it will be first come, first serve in their capacity of 35-seats (including the seats at the counter).


Serving yourself would be setting up your own place with the placemat, utensils, glasses and table napkin that are found in the individual drawers located in all the tables. You also have to serve yourself with the wines in the refrigerator counter. As for the food, you don't need to take care of it because someone will take it to you, whether the chefs themselves or the person going around in the dining area.


This kind of approach to minimal service curtails the price of the service so that they can give more reasonably-priced dishes with the use of optimum quality ingredients. Simply said, whatever money you save on the service goes to the food. The restaurant itself is decorated to the minimum with wood, bricks and metal. Nothing fancy, just straight to the point functional and simple with a character of its own.


The menu entries change often according to what seasonal ingredients the chefs find at the beginning of the day and they are written on the blackboard set up against the wall. With all these down-played aspects of dining, the only thing that gets the full attention of the diners is the food which is the way it should be and like how Alessandro and Giuseppe would like it to be. 


Having a no-booking policy, it is best to avoid the peak hours which are 13:00 for lunch and 20:00 for dinner. I was there on a weekday at midday so I was able to sit down comfortably and peacefully at the counter watching the chefs work before the 13:00 lunch patrons started to trickle in.


I don't think I need to underline the fact that the dishes I had were exceptionally good because the pictures can speak volumes. The ingredients are chosen well according to their freshness and quality from the aromas and flavors that the dishes give. No flavor covers each other which makes the food a gastronomic piece and such a delight to the palate. The only thing I could do was close my eyes and relish each bite I took. Seriously.


Retrobottega is one of the best restaurants that you can go to in Rome that is centrally located, just a few hundred meters from Ara Pacis, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. It's a place for the ones who are looking for new Italian gastronomic experiences without spending a fortune but guaranteed with optimal gustatory results. 


Abbiamo scelto il nome Retrobottega perché crediamo che il cuoco sia un artigiano che lavora nel retro senza dare nell’occhio mentre crea qualcosa di genuino. Il nostro laboratorio vuole essere un punto di incontro stimolante sia per chi vi lavora che per chi lo frequenta e allo stesso tempo punto di partenza per noi per sviluppare nuove idee insieme a chiunque abbia voglia di proporle. 
-Giuseppe Lo Iudice e Alessandro Miocchi

We chose the name Retrobottega because we believe the chef is a craftsman who works at the back without looking conspicuous while creating something genuine. Our laboratory is a stimulating meeting point for both the ones who are working and for those who are eating and at the same time a starting point for us to develop new ideas together with anyone who wants to propose them. 
-Giuseppe Lo Iudice e Alessandro Miocchi (translated to English)


Retrobottega

Via della Stelleta, 4
00186 Rome, Italy
Tel: + 39 06 68136310
Email: info@retro-bottega.com
Open daily from midday to midnight except Mondays


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