Altrove Ristorante in Rome, Italy

Altrove Ristorante: Porte Aperte sul Mondo (Open Doors to the World). Altrove's slogan says it all. Their doors are open to the whole world, to all nationalities, without knowing any boundaries. The only thing they recognize inside is the determination of the young people to reach out for their dreams and with their help, attain them and guide them in success of the paths that they choose to walk on. Altrove is a restaurant but it is also a training ground for young people who come to Italy from different countries and aid them in their gastronomic road to success, be it as sous chefs, sous pastry chefs or waiting staff.

Upper photo provided by Passionfruit Hub
How does it work? The engine behind Altrove is CIES Onlus (Centro Informazione ed Educazione allo Sviluppo), a non-profit organization that has a fundamental purpose of information and education. MaTeMù is a youth aggregation center that was created in 2010 by CIES to generate possibilities for the young multi-ethnic population in Italy. Different training courses were provided for free and with the success of the project, MaTeChef was born to educate determined young people in the kitchen and in the dining areas. And through MaTeChef, Altrove Ristorante was conceived. 

Behind Altrove Ristorante is a multicultural group of dedicated people working as a team. The staff is composed of professional chefs headed by Chef Lorenzo Leonetti, young chefs and waiting staff who finished their MaTeChef courses.

The restaurant is spread out in 253 square meters and divided into two floors. The kitchen is in the lower floor while the baking laboratory, bar and restaurant are on the upper floor. It is spacious and bright with sofas, chairs, tables and decors that resonate a relaxing, comfortable and hospitable atmosphere. You enter an uplifting home where diverse aromas and flavors from far away places converge in one place.

Altrove's philosophy is also found in the choice of suppliers that are selected for their social commitment and product quality. Among them are Altromercato, Fiammante, Libera Terra, cheeses from Proloco Dol, particularly from the cheese farm Cibo Agricolo Libero where the detainees of the a prison work, the yogurt from Cooperativa Barikamà, a social farming project run by young people from Africa, and exclusively adult meat from small farms. The fresh ingredients are seasonal as with any quality-oriented restaurants which makes the menu seasonal too.

The restaurant serves late breakfast starting at 10 in the morning, lunch, aperitif and dinner. The lunch and dinner menus are different from each other. For lunch, you can choose a single platter composed of vegetables, meat and fish with a choice of a couple of side dishes or you can also choose the dish of the day which can be pasta or soup. Lunch focuses on light and healthy meals whereas the dinner menu is a bit more elaborate. In between the two meals, there is the aperitif where you can choose among the four salty dishes that change daily plus a beer, cocktail or a glass of wine.

The dinner menu of Altrove is a unique gastronomic experience that you cannot find anywhere else in Rome. The flavors and aromas come from kitchens from different parts of the world that the chefs reformat in the Altrove kitchen. The young student chefs are asked to think of traditional dishes in their own country and analyze them. They break down the ingredients, aromas, flavors and methods then reconstruct them to new dishes based on their training in MaTeChef. 

Both upper photos provided by Passionfruit Hub
Dinner at Altrove was an eye-opener for me. Most of the menu entries were different and new from what I am used to seeing in other restaurants in Italy. It takes time to go through the menu because there are some short explanations that come along with most of the dishes. Having been conceived from some traditional dishes in other countries, the menu is a delicious explosion of ingredients and flavors. It's a road to a deeper exploration of the diversity of gastronomy found in other kitchens. Worth mentioning is the Maftoul, a delicately-spiced cous cous dish with grilled vegetables, cranberries and toasted almonds. And the Melandola, the aubergine caponata encrusted in oat and served with almond and rice foam which is also vegan.

MELANDOLA: Caponata di melanzane con uva Cilena in crosta d'avena e spuma alle mandorle e riso, vegan (Aubergine caponata with Chilean grapes in oat crust, almond foam and rice, vegan. 

SALONICCO: Polpo rosticciaro in panure al limone servito con melanzane arrosto e hummus di ceci e rosmarino (Roasted octopus in breadcrumbs with lemon served on roasted aubergines and hummus of chickpeas and rosemary).

CEVICHE: Pescato del giorno marinato alla mela verde e peperoncino con salsa allo yogurt, gluten free (Fish of the day with green apple, chili and yogurt sauce, gluten free). 

MAFTOUL: Cous cous di frumento integrale della Palestina maftoul con verdure grigliate, mirtilli rossi e mandorle tostate, vegan (Palestinian wholemeal wheat cous cous with grilled vegetables, cranberries and toasted almonds, vegan).

LA FIAMMANTE: Ravioli di pasta all'uovo fatta in casa ripieni di dentice, patate al basilico con conserva di pomodori del piennolo in salsa dall Azienda Agricola La Fiammante (Handmade ravioli filled with snapper, potatoes and basil with tomato saice from La Fiammante).

KOFTA DI MARTIGNANO: Polpette speziate di pecora con misto di radici al forno e salsa piccante di feta e pistacchi (Spiced hogget sheep meatballs with a mixture of oven roasted root vegetables and spicy sauce of feta and pistachios).

Altrove has a delightful line pastries that are French-inspired with a modern twist  and usage of ingredients like sesame seeds, peanuts and dried exotic fruits. Pastry Chef Valerio Parisi takes this path to their pastry-making because most of the students don't have strong traditional desserts in their own countries and for this reason, their pastries took on this interesting aspect.

Una grande sfida la nostra, finalizzata a creare opportunità di lavoro per i ragazzi del nostro centro e una fonte di reddito necessaria per contribuire a sostenere le attività no profit del CIES.
- Elisabetta Melandri, Presidente CIES

It is a great challenge for us to create job opportunities for the young people in our center and a source of income needed to help support CIES' nonprofit activities.
- Elisabetta Melandri, Presidente CIES (translated to English)

Altrove Ristorante

Via Girolamo Benzoni, 34
00154 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 065746576

Opening hours:
  Mondays to Fridays: 10:00 to 15:00 
Thursdays to Sundays 10:00 to 15:00 / 18:00 to 24:00

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