Ristorante L'Isola del Pescatore in Santa Severa (Rome), Italy

Santa Severa, that beach in Santa Marinella with the castle on its side? I do remember it quite well because the first time I went to Santa Severa a few years ago, winter was ending and we were entering spring. A walk on the beach was imperative for our family with two very lively kids. It was hard to contain them at home so my husband drove all of us to a medium short distance to Santa Severa Beach. It was just about 50 kilometers from Fiumicino (about 65 from the center of Rome). The panorama that greeted us was impressive. A clean stretch of sand with the Santa Severa Castle at the end of the beach. People and dogs were enjoying the sun just like we were. There was almost no structure on the beach except for a sprawling simple white bungalow with some grass behind it and a stone's throw away from the castle. It was L'Isola del Pescatore, the popular seafood restaurant of the area.

I've heard about how good the food is at L'Isola del Pescatore and how full it can get. There was even an incident of a helicopter that landed close to the beach with the passengers trying to get a table at the restaurant for lunch but were refused because they were completely full. I tried too, randomly, at different times, all the time being told that it's full even with three different schedules of booking they give for a meal with a gap of one hour from each other.  And it was not even summer yet. Too many times disappointed, I booked two weeks ahead and I finally got a table for lunch.

April is still a cold month to take a dip in the water but warm enough to sunbathe. The beach was packed and the restaurant was fully-booked for lunch, for all three time schedules that they have. I booked the 12:00 one because it is still too early for an Italian lunch so it should be the calmest hour and I was hoping to be able to take a picture or two of the still-empty restaurant. To both expectations, I got them.

The restaurant is used to a big flow of diners as I have observed. The waiting staff is efficient and fast as well as the arrival of the food in spite of the big size of the dining area and the large number of diners.

The Food. I often go out to restaurants that serve contemporary dishes and sometimes, I get struck with a strong craving for a traditional seafood Italian plate. It's not too much to ask but lately, it's harder and harder to get a simply executed traditional Italian plate that boasts of fresh quality ingredients that I can just dress with a good extra virgin olive oil.

The serving quantities of the dishes are abundant, maybe even too much for one portion especially the pasta and the seafood salad. The quality and freshness of the ingredients are imaginably excellent. You can't think otherwise if you are eating right in front of the sea. The cooking is traditionally Italian and very good. With the right kind of chilled white wine from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, my meal was exceptional.

For starters, our table got a plate of raw white fish (blast chilled of course according to the Italian law to be sure that there is no trace of the parasite anisakis) that was simply drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with crushed pink peppercorns, salt and pieces of fruit. The other plate was a superb seafood salad with salad greens, cooked barley and a mixture of seafood

A couple of simple seafood pasta dishes of seafood fettuccine and spaghetti with sea urchin were exceptionally good and abundant. Two people can easily share one pasta dish to be able to arrive to the main course. For the main course, a platter of grilled seafood was in order. After a seafood meal, the best way to conclude it is with something light, fruity and cold. For that, our orders were composed of fresh fruits and gelato in different dessert versions. Simple Italian fare. It's the best that you can get. 

L'Isola del Pescatore continues to be a popular hunt for seafood lovers. For me, I will keep that craving for their food until autumn arrives when the heat of the summer blows away from the beach and tranquility returns to Santa Severa. 

L'Isola del Pescatore

Via Cartagine, 1
00058 Santa Severa, Santa Marinella (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 0766570145
Open daily for lunch and dinner in summer (call ahead for booking)

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