Antico Arco: Decades-Long Fine Dining Restaurant in Rome that Epitomizes Tradition, Contemporaneity and Quality

Step up to Piazzale Aurelio on top of the hill of Gianicolo and find yourself in the small square between Antico Arco and Porta San Pancrazio, one of the southern gates of the ancient Roman Aurelian walls that now houses the Garibaldi Museum. In summer, you feel ensconced when the big white umbrellas are up with tables draped with white tablecloths underneath surrounded by big pots of fan palms. Just slightly off the main bustle of Rome, it lends a tranquil outdoor scene that reverberates an unforgettable Roman dining experience.

Antico Arco is a restaurant that is distinguished for tradition, contemporaneity and quality that’s just a stone’s throw away from Gianicolo. The kitchen runs for 12 hours non-stop with an abundant classic menu and an ample wine cellar of undisputed historical value. When it opened its doors in 1996, it has become one of the gastronomic addresses that has contributed in building Rome’s gourmet map of great quality restaurants.

Fundim Gjepali, Antico Arco’s Executive Chef for 17 years and also one of its co-owners, arrived at the restaurant in 2008 after having worked in prestigious international kitchens. Accomplished and passionate about his work, he has brought his great experience to Rome and along with his Albanian roots, he brings very interesting characteristics to several dishes in the menu. The presence of Chef Fundim has marked a slow but constant transformation, which over time has helped define Antico Arco as a restaurant of contemporary cuisine, but with authentic and true flavors. The contemporaneity takes the form of current directions, while the quality of the raw materials play fundamental roles in the dishes. The vegetables are notable protagonists of the kitchen’s proposals to which an ad hoc tasting menu is dedicated to while meat and seafood are carefully selected ingredients for their excellence.

Chef Fundim explains, “Globalization must certainly be given the credit for having transformed the various ethnic cuisines into a single great international cuisine. It must be said however that very often authentic and genuine recipes have been distorted making them become a sort of junk food. An example of all is the kebab. Here at Antico Arco,” continues the chef, “I wanted to do it justice by proposing it in a gourmet version, making it with duck and lamb meat both cooked at a low temperature for 24 hours. It is served on the plate with mixed salad, cumin, cucumber, tomato and two sauces thought up by me.”

The à la carte menu consists of various dishes that epitomize refinement. Chef Fundim’s dishes encapsulate the clarity of flavors and modern techniques that amplify them. This cooking philosophy has made his name prestigious for the dishes he creates signify great knowledge and respect for culinary traditions.

Some Appetizers (€20 to €23) to try are: amberjack tartare with lime, ginger and green beans; the seared scallops with roasted red pepper and lemon mayonnaise; as well as the Loch Fyne salmon with tzatziki sauce and tomato bread crumble. Whereas for the Pasta and Risotto (€18 to €22), do try the risotto with snapper ceviche and burrata cheese for its interesting contrasts of flavors. The Main Courses (€32 to €38) are divided into categories of meat and seafood such as the hazelnut and almond crusted lamb with creamy potatoes, lime and radish crudites; or the seabass cooked in low temperature with homemade green sauce, yellow tomatoes and red confit tomatoes. enjoy the Desserts (€13) like the Mojito Ghiacciato (lime, mint, brown sugar and rum) or the Alchimia (mousse of yogurt, cornflakes biscuits with pistachios and caramel chocolate, raspberry sorbet and pea sprouts).rum) or the Alchimia (mousse of yogurt, cornflakes biscuits with pistachios and caramel chocolate, raspberry sorbet and pea sprouts).

The restaurant, which consists of 5 rooms spread over two floors, has 120 seats in the internal rooms and another 85 in the external space. But what gives this restaurant a timeless charm is undoubtedly the cellar located in the catacombs of San Pancrazio, where 20,000 bottles from over 1,000 selected wineries from Italy, France and the rest of the world collected are carefully arranged. Enjoying the dishes at Antico Arco is best accompanied by the right wine which Gabriele D’Antoni, Antico Arco’s decade-long maître can guide you.

The kitchen is open from 12:00 to 24:00, a non-stop service that allows everyone, Romans and tourists, to enjoy a tasteful break at any time of the day.

Note: Unwatermarked photos are credited to Andrea Di Lorenzo.

Antico Arco

Address: Piazzale Aurelio 7, 00152 Rome, Italy

Tel: +39 06 5815274