Antico Arco, wine and fine food with a view
Restaurant Antico Arco (Janiculum Hill) may be off the beaten track compared to most restaurants of Rome, but it’s a journey well worth taking if you love a bit of fine dining. Founded by three friends with a passion for wine and fine food, this restaurant, with chef Patrizia Mattei at the helm, was one of the first of the new wave of creative restaurants to hit the Roman fine dining scene in the 1990s. After a refurbishment in 2009, this elegant, minimalist restaurant (with its inviting interior, white painted brick walls and comfortable black chairs) is as contemporary as its cuisine. The refined culinary inventiveness of the current chef Fundim Gjepali (who joined the Antico Arco staff in 2008) is strong on all fronts, besides maybe the desserts, although my dining partners were raving about with the molten chocolate cake, which they consider a must for all chocolate lovers.
A modern take on Italian cuisine
I was told that chef Fundim Gjepali loves to cook in a slow food manner, using well sourced raw materials to make you sample a modern take on Italian cuisine (following in the footsteps of Patrizia Mattei). I loved the creative interpretation of traditional dishes, but also the fusion of different cooking styles and I detected some Asian influences too. Wine is another forte of the restaurant. Being a wine lover I really appreciated the extensive wine list, which is sensible priced. Ask the sommelier for his recommendations and the little-known gems on the (well stocked 1200 label) wine list for some excellent food and wine combinations. Service was excellent and the menu, even though a bit on the pricey side, good value for money. I wouldn’t eat here every day, but for a special occasions I definitely recommend Antico Arco.
Walk up to restaurant from Porta San Pancrazio
To go there you can either walk 20 minutes up the (kind of steep) on Gianicolo Hill (Janiculum Hill) or ask your taxi driver to drop you off at Porta San Pancrazio, 200 meters from the entrance gate of the park of Gianicolo. Allow yourself to enjoy the beautiful, panoramic view of Rome, while you walk up to restaurant. Antico Arco is two steps from the entrance of Gianicolo. Book at least a couple of days in advance. And, in case it all doesn’t work out, there is always the option of the wine bar with an extremely varied selection of wines and spirits. Wines by the glass range from €6 for a young Sauvignon to a champagne for €14. There is particular attention for wine made by Italian producers, and especially the 250 wines or so from the Piedmonte area (including Gaja, Giacosa, Conterno, Rivetti, Altare and more) are quite impressive. Don’t worry if it all seems a bit daunting, Antico Arco’s sommeliers are happy to help you find the perfect wine for your budget.
Piazzale Aurelio 7
00152 Roma Italia
Phone: 00 39 06 581 5274;
Antico Arco is open every day from 12.00 to 24.00 hrs.