David Lanher has a real talent for unearthing beautiful old spots (Caffé Stern, Le Bon Saint Pourçain, Racines des Près…) and injecting them with a little soul. Just take Anima, a former tapestry studio he discovered alongside Rome-native Marco Marzilli, Daft Punk’s ex-impresario. They’ve kept the old tiling, the chunky hardwood floors and the big cathedral-like bay windows, and decked it all out in black with an emerald-veined white Calacatta marble bar and an enameled wood-fired oven. Piedmont-born chef Matteo Testa still manages the kitchen, but the pizza paddle has now changed hands, as Giovanni Garufi keeps the twenty-some pizza varieties baking. The day we went for lunch: an energetic scampi tartare combining stracciatella (a fresh cheese from Puglia) and bottarga, teased with a little lemon zest; a volcanic, spicy Calabra pizza (yellow Vesuvian tomatoes, fior di latte, n’duja, caciocavallo, oregano and basil), perfectly cooked and served on a beautiful vintage plate from Blanche Patine; before ending the meal with an excellent vanilla and raspberry panna cotta topped with a dash of balsamic. As a bonus, there’s bread from the neighboring Ten Belles Bread and coffee from the Brûlerie Giamaica Caffè in Verona, just a little further away. // D.C.
FEELING THIRSTY? Explore the whole of Italy: an organic Sicilian Pinot grigio, Auratae, from the Domaine Santa Tresa (€7 a glass); a red from Puglia, Ca 40.08 Progetto Calcarius, from Valentina Passalacqua & Danilo Marcucci (€7); and, for something a little more luxurious, a red from Abruzzo, a 2016 Cancelli from the Rabasco estate (€49 a bottle).
PRICE: Antipasti €9-21. Piatti & pasta €17-22. Pizza €12-25. Dolci €9-10.