Best Chef of 2017
In his sixties-inspired arena designed by Asma Architects (terrazzo floors, blonde wood tables, atmospheric light fixtures), the Roman chef Giovanni Passerini (Le Guide Fooding’s Best Chef of 2017) welcomes guests with beads of sweat on his forehead, determined to bring them on a pure transalpine gastro-trip. Coming from the beautiful open kitchen the night we went: a trio of gigantic white asparagus with a vin jaune emulsion and almond fregola (€14); his already legendary Roman tripe (€15) — even better with the splendid Cabernet franc Hanami from Bobinet (€6 a glass); irresistible spaghettoni alla puttanesca with smoked eel, capers, anchovies and olives (€22); along with a decent semifreddo with Bronte pistachios, fermented milk with almonds and a sorrel granita (€10). Glimpsed on the next table over: a beautiful pigeon from Mesquer prepared two ways (€65 for two), along with pork loin from Michel Brunon with a macédoine of white asparagus (€27). As for the drinks, there’s a respectable selection made by the head sommelier, Cécile Massé: a sublime Iris de Cantillon beer (€25 for 750 ml), an Umbrian red from the Domaine Collecapretta (€7 a glass), a perfect Savagnin ouillé from Didier Grappe (€47) and an immense Trebbiano from Abruzzo produced by Emidio Pepe (€110 a bottle). Set menus €26-48 (weekday lunch), à la carte €38-63, pasta €18-27. Shared cuts of meat €27-68. // G.LeP.