Christmas Lunch at Marco G in Trastevere
My first Christmas in Rome was celebrated with a wonderful Christmas lunch at Marco G in Trastevere. Simone’s parents have been here visiting and we had been searching these last few weeks for a welcoming place whose menu would include some tasty traditional dishes. After reading many reviews on Trip Advisor, we took it for a test drive a few days before. We left this first “test” evening with a hearty thumbs up and a reservation secured for Christmas Day.
Located at Via Garibaldi, 56 in the immensely popular Trastevere area, the restaurant has a quaint exterior (with tables outside for warmer weather) and is adjacent to a couple of eclectic looking restaurants. We were welcomed with big smiles and we were quickly seated. We began with a Gewurstraminer from the Alto Adige, by Roca Savina – a delicious wine, full of character, yet very reasonably priced. This was just one of an impressive list of 168 wines that Marco has been steadily building based on research and feedback from customers.
While enjoying our wine, we perused the menu. We chose from the antipasti, which included a couple of seafood choices, a trio of bufala, cured meats, etc. I had the “carpaccio di salome con riduzione d’arancia”, thinly sliced salmone in a reduction of orange, and served atop a bed of shredded radicchio and lettuce.
As for their pasta dishes, Rome should be proud, with an amatriciana that you’re sure to remember for a long time. Simone wisely chose that, and I was fortunate to snatch a small spoonful of the sauce. I’m one of “those” low-carb, gluten-free folks (I can almost feel your incredulity as you read this that a person living in Italy would maintain such a dietary standard), but I enjoyed the “carciofi alla giudia” – fried artichoke (no batter), as originated by the Jewish community in Rome. This was my “decadence” while everyone else was quietly and methodically devouring their pasta dishes.
My “secondi” (main course) was a “filleto di manza” – basically a filet mignon, which I ordered “al sangue” (rare or, literally “bleeding”). It was a beautifully rendered piece of meat, and I was a happy man. I had ordered a glass of cabernet to complement the expierence.
Being a low-carb, and almost-no-sugar customer, I skipped dessert and went right for a coffee. With the check the staff brought us three glasses of limoncello (always delicious but WAY too sweet for me) and one glass of grappa (for me – yes, I’m training to breathe fire one day).
Marco, the owner of the restaurant, came and spoke with us at our table, for a good 15 minutes, and shared with us his journey in building the restaurant, and his philosophy of providing exceptional food and service. I’ve only touched upon the quality of the food, but I would be remiss in not remarking on the incredibly attentive staff. I watched them and you could see their eyes always scanning the tables to anticipate a need or to swiftly respond to a request. These are people who smile easily.
Marco shared with us how he is constantly reviewing the menu and seeking out feedback from customers. Even if a dish is wildly popular with many people, yet for one customer it falls flat, Marco is insistent on knowing why, and seeing if there is a kernel of wisdom contained within the feedback that can make the dish even better. He is quick to make a dish a more permanent addition if the customer feedback has been consistently positive, and he is also quick to jettison a dish that isn’t exciting the taste buds of his clientele. Here is an owner who has, in my opinion, the right emphasis on quality and customer service. I will endeavor to extol the virtues of dining here to help support such an attitude – one that results in a very pleasurable dining experience.
Via Garibaldi, 56
Tel. +39 065809289 / +39 3407970937