Saturday, September 09, 2006

Al Vantaggio, Via Del Vantaggio, Rome

AlVantaggio, Via Del Vantaggio 35, Rome
Saturday 9 September, 2006

After enjoying a brilliant coffee earlier at D'Angelo, we hit the shops for anything leather - shoes, belts, bags etc. All this shopping can work up a healthy appetite, so we decided to find an off the beaten track local restaurant for pizza.

To our sheer delight, just off the main shopping drag - Via del Corso - we spotted a little gem - Al Vantaggio. We chose to sit outside to take in the atmosphere and people watching. Immediately we were welcomed like old friends by our very kind waitress. She appreciated the fact we tried to speak Italian and helped us with some pronunciation and explanation of the menu. She went above and beyond in her attempt to assist us and always with a smile on her face - it was overwhelmingly appreciated!

As the restaurant publicity states (this is a direct translation so enjoy the wording), "The Ancient Hostaria Al Vantaggio is born in 1920. Mr Cappellone opened it and managed it with other persons. Initially it was a place where the vetturini of the carrozze stopped to drink wine, to eat something and to play cards. In 1963 the management of the trattoria passes to Mr. Alberto De Vincenti, a Calabrian man coming from Crosia near Cosenza. Since his home village was too narrow for him, he had two choices: to go to America, in New York or to go to Rome. He chose the second one. He worked as a waiter in some roman trattorie. After a while he started managing the restaurant, that at the time was called la Maggiolina. After two years he bought the trattoria, that nowdays is lead by the two sons Luigi and Costantino, with dedication and passion. The Ancient Hostaria Al Vantaggio has received numerous acknowledgments among which the denomination of Bottega Storica, from the City of Rome. Here you will taste the typical Roman food, in lovely Premises with 17th century frescoes, set in an elegant and Restful atmosphere."

We both opted for pizza - I ordered the Bosciola - tomato, sausage, mushroom and mozzarella and my lunch buddy ordered the Prosciutto - tomato, prosciutto and mozzarella. We both requested the chilli oil which adds a whole new dimension to the pizza - it gives it a bite and leaves a tingle on your lips.

It is no understatement to say this was the best pizza we have ever had. The crust was thin and slightly bubbled on the edge - the tomatoes had so much flavour and each mouthful was bliss. The simple approach to pizza is something that many Australians are not familiar with (especially having grown up with Pizza Hut, Dominoes etc) but when you sample traditional Italian pizza - the statement, 'less is more' sums it up brilliantly.

We loved everything about Al Vantaggio - the interior frescoes were charming, the food was divine, the service was wonderful and the price was surprising - only 8.50 Euros for each pizza.

Al Vantaggio - Via Del Vantaggio, Rome - 063236848


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