New Year’s lunch at Garibaldi Restaurant

Garibaldi Fireplace

Garibaldi is my favorite restaurant in Rome and for a whole host of reasons. It’s close by and I can’t deny that adds a lot to its appeal. But that’s just the whipped cream on top of the icing already on top of the cake. I like a restaurant that makes you happy just by being there: pleasant atmosphere, charming decor and lots of goodies all around to get you salivating. Garibaldi’s got all that and more.

Garibaldi in Prima Porta, Rome
It’s easy to get to and has a huge, well-organized parking lot. As you approach the restaurant you first come upon the charming terrace, pleasant and cool for summer dining.

The first room you enter has a wonderful fireplace, lots of available seating and full of charming, creative decor, like this poinsettia in a wooden wine box, used as a vase.

Poinsettia in wooden wine box

There’s a little room just off to your right as you enter where all the baking is going on. As cakes and desserts are baked they’re brought out and displayed right there at the entrance.

Garibaldi pastries
You’ll also see a fabulous wooden glass-fronted refrigerator displaying all the desserts that need to be kept chilled. Desserts disappear quickly so my strategy is to book what I’d like for dessert as soon as I arrive. Just to be safe!

Garibaldi desserts
We like to sit in the first room, near the fireplace, but be sure to take a look at the neighboring room because it’s here, in the very back of the room, that you can check out Garibaldi’s fabulous grill. It’s a huge grill about three meters wide, always ablaze and laden with fabulous meats, vegetables and bruschetta, and a wafting aroma of great food.

This is not a fish restaurant so if you have fish in mind plan on another restaurant. Or take advantage of the great selection of vegetable dishes, pastas and risottos that are more than enough to satisfy anyone’s appetite. When in season Garibaldi also has wonderful mushrooms, especially porcini, and seasonal truffles.

The restaurant owner’s son (also an owner) is the driving force behind the constantly changing menu. He’s continually creating new dishes and spicing up the menu. We’ve loved this place for decades and can always count on a new twist to the menu. You can also count on finding wonderful roman classics: coratella, and pasta dishes…carbonara, amatriciana, gricia, cacio e pepe.

Yesterday our lunch was pricier than usual at €60 per person; it was a special New Year’s Day menu and we probably ate a bit more than usual and chose three bottles of a wonderful wine. Generally plan on spending about €40 per person, or even less depending on what you order.

Since the first thing you see is the desserts, let’s talk about them. I love a crust that’s crumbly and buttery and Garibaldi’s pastry chef pulls this off well. Today I opted for the pear crumble…

Pear Crumble Garibaldi

but I also love the crostate and the apple strudel.

Apple Strudel at Garibaldi
All the refrigerated desserts are delicious, especially this chestnut dessert.

Chestnut desserts at Garibaldi
We usually skip the antipasti if we’re planning to have both a pasta and main course, but it was New Years Day so we made an exception.

Charcuterie and fresh bread is always a great bet.


Lots of other antipasto choices but the tastiest and most unique was the hand-cut steak tartare with carciofi alla giudia, a magical combination of flavor and texture.

Hand-cut steak tartare with carciofi alla giudia

Hand-cut steak tartare with carciofi alla giudia
When artichokes are in season Garibaldi features them wherever possible: an antipasto “tris” dish with carciofi alla romana, alla giudia and sliced paper thin with fresh squeezed lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
Today’s pasta dishes were delicious and varied: Ricotta stuffed radicchio ravioli with gorgonzola and walnuts…

Radicchio ravioli with gorgonzola sauce and walnuts
Artichoke lasagna…

Artichoke lasagna
Or ravioli with a butter sauce and truffles…

Ravioli with a butter sauce and shaved truffles
Roman artichokes are my fave so I always get one or two as a side.

Carciofi alla romana
Maurizio is a creature of habit when he finds something he likes: oven-roasted veal breast and potatoes.

Roast veal breast and potatoes
I love the guangiale di vitella brasate al nebbiolo: (nebbiolo braised veal cheek), with potato puree.

vitella brasate al nebbiola: (nebbiola braised veal cheek), with potato puree
I usually prefer a local wine and one of my favorite Lazio wines is Cesanese del Piglio, a grape found almost exclusively in the Lazio region. Today we drank three bottles of 2014 Romanico Cesanese del Piglio Superiore from the Colette Conti winery, ranked by Bibenda as one of the ten Italian wines of 2017. Delicious, but careful if you’re driving; it’s a 15% wine!

Romanico Cesanese del Piglio

Romanico Cesanese del Piglio

 

 

 

RomanicoCesanesedelPiglio2014

 

Crispy Fried Artichoke & Steak Tartare

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Apple Strudel

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