Evening Near Trevi

Since KK’s recommendation for lunch turned out so good, I decided to take another one of her recommendations for dinner and go to Il Chianti. I admit, I was a little hesitant, because this place was located literally next to the Trevi Fountain so I was afraid it was going to be some restaurant catered to tourists. It sounds bad saying that, because I am a tourist, myself, so why would I think that tourists would not appreciate or want good tasting authentic local cuisine?? I think it would be fair to say that some tourists are not adventurous and others are unaware. As a result, I think sometimes restaurants with a high tourist clientele can sometimes pinch on taste and quality on the assumption that tourists don’t know any better and will pay for what they think is authentic but then often times, it is not. I kind of think that is why I liked Trattoria Monti so much. There were a lot of locals eating there, so you knew it had to be real Italian food that real Italians eat. Nevertheless, back to our dinner destination….

Despite my trepidation, I was willing to try Il Chianti because KK raved about how they were famous for their fresh, homemade pasta. Another reason was we had been walking around all over Rome the whole day, so by the time dinner rolled around, I was hungry and not to picky about what to eat. When we got the restaurant, I didn’t even look at the menu before sitting down… and I always do that. I have to know that the menu has something that I want to eat, but this time, it wasn’t until the waiter had already started to direct us to an outdoor table overlooking the narrow streets that led to Trevi Fountain that I realized, “oh no, I forgot to look at the menu!” However, as we sat down, I took a quick scan and noticed some Italian speaking folks and a fair number of non-Italians, so we just went with it. I’ll save my funny story about the family sitting next to us for the end.
We started off with a Crostini di Misti. It was mixed crostini appetizer that included (from top left moving clockwise) green bean, chicken liver, artichoke, and olive. I did not like olive one at all as it was way too strong in olive taste. I was “eh” on the green bean and artichoke, but I absolutely loved the chicken liver one. Yum!
The Insalata Mista was okay… nothing special. It’s just a salad, after all. However, I really liked the corn and tomatoes. Another shout out for the Italian brothers who farm these delicious tasting vegetables. I cannot describe why the tomatoes in Italy taste so different from the ones in the States…. but they do. They taste so much better. I really like them.
The Spaghetti al Carbonara was pretty good. I think I liked it better than the penne version from earlier today at Monti, but it was still a little too cheesy for me. The pasta itself was good. It was cooked al dente and not too hard. It looks really good, and as I sit here and look at the picture, I’m trying to remember if it tasted as good as it looked, but I don’t think it did…. and that’s because I remember liking the other pasta dish so much better.
The other pasta dish was the Noodles al Funghi and this was delicious!!! Another simple yet flavorful dish for the memories. The noodles were great. It had a nice bite to them and the sauce was light yet flavorful… a rich mushroom taste that was subtly creamy but not in the least bit heavy. It was great. I think I liked it so much I ate more than my fair share. Hehe!
The restaurant overall was very good. I noticed a lot of people ordering steak of some sort, but we didn’t think about it. Most people around us did look like tourists though, so it does show that they don’t just feed the bad food to the foreigners. Hehe! But we were sitting next to this family where the dad kept sending his food back. At first, they brought out a sampling of sausages and cured meats, and he insisted that wasn’t what he ordered. They gave him another menu and he ordered something else which might have been a salad, and he said that wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted pasta, but the problem was that he kept ordering things from the Antipasti section (as opposed to the Primi) so he kept wanting pasta but kept getting other stuff. Then he got mad at the waitress asking why they put Antipasti and there is no Pasta in that section. He was so dunce yet very adamant about the association of pasta and antipasti meant that I couldn’t help but chime in to explain that Antipasti meant appetizer and it had NOTHING to do with pasta. It was funny yet annoying at the same time. Hehe!

Nevertheless, it was a nice meal, and as we were wrapping up, we started to see a rather long line form in front of the restaurant, and we were thankful we came in for an early dinner.

PAFO Ratings for Il Chianti:
Price 3 ½ stars
Ambiance 3 ½ stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 4 stars

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