Rome is in the in-between right now. It is clear that spring is on it's way. I know that it is still technically winter, but the days are getting perceptibly longer, the shadows are changing, and most noticeably the produce selection in the market is getting some very welcome additions. Notably artichokes.
I have loved artichokes since I was little. My mother would boil them in salty water and serve them with lemony butter and I would scrape every last tender part off the spiky leaves, scooping up as much butter as possible of course. The choke was my favorite part, but it was a hard won reward, requiring delicate almost surgical precision to slice out the thin, sharp thistle. Here in the Rome the local artichokes, known as carciofo Romanesco have leaves that are tender and a choke without the fearsome prickle. I am happy to share some of my favorite places to eat artichokes in Rome.
There are two ways that artichokes are prepared in Rome; alla giudia and alla Romana. The Jewish style (alla giudia) the entire artichoke is deep fried to create kind of a Roman version of a blooming onion. Presented like a gorgeous flower on your plate, you can pick off each crunchy leaf like a potato chip.
For carciofi alla Romana a prepared artichoke is stuffed with garlic and a local wild mint called mentuccia and braised in olive oil and a little white wine.
Via Portico d'Ottavia 21/a
+39 06 686 1105
Giggetto wins the award for most creative artichoke decoration. In a few weeks there will be a tower of artichokes framing the restaurants doorway. The carciofi alla guidia here is one of Rome's best.
30 Piazza delle Cinque Scole
06 687 4216
This tiny restaurant packs in a lot of history and charm. You will need to make a reservation or get there early to get a table here. The perfectly crisp and piping hot deep fried artichoke is worth it.
Taverna Fori Imperiali
Via della Madonna dei Monti, 9
I am lucky that the place that gets my vote for the best carciofi all Romana in Rome is on my street.
Enoteca Provinca di Roma - Terre e Domus
Foro Traiano, 82
+39 0669940273Open every day 11:30-23:30
Can't decide between the two? You don't have to! This spot that sits just in front of Trajan's Column at Piazza Venezia has created an delicious hybrid. A mentuccia stuffed and then deep fried Roman artichoke. Try the best of both worlds.
Mercato di Campo di Fiori
Go in the morning and watch as the market stall owners strip and clean boxes and boxes of fresh artichokes at lighting speed.
Not here in Rome, but don't want to miss out on the artichoke fun? Make sure you follow my pal and artichoke expert Elizabeth's instagram account. There is even a hashtag to go along. If you love artichokes and want to join in add #carciofogram to your
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