Sometimes it can take me a while to get around to doing the thing that everybody keeps telling is great. The restaurant Cesare a Caseletto is one of those things. On just about every list you read on where to eat in Rome, Cesare is there. The push I needed to take the number 8 tram from Piazza Venezia up the hill to Monteverde was my pal Kelly organizing a lunch.
Aside from the tram ride (which is super easy and really pretty fast) the other thing that had been keeping me away was the wine list. Now I know this is what the big draw to Cesare is for just about everybody else. I have read over and over again about what an important, varied, etc wine list this place had. Instead of inspiring me, it intimidated me. I am am much more comfortable with a complicated cocktail list filled with obscure bourbons and bitters. Having to choose from this fabled wine list was not for me. Kelly took care of that too. We ordered a chilled carafe of the house wine and it was just great.
It was a still, hot, muggy afternoon in mid September, the remnants of this summers relentless heat still hanging around so we sat outside in the hopes of a breeze. We ordered all the greatest hits; lightly breaded and fried anchovies, golden battered zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, deep fried meatballs made from bollito and dabbed with bright green pesto and the one I had waiting for the most, deep fried gnocchi with a creamy peppery cacio e pepe sauce. After all of that I still managed to finish a plate of tender grilled abacchio scottaditto (lamb chops) and some chicoria.
It was great afternoon spent meeting friends old and new, artists, writers. And absolutely worth the wait.
Cesare al Casaletto
Via del Casaletto, 45