UPDATE JANUARY 2019: The team behind Mazzo has announced that Mazzo is dead (long live Mazzo). The restaurant will be closed for all of 2019 while they embark on a world tour. Mazzo will likely reopen in 2020 in a new location and with a slightly different format.
Mazzo has been on my radar for awhile.
I was intrigued when Mazzo was dubbed Rome’s best bistrot by Gambero Rosso, and when it caught Katie’s eye, but it was Eleonora’s article on the best places to eat in Rome’s suburbs that finally convinced me to make a reservation and go out to Centocelle.
Leaving my house in Testaccio at 6:30 pm on a Thursday, I set out for the tram.
I harbor serious doubts that Rome’s Metro C will manage to connect to another metro line in my lifetime, but I opted to head out to the terminal station of Rome’s newest subway.
Past snarled traffic around the Colosseum, through some shady ass tunnels, and with a quick sprint down the stairs to catch the next departure, we made it Mazzo with minutes to spare before our 8 pm seating.
In other words: it is way the f$&@ out there.
And it is fairly unassuming once you get there, so don’t miss it:
Happy to have finally arrived, we sat at the two seater banco inside.
Twisting on the barstools, we had a good view of the 10-seat communal table that Mazzo has championed.
Well, we had a good view of the entire place because it is truly cosy. This is it:
Scanning the menu, Sara and I settled on a bottle of natural wine from Umbria and snacked on bread from Pizzarium’s Gabriele Bonci.
Sara ordered the best dish of the night – a deeply rich, garlicky, mushroom pasta.
I went for the “fettuccine vs pollo alla cacciatore,” which was just fine.
The “vs” is there because it is like a primo vs a secondo.
A first course (pasta) vs a main course (meat).
Maybe I have lived in Italy too long, but the combo of chicken and pasta was a bit difficult to get over. The flavors were balanced but the sensation was more chicken noodle soup than pasta.
The secondo was where it all came together.
The iron skillet calamari was perfect. Tender and expertly charred, plated with eggplant and basil purée.
We shared dessert – a peach cake that, based on the time between requesting it and being served, seemed made to order.
Unfortunately, it fell a bit flat.
As we finished up in order to free the table for the 10 pm seating, I was happy to have finally made the trek… but I am determined to forgo the insane weeknight traffic next time.
Plan your commute accordingly.
Via delle Rose, 54,
Phone: +39 06 6496 2847
Closed Mondays. Reservations required.