This little bakery cum deli cum restaurant is on a partially pedestrianised street not too far from the Circus Maximus. You walk in past a counter groaning with hams and cheeses, through to a small dining room with tiny, packed tables. There is further seating downstairs in the wine cellar.
The wine list was very extensive. Damilano Ciolli Silene Cesanese Olevano 2011 was €18 for a wine that costs €16 in a shop, San Giovinale Habemus 2010 was €50 compared to a retail price of around €44, and Castello Banfi Poggio all’Oro Brunello Montalcino was €125 for a wine that will set you back €111 in a shop. We drank excellent Antinori Tignanello 1998 at €135 for a wine that retails at about €129. The kindly mark-ups continue as you go up the list e.g. Gaja Langhe Nebbiolo Sori Tildin 2004 was priced at €380 yet costs €360 to buy retail.
Fassone beef tartare (€19) was served simply with rocket and was very good, the salad nicely dressed and the beef tender, the seasoning quite subtle (15/20). Sardines (€13) had a lemon dressing served on a crispy flatbread, served with excellent olives. The bread was very fresh, the sardines having good flavour and the dressing having just enough acidity to cut through the oiliness of the fish (easily 15/20). A mixed basket of bread was excellent, olive bread lovely, sourdough having very good crust (comfortably 16/20).
Rigatoni (€15) with butter and Parmesan was such a simple yet enjoyable dish, the pasta having excellent texture, the seasoning spot on. In this dish Echire butter is used as well as two different cheeses: Parmesan made from red cow’s milk and seasoned for 36 months mixed with Bruna Alpina Parmesan aged for 30 months (16/20). Spaghetti carbonara (€15) was also lovely, the texture of the spaghetti lovely, the pork cheeks having fine flavour; the eggs used are from Paolo Parisi in Pisa, a noted egg supplier, and they certainly had very good flavour (16/20).
A local white fish (€23) was carefully pan-fried, served with courgette flowers stuffed with burrata, the latter a little rich; an acidic element would have usefully improved the dish (14/20). Meatballs (€15) made with veal were a delight, the meat flavoured with chestnuts, the seasoning lively and balanced, and even the polenta on the side very good (16/20). Portions were very generous, and we did not make it to dessert.
The bill came to €123 per person, but that was with some serious wine. If you ordered a moderate wine (and there was plenty available on this, with some wines priced as low as €16) then the bill would come to perhaps €70 a head. Service was decent enough though a little leisurely. Overall Roscioli was just as enjoyable as I remember it from previous visits, with simple but authentic Roman food, using excellent ingredients. It was packed out even on a Monday lunch in February, and it is easy to see why.
Further reviews: 01st Sep 2008