Eleonora Baldwin, fabulous writer of the blog Aglio Olio Peperoncino, stepped into a Travel Writing class I took in Rome, Italy. Baldwin is an Italian American whose stories include the best gelaterias, must-try restaurants, and personal Italian recipes.
One of her recommended restaurants was Armando al Pantheon, so after class, a group of us decided to go. The restaurant can be found only a short distance from the super touristy, overpriced cafes located in the piazza near the Pantheon.
It takes only one minute to walk from the Fontana del Pantheon to the Salita dei Crescenzi. My friends and I arrived at the restaurant shortly before their 12:30 opening thinking we would absolutely get lost. (It is hard to lose your way. Trust Google maps!)
Inside, cream-colored table cloths draped the tables, soft lighting illuminated the dark wood on the lower halves of the walls, and dozens of paintings and bottles of wine decorated the walls.
After a half hour of staring at the menu outside, our orders were basically memorized. They have spaghetti every way imaginable, gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, ox tail Roman style with tomato sauce, spelt dumplings in truffle sauce, etc. I’m salivating just skimming through their menu now!
When in Italy, one simply eats an abnormal amount of pasta. FACT. However, in a matter of five days, my plates only consisted of risotto, gnocchi, pizza and croissants. It was time for my body to get vegetables outside of tomato sauce (and wine.)
Faced with the health dilemma, I was so happy to see that Al Pantheon offered a unique salad called Insalata Fantasia. According to my handy Google Translator, that appropriately translates to “Fancy Salad.”
When the waiter brought it to the table, I was thrilled to see the vibrant yellow corn, fresh green arugula, slices of parmesan, red currants, and hazelnuts glistening in olive oil.
To be honest, I don’t even like corn, but I ate the whole thing! The ingredients came together in a slightly salty, mouthwatering arrangement. Every bite tasted different. The corn was sweet and salty, the arugula was crisp, and the parmesan was perfection.
If you’re planning a trip to Rome, be sure to make a reservation for this restaurant! It is a small venue, so plan ahead.
Armando al Pantheon
Address: Salita dei Crescenzi, 31, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
*The website was difficult to maneuver translated to English. I love browsing restaurant menus online before going to the restaurant and found Zomato’s menu very helpful!