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Lunatico: A hidden gem amongst touristy choices
This place was a very good find amongst the tourist traps abounding in the Pantheon area. As I was on the
lookout for a less touristy place that offered reasonably priced, and good local food, but had no prior
information on places in this area, I let my feet and with eyes peeled, to do the searching.
This is a smallish restaurant, without even a name posted outside, on the street exactly at the right of the Pantheon and which goes to Hadrian's columns. From the outside, it looks like a cafe, bar, but they have a few tables inside. The interior is small, with the red/maroon walls decorated with wine bottles, overall with a modern feel to it.
They had a kind of budget menu which offered 2 specific dishes for about 7euros, but we opted to go a la
carte. The salad (as all salads go in Rome, I have learned) was good, as there were just two of us, we asked for a smaller dish than what was in the menu. When the salad (rucola, some other leaf, fresh mushrooms, and black olives) came, we were surprised to see the dish large and full, yet the waiter assured us, this was the "smaller" one. And it came only at 4.80 euros or so! We also had half roast chicken with potatoes -- excellently done, the chicken being young and suffused with herbs, so even while it was somewhat dry, it tasted very good. But the best was our order of chicken with artichokes (this ingredient being a local specialty) -- tender chicken breasts with some herbed cream and artichokes -- an unforgettable dish. I had alway been unenthusiastic about artichokes, have read a lot about its supposed qualities, but have never been impressed with what i had tasted before this. This dish was my conversion!
Overall, our excellent meal cost us only 20.50 euros, including espresso afterwards but without drinks (we had juices and water with us).
It is easy to miss this place as it had no name sign outside that I could see. The only reason I figured out its name was that it was printed on the back of the shirts of the waitresses. The place is about 4 or 5 establishments, just a few meters from the corner right of the Pantheon.
This was a very lucky find indeed!
Favorite Dish: Chicken with artichokes -- simply superb!
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