Affordable dishes not on tourist menus, San Lorenzo

To find out why San Lorenzo is the word of mouth district check out the ‘UI Areas of Rome’ page. I was brought to San Lorenzo on a first date with my Roman man. We went to a neighborhood restaurant called Pulcino Ballerino. He was happy to order for me and I was eager for a local’s advice. This place has simple, affordable dishes and full of a nice mix of  locals and ‘stranieri’. The manager flits about keeping things in order. We tried a delicacy dish as part of our mixed antipasto (starter). Bruschetta al Lardo is semi translucent fatty lard on toasted bread, something not on the usual tourist menus. Its oily texture and salty taste add flavor, however I preferred the creamed artichoke bruschetta topping with its subtle tanginess coming through with each munch.

Little did I know I nearly botched the whole deal when I poured out our smooth Montepulciano wine with my wrist turned upwards! Legend has it that in the past pouring this way marked someone out to be killed. It has now grown into a very ‘healthy’ superstition and had my man comically flapping at me to cease and desist immediately.

Now to the main act. The fresh table bread was crunchy and yielding as I drenched it with thick gooey gorgonzola risotto sauce, cut through every other bite with delicate sweet pear. Not for the faint of heart, this dish is a heavy hitter. I needed the essential coffee afterwards  to wake me up and  good liqueur to smooth things out. Amaro is a local after-dinner liqueur of choice. Of the different types, Jeggermeister is known to many outside Italy as a party shot. But there are many more sweetly delicious such as Montenegro that complement the bitter palate base (Amaro meaning bitter).  Other than putting a cap on dinner it gave us another excuse to linger at our table and chat the night away in true Italian style. Price is lower mid range, (For starter, main, wine, coffee & liqueur it was €27 each). http://www.pulcinoballerino.com

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