While I have not heard about this restaurant prior to my travels, while doing my research, I found Ristorante Calabasico while doing my planning. It was perfect since I was looking for a place that is near the Vatican City. Ristorante Calabasico is only around the corner, roughly a 5 mins walk away. Feeling famished after walking around for almost the whole morning, the distance that we have covered was also pretty amazing, from the Colosseum till the Vatican. We decided to come here for lunch after leaving the Vatican!
Calabasico is famous for its handmade pasta which is also one of the main reason why I choose to come here. While pasta can be found anywhere, hand made ones are different. After all, making pasta is not an easy task and you really have to make an decent amount to find it worthwhile. Trust me, I had my try on it in Florence, it sure isn’t easy. When compared to store bought factory made pasta, handmade ones are more chewy and less dried. It is also more sticky and tends to blend more well with the sauce. Clalabasico decor is a mixture of chic industrial style. They had this overhang lamps that add another forms of decor to it. With the gloomy skies suddenly, it also seems pretty cosy in the restaurant.
With the focus on handmade pasta. We order two of those to share. We got the Gnocchi with Mussels, cherry tomatoes and truffle oil coming at 12 Euros. What came was a healthy portion of Gnocchi plattered with mussels. While the number of mussels were certainly underwhelming since I have been in Brussels before, it was still a healthy portion. Gnocchi is a type of pasta that is actually a dumpling that is incorporated with potatoes. It is a good combination with many sauce such as simple sage and butter to pesto or tomatoes! It is a hearty kind of pasta that I really love. The dish was simple and you get the taste of the pasta itself, accompanied by the sweet bursting tomatoes that kind of made its own sauce! Then you have the unami taste from the mussels.
We also got the Fettuccine with King Prawns and Rocket Salad. This cost 14 Euros. Fettuccine is a kind of pasta that goes more well with heavy sauce such as ragu. It was the ability to holds more sauce and with the pasta being handmade, I love the amount of sauce that sticks to the noodles! Lovely! I love the dish coming with fresh tomatoes and huge prawns. The prawns were fresh, keeping the head on added much flavours to the pasta. I find that the rocket salad really made a difference to the dish, by having some greens and bitter rockets that cuts out the heaviness of the dish! Al Dente!
We also got a bottle of red to share, coming in at only 15 Euros and it is so perfectly drinkable. I love wine prices in Europe restaurants. Speaking of dining here in Calabasico, it is really funny as since it got raining suddenly, we were just chilling in the restaurant. Then we met a couple from canadian who join in our conversation on how ridiculous it is to pay for water in a restaurant since we all find it crap that we have to pay for it when we are coming from places that water is a given when dining outside!
Check it out while you are ever here in Rome, prices are around there and the handmade pasta is pretty amazing.