Tucked away on a side street a few blocks away from the Pantheon in Rome, Pietro was small, dark and quiet, a true sign of a great Italian ristorante. On our first night in Rome, Shane and I were directed to this traditional Italian eatery on Via dei Pianellari thanks to a recommendation by Shane’s college friend Anthony Fasano, who had dinned there just a few months earlier. The small family style, mom-and-pop eatery had only two other couples dining when we arrived around 9:30 p.m.
We were told to ask for Simona, whose husband’s family, the Dessi’s, are the owners of the restaurant and have been for almost 45 years. Simona happened to be the first person who greeted us, not surprising since she was one of only two visible people working there. She sat us toward the front of the quaint dining room, and then led us to the first order of business at the start of any Italian meal: choosing your wine of choice. She recommended a 2009 bottle of Mastro Janni Rosso di Montalcino to compliment our prosciutto and mozzarella appetizer and homemade cheese bread. It paired perfectly with my main meal, a classic gnocchi with a white cream sauce topped with truffle flakes, and Shane’s grilled rack of lamb with roasted artichoke, a traditional Italian dish Simona told us.
If this meal was a sign of what’s to come on the trip, then we’re in good shape. It was phenomenal and marked one of the best meals on the trip. Thanks to Pietro’s, I shall never eat pasta again unless it’s topped with fresh truffle flakes.