Monday, 16 February 2015

Rome Restaurant Review: Dar Poeta

Food and drink are two of my biggest passions in life, and one of the primary reasons I chose to study in Italy. In this world of molecular gastronomy, fusion, and food trends I find myself continuing to relate to something more simple: seasonal, wholesome, uncomplicated foods that taste great and are good for you. It resonates with me on a much deeper level. Italy appears to agree with me, as one of their cardinal rules, apparently, is to never put more than three ingredients on a pizza and everything is fresh and menus arranged according to seasonality (and local sourcing, in most cases.) 

Speaking of pizza, I'm here to point you towards what is arguably the best pizza to be found in Rome. Remember, though, that the caveat to all of this is that NAPLES has the best pizza. Rome only really discovered pizza in 1911 at the World Fair when Italians learned what other Italians were eating around the country. Suffice to say, I do prefer the pies in Naples. However, when one has a craving in Rome, the place to turn is DAR POETA in Trastevere.

About a 30 minute walk from St. John's University campus, Dar Poeta is located down a seemingly seedy narrow side street at Vicolo del Bologna 45/46--you'd walk right past it unless you were looking for it.

 Lotsa graffiti. (Pepe stops hustling for NOTHING!)

It's a small restaurant of two levels, with the larger groups being seated in the basement. They saw our loud group coming and immediately escorted us down the narrow winding stairs. Red and white checkered plastic tablecloths cover the tables (with red paper being thrown on top once you arrive) and the walls are simply decorated with quotes in Italian which I cannot read, but assume are about pizza.

The restaurant's menu is almost only pizza, though I spied maybe two or three calzones on offer and a large selection of bruschetta (of which the blue cheese and honey was my favourite) as well. Beer and wine is available, though skip the red--the white is fine. Then it's on to pizza!

The first time we went I ordered the Bufalata pizza with light red sauce, buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil.

I found it highly enjoyable with the oozy fresh cheese and easily polished off the entire thing.

 Pepe smiles for nothing, not even delectable pizza. The rest of us were just impatiently waiting to get the picture taken so we could dive in.

Which we did, promptly. (Scraps is going to kill me.)

My second time around, though, I opted for their namesake pizza (the Dar Poeta, obviously) that comes with thinly sliced zucchini, garlic, spicy salsiccia (sausage) and hot peppers. The sausage is OUTRAGEOUSLY good, and while zucchini on a pizza sounds was really, really good.

This time, my new Irish friends and I opted to finish our meal with the dessert calzone--a MASSIVE beast stuffed with melty Nutella and sweet cream and topped with powdered sugar and cocoa powder. It was UNBELIEVABLY delicious and decadent--plan to share it with at least two other people. (Our group of six split it amongst ourselves!)

The cheapest pizza starts at 6.50 Euro, though the majority are 9 Euro, and while the restaurant is just about always at capacity the wait is short and I don't think reservations are needed. (I've been reliably informed that this is NOT the case during high season or summer, though.) The staff is young and friendly, and always willing to offer suggestions on where to go out afterwards. It's become a huge favourite among the gang, and probably at the top of the list where I would take visitors to Rome. Highly recommended!

Disclaimer: Please note that all photos are mine, and are not to be used for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without my express written consent.

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