Finding a great fish restaurant in Rome is always a thrill, and I’m delighted to add Barra Pescheria con Cucina, in piazza Vescovio, straight to the list.
This new restaurant and high-end fishmonger is in one of Rome’s more refined residential areas, so it’s not an easy hike from the centre.
However, if your hotel’s in Parioli or you’re based in north Rome, it should definitely be on your radar.
Barra Pescheria con Cucina opened on 1 July 2018, to complement an existing Barra restaurant located in the north Roman town of Monterotondo.
It enjoys a cute corner position on a peaceful piazza, which means you can make the most of the warm evenings with an outdoor table.
The restaurant’s interiors are lovely and atmospheric too – although when I visited the acoustics still needed a bit of work as it got noisy quite fast. We started with perhaps the perfect aperitif for a fish-based meal – a refreshing gin and tonic made from Gin Mare.
I visited in August, on one of the hottest days of the year, so we were craving cool tartares and freshly caught fish. We weren’t disappointed, plumping for a selection of incredible raw dishes. This tuna tartare on an avocado base, dressed with pistachio nuts, was a great beginning.
Next up, raw prawns with stracciata di bufala, dusted with lemon and lime zest. The creamy bufala cheese was delicate enough not to overwhelm the delicate, super fresh prawns.
After that, we shared a dish of thinly sliced weever fish dressed with Gaeta olives, and raw red prawns dressed with fresh lemons.
We also tried a small selection of fresh oysters, plus raw red and pink prawns. What I really liked was the possibility to mix and match small plates creating an amazing medley of starters.
The vibe on the starter menu is like a very high class tapas restaurant – and in fact, the restaurant has a sister establishment in Barcelona. The Spanish influence is light and refined, like this superb Catalan style swordfish, pictured below.
Barra has an ample menu which also includes a fantastic selection of salads, fish sandwiches, pasta and risotto dishes, and freshly caught fish prepared very simply. The fish is sourced in Formia, Gaeta and the Pontine islands so it doesn’t get much fresher than this.
We were starting to fill up, but had to try some of the incredible pasta dishes combined with fish. First up – baby octopus amatriciana, combining a tasty tomato sauce with structured grilled octopus flavours and a dusting of pecorino cheese.
One of my dining companions plumped for this tasty octopus carbonara, another fun marriage of Roman cuisine with the siren call of the sea.
The third dish we tasted was Scorpion fish with Sicilian buselli pasta, loose curls of pasta which artfully capture the sauce. All the dishes were great although I was very pleased I had ordered this particular plate, as it proved something a little different.
On this occasion, we didn’t leave room to try the ample second course menu which includes classics such as mixed fried fish and the catch of the day, prepared however you like.
We did leave space for these wonderful fruttini – artisan ice-creams made from walnuts, chestnuts, passion fruit and peanuts, mixed and re-set in their original organic cases. As well as looking divine they tasted absolutely amazing – my favourite kind of ice-cream.
All in all, I was really impressed with this experience and blown away by the breadth of a menu which definitely deserves another look. Prices are well within the mark for fresh, correctly sourced fish – expect to pay €14-€25 for the raw dishes, with oysters and large raw prawns priced at €3 a piece.
Pasta dishes range from €12 to €20, while burgers are around €11.
There’s something for everyone on this menu, and if you love fish, you should find your way here sooner or later!
Testaccina was a guest of Barra Pescheria Cucina
Piazza Vescovio 14 | 00199 | Rome | Tel 0039 06 8621 6910