The most beautiful street in Rome, via Giulia, guards many enigmas behind its imposing doors and palaces. But one of its best kept secrets is a relatively new restaurant, simply called Giulia Restaurant Coffee Drink, which unites impeccable interiors and views across this lovely street with one of the most exciting kitchen line-ups in Rome.
Pierluigi Gallo, born in Naples but raised in Abruzzo, is a chef that loves to surprise. The forms may be familiar, the ingredients even, but they take on new meaning and interpretation in his hands.
Meanwhile the team behind the dessert menu combines technical excellence and imaginative flair, which will inspire you to order more than one sweet to finish your meal!
Together, they represent one of the hottest restaurant teams in Rome right now and if that wasn’t enough, Giulia’s interiors manage to combine elegance with warmth, and industrial design with boudoir comforts. The space was created by owner Carlo Maddalena who says he likes to dispense with interior designers and do-it-himself, and indeed does so with considerable style.
The entrance to the restaurant isn’t directly on via Giulia, which is actually a good thing: you enter from the riverside, at Lungotevere dei Tebaldi 4A, which means that the restaurant has a full length of windows overlooking the iconic street.
During the day, where coffee is served from 11am, the sun slants through the windows and creates an entrancing space for a late morning meet-up, or a slow start to the day.
The restaurant is currently exploring fixed-price lunch options, but for the full Giulia Restaurant experience, you’re going to want to reserve a table at night.
My Giulia Restaurant experience involved a tasting menu of several dishes. The size of the dishes pictured is slightly smaller than the portions you would get in the restaurant, so use the photos as a broad rather than a specific guide.
This breaded red mullet was a sensational start to the meal. Served with anchovies and a roasted lemon mayo, it was a light but tasty start offering some great textures.
Next, we moved onto a sensational lamb tartare wrapped in seasonal black truffle. The use of raw lamb is quite rare, but with a careful preparation proved tender and extremely delicate.
Roman cuisine always tips its hat to offal dishes, and the next course was a very elegant re-reading of sweetbreads, delicately fried with glaceed broccoli greens and aged Parmesan. This is usually priced at €19.00 on the main menu and was absolutely superb.
The next dish, Gallo’s (award winning) risotto dish, comprises Provalone del Monaco cheese, tangerine and onion. Priced at €20.00 on the usual menu, it is a triumph of tangy flavours.
These tender gnocchi are filled with stewed veal, and combined with deep fried puntarelle greens and anchovies. Another superb dish in terms of textures and flavour.
Gallo’s famed spaghetti dish combines robust, thick spaghetti with creamed lentils and sea urchins. It’s a unique flavour combination which will stay with you a long time.
After that, I tried this rather marvellous tortello served with clams and parsley oil. Enriched by delicate flavours, it tasted as good as it looked.
This potato croquette with carrot and ketchup is a great option from the vegetarian menu.
I also tried this incredible sous vide pork dish, comprising tender, glaceed pork belly, combined with chicory greens and almonds. Just exceptional. (€25.00)
Thankfully, we had left room for dessert. This artful dish combines carrot, walnut, celeriac and “dulce de leche” for an incredible combination of flavours.
We also tried an experimental roast tomato dessert which looked as good as it tasted.
Giulia’s handmade macarons were burnished with gold for the ultimate luxe finale. All in all, my experience at Giulia Restaurant Coffee Drink was a fabulous one. I would highly recommend the €80.00 tasting menu for a perfect introduction to Giulia but the full a la carte experience is also rich and varied.
Via Giulia 245/249, entrance Lungotevere dei Tebaldi 4A, Rome, Italy
Tel 0039 (0)6 9489 2076