Jackie O Rome, the historic Rome nightclub, has recently revamped its very own Jackie O restaurant, giving you yet another reason to visit this iconic Rome nightlife venue.
Dating back to 1972, when the now-famous Rome nightclub was opened by Gilberto Iannozzi and his wife Beatrice, Jackie O Rome was the only place to be seen throughout the 1970s and 80s in Rome, encapsulating Dolce Vita era elegance and edge. The hallmark of Jackie O Rome was piano bar class and a good restaurant in a refined, intimate environment.
Jackie O’s name was inspired by the transformation of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy into Jacqueline Onassis in 1968, with the Rome nightclub launching four years after the American icon remarried. Perhaps not surprisingly, in its heyday, Jackie O Rome appealed to free spirits and an international jet set, with famous actors, politicians and models frequently ‘papped’ leaving the Rome nightclub.
Before my recent dinner at the Jackie O restaurant, I was in search of the answer to only one question: has Jackie O Rome still ‘got it’?
Jackie O Rome – a night on the town
Jackie O Rome is located on Via Boncompagni, just off Via Veneto, opposite the well-lit and security patrolled American Embassy – making this one of the safest streets in Rome.
The first thing I discovered was that weekends at Jackie O Rome still attract a young and gorgeous crowd. Rome’s late-teen elite flock to the nightclub on a Friday and Saturday eve to bop the night away and sip on expertly mixed cocktails.
The restaurant is located next door to the nightclub venue, with a seperate main door all to itself – so if you’re just dining at the Jackie O restaurant, you won’t necessarily get tangled up with club goers, nor be subject to the same queues.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that party nights here are chiefly the weekends, with live performers, largely of the piano bar variety, entertaining the venue after dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. Expect an elegant yet laid back vibe in the restaurant (and around the venue) Mondays to Thursdays.
Jackie O Rome – the restyling
The Jackie O restaurant recently reopened, after a stylish revamp that concluded in September 2019.
The entrance still wows with soft lights surrounded by mirrors and red velvet, while the main dining area is dramatic yet elegant. Young chefs Federico Sparaco and Stiven Toro man the kitchens, with a menu which gives knowing nods at the restaurant’s 1980s heyday, while taking on board modern trends and tastes, as well as referencing typical Roman cuisine.
We started our dinner at Jackie O restaurant with a Roman classic – stuffed zucchini flowers, filled with buffalo mozzarella and served with garlic mayonnaise.
Next up, boiled beef meatballs dressed with oxtail sauce, served on a dusting of bitter cocoa – simple and very good.
This was followed by 1980s iconic dish vitello tonnato, thin slices of rare veal with capers and tuna sauce. A well executed classic.
Next, one of Jackie O restaurant’s house favourites – riso al salto – exceptional comfort food and my surprise favourite of the night. This dish combines creamy saffron re-fried rice, topped with a beef-cheek stew. Sensational.
I was slightly underwhelmed with the beef tartare, which appeared to be machine minced, rather than chopped by hand. This dish is dressed at the table, adding old-school dining room flair to proceedings.
We finished off with a competent tiramisu, a little sweet for my palate, and a fresh fruit creme brulee – this was better.
Jackie O Rome – some conclusions
Overall, the meal was of a high standard, although the wine list features quite significant mark ups on some fairly average wines – something to bear in mind.
Considering that this is a nightclub venue, the food is overall good and makes a pleasant change from many of the recent copycat openings in Rome. Expect to pay €10-€18 for starters, €16-€26 for primi including pasta dishes, and €20-€30 for second courses or mains.
In conclusion, we recommend booking a table at weekends to get real value for money, when live entertainment is thrown in. If you’re tired of shabby-chic cocktail bars and post-industrial hamburger joints, it might be time to dig out your shoulder pads and hairspray for a night of old-school glamour.
Jackie O’s saloon, bar and disco still hit those decadent eighties notes with deep leather sofas, frosted glass, vampy red lighting and an outsized Oscars statue or two.
Open until the small hours, Jackie O Rome is just waiting for your sequinned entrance! Tell them Testaccina sent you.
Jackie O | Via Boncompagni, 11 | 00187 | Roma | Tel 0039 06 4288 5457