Emme Restaurant is a smart new dining option in Rome’s former artists’ quarter, centrally located between Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps.
Featuring a young kitchen team guided by talented executive chef Daniele Ladaga, Emme Restaurant serves healthy gourmet food distinguished by seasonal vegetables and a generous dose of local tradition.
Emme Restaurant’s beautifully appointed dining room makes this an excellent spot for a special occasion, but an easy daytime philosophy means you shouldn’t rule it out for a quick coffee or a light lunch.
The restaurant owes its welcoming vibe also to the fact that it acts as the ground-floor anchor to five star boutique hotel Margutta 19, part of Rome Luxury Suites’ diffused collection of contemporary lodgings in downtown Rome.
Its hospitality credentials begin with chic perfection in the pale stone lobby, which opens into a soft-edged dining room characterised by mushroom and taupe furnishings, and a glittering, well-stocked bar. An open-air dining space beneath the sloped terraces of villa Borghese adds a pretty and private summer option.
Emme Restaurant offers two distinct menus for lunch and dinner. I went along with a friend one evening to try the upscale-but-easy dinner menu. We started with a welcome aperitif featuring local salami and mortadella, plus tiny fried rice balls and hand-cooked chips.
next up – one of my favourite dishes of the night – tender artichoke filled with cacio e pepe sauce, served with raw red prawns (€20). I adore artichokes and this was soft and melting, contrasting perfectly with the fresh sweetness of the prawns. Simply sensational.
The menu is strong on modern comfort food, including this soft poached egg with tomato sauce, croutons, almonds and Parmesan (€16).
My dining companion tried this whipped baccala with chickpeas served on a tartlet (€16), a successful combination of flavours and textures, artfully executed.
This elegant upgrade of a traditional Roman soup, usually served on Fridays in Testaccio and other old-school districts, combines mignon ravioli stuffed with Roman broccoli and skate fish in a light broth (€18).
This handsome plate was one of my favourites of the night – handmade ravioli stuffed with a traditional Roman sauce of pecorino and Parmesan cheese, topped with crispy pork jowl – essentially, ravioli stuffed with gricia sauce (€20).
Ordering a carbonara is something of an acid test in Roman restaurants. This was strong on the classic dish’s contrasting flavours, made with traditional crispy pork jowl. All the dishes from the Roman tradition (you can order carbonara, gricia or cacio e pepe) cost €16.
The second course menu ranges effortlessly from fish to meat dishes. Below, this monkfish creation was well-balanced with wild mushrooms, parsnip and a savoury game sauce (€27).
I enjoyed this dark and richly intense duck breast served with roast radicchio and a fruits-of-the-forest compote (€20).
The desserts are made in house and offer something a little out of the ordinary. I wanted a light option, so chose this picture-perfect deconstructed hazelnut crumble combining ice-cream and sorbet versions of mandarin orange with edible flowers (€12).
Mt dining companion ordered this magnificent honey almond tart with pistachio nuts and vanilla ice-cream, combining some wonderful Middle-Eastern influence with Italian tradition.
Emme Restaurant is a place which manages to combine fine dining with comfort, putting diners at their ease in one of the prettiest salons in Rome. Although a wholly elegant proposition, the enthusiasm of chef Ladaga’s young team infuses the experience with verve which is reflected in the can-do attitude of its knowledgeable wait staff.
Rome Luxury Suites is also a fabulous hotel option when visiting Rome, perfect for travellers who want to combine the luxury of a boutique hotel with its bespoke service and friendliness. To check out some hotel reviews, head here.
Emme Restaurant | Via Margutta 19 | Rome | Tel 0039 06 9779 7980