Emme Restaurant at Hotel Margutta 19 offers a taste of affordable luxury in smart surroundings, centrally located between Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps.
Situated in Rome’s former artists’ quarter, along the cobbled and atmospheric Via Margutta, Emme Restaurant is a perfect pitstop during a shopping trip to Via del Babuino or Via Condotti.
Previously known as Assaggia, 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.
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, brunch or a light lunch.
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 different menus for lunch and dinner, with weekend brunch options too.
Both the lunch and dinner menu are 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