I’m really excited about sharing this week’s restaurant recommendation – Hosteria Amedeo, in Monte Porzio Catone in the Castelli Romani – which combines incredible food with an unrivalled location in the green hills south-east of Rome.
The Castelli Romani – literally translated, Roman castles – are a misnamed collection of villages in an area of volcanic lakes and hills about 20 km outside the city.
Associated with wine growing and traditional rustic retreats, today they are prized for a cool microclimate in the hot months and for representing a green escape, about half an hour from Rome.
You may have heard of Frascati, famed for wines – Castel Gandolfo, with its papal retreat – or Ariccia, where the best roast pork drives people to trek into the hills every weekend.
In the village of Monte Porzio Catone, Hosteria Amedeo is a restaurant with a fresh outlook on cuisine and plenty of ties with local traditions.
Blessed with a long, green garden, where olive trees provide natural shade, it’s a remarkable idyll for escaping the noise of Rome.
Our friendly host, Emanuele, explained how his grandfather opened the Hosteria as a place to drink local wines – the original meaning of osteria – where punters were once encouraged to bring their own food, in the timeless, Italian tradition.
Over the years, customers asked for a local dish here and there, a kind of kitchen was fashioned, and so a traditional drinking hole evolved into an eatery – as happened with many original osterias.
Today, Hosteria Amedeo is indeed a very good restaurant, drawing on Roman traditions but creating a light and appetising menu. The summer menu is published above to give you an idea of prices and plates.
We started with an absolute classic of Roman cuisine – smoked beef heart. This was served with a delicate red pepper sauce and garden leaves. Tender, smoky and sensational.
Next up, another slightly intimidating classic which totally melted in the mouth. Veal tongue – combined here with celery tops and orange mayo – proved a light, refreshing bite.
We were still enjoying highlights from the starter menu, and this classic combination of home baked bread, herb butter and Cetara anchovy also hit the spot. Starters are priced very reasonably, between €2 and €10.
We moved onto the pasta course next, trying some handmade tortellini filled with stracciatella and served with a delicate tomato sauce. Fresh and tasty. All the pasta dishes are priced at an excellent €10.
Next, we tried an extremely tender, poached rabbit with a delicate tomato sauce and rabbit gravy. This virtually collapsed under the touch of the fork, proving moist but flavourful in the mouth. Expect to pay €11 – €24 for a second course.
Happily, lunch wasn’t over yet, and this beautifully layered lemon and raspberry cake with cracked white chocolate was low on sugar to provide a wonderfully tart, fresh sensation.
The menu was an absolute treat. Knowing the restaurant’s connections with tradition, I had expected something much heavier and less refined. But this elegant lunch – in a green garden, with small birds singing – brought a kind of fresh epiphany to the day.
Highly recommended for a weekend – or weekday – escape, this is also a great restaurant for a special occasion. You won’t be disappointed!
Testaccina was a guest of Hosteria Amedeo
Via Montecompatri, 31 | 00040 Monte Porzio Catone | tel +39 06 9434 1163