UPDATE: Ego Bistro is now permanently closed. For another great romantic choice in Rome, with sensational rooftop views, try The Flair, Hotel Sina Bernini Bristol.
Is Ego Bistrot the most romantic restaurant in Rome? Enjoying some of the most breathtaking views in the city – across Trastevere and the Aventine’s orange groves – it’s certainly amongst the most romantic restaurants in Rome, with one of the best Roman rooftops to boot.
Read on to find out if the food also lives up to those amazing views and if you should be reserving a table at Ego Bistrot in Rome.
First, a word about the location of Ego Bistrot, which occupies the top floor of a seventeenth century century palace in Trastevere, Borgo Ripa.
This was the former home of Donna Olimpia Maidalchini, an iconic Roman noblewoman who was both an entrepreneur and the Pope’s mistress in the 1600s, who became Donna Pamphilj by marriage.
This extraordinary estate was brought to life again recently after 100 years of ruin, with a complete transformation into two hotels, Residenza Doria Pamphilj and Hostel Ripa Village, a boutique hostel.
The first offers 12 rooms with a stunning roof garden and wellness centre, while the second offers 120 beds in dormitories. I recommend them both for your stay in Rome so click the links to find out more about Residenza Doria Pamphilj or Hostel Ripa Village, look at more photos or book your stay.
The whole complex enjoys one of the most majestic gardens in Rome, which becomes an outdoor bar and restaurant in the summer.
Ego Bistrot, on the other hand, is a separate enterprise which has leased the top floor and another stunning roof terrace – one of the best rooftops in Rome – to launch a refined restaurant which is ideal for occasion dining, but which is also now open for a more informal brunch on Sundays.
Does this make Ego Bistrot the most romantic restaurant in Rome? Read on to find out.
While the terrace simply demands outdoor dining in the summer – with views over the green gardens of Trastevere – the indoor part of the restaurant is charming all year round, enjoying river views across to the Aventine hill and its famous orange groves. The terrace seats about 20 people, while the indoor restaurant has another 20 covers.
When I visited, the restaurant was preparing its rooftop terrace for the winter season with a temporary heated gazebo, to extend outdoor dining into the coldest months of the year.
The terrace – which makes Ego Bistrot undoubtedly one of the most romantic restaurants in Rome – offers a breathtaking view where you can sip cocktails at sunset.
Inside the bistro, a glass-lined open kitchen means that you can watch chef Andrea Quaranta at work with his team. Quaranta, who originally hails from Liguria, has a philosophy of cooking with local and seasonal ingredients, presented in refined and original combinations. His preparatory and plating style is modern and technical, with plenty of gastronomic flair for the refined palate and smaller stomach.
While Ego Bistrot comes into its own at dinner, guests can drop in for drinks and nibbles at the aperitvo hour, from 7pm onwards. Here, €10 buys you a cocktail plus finger food, and you can also order slates of cheese and charcuterie, or tasting plates of seafood, including raw fish.
What makes Ego Bistrot particularly appetising at dinner is its good value set menus, competitively priced for the location, the quality of ingredients, and the gastronomic ambition which accompanies their preparation. These are offered at €40 per head (amuse bouche plus four course meal, including water) or €60 per head (amuse bouche plus six course meal, plus water) without wine. If that doesn’t make it one of the most romantic restaurants in Rome, nothing will!
We dined a la carte, starting with yellowtail carpaccio, marinated in lime, and served with peppers. peanut sauce, peanut crumble and stracciatella cheese (€20). This was an easy win characterised by a limey zing, taken in a vaguely fusion direction with the nutty creaminess of the peanut.
Next, we tried this sensational slice of rabbit terrine, served with a sauce of rabbit sweetbreads. This was a delicate dish with interesting textures. (€16).
This was followed with a tender fillet of Mediterranean lobster, served on a brioche bun and pea puree, with a sauce combining lobster bisque and coconut milk.Topped with a squid ink and liquorice wafer, this was an absolute triumph. (€20).
We then moved on to a tasting portion of pasta – two tortelli filled with goats cheese, plus beetroot, bourbon, spring onions and vanilla flavoured sauce. The delicate tortelli were a little overwhelmed by the sauce but this was another highly original dish (€18).
This was followed by rocket risotto with mussels, sea urchin and pecorino cheese, a lovely take on seafood risotto combining plenty of delicate flavours that remained well balanced.
Dinner wasn’t done yet, and we moved onto roast scallops in tomatoes, served with cucumber kimchi and black garlic, once again indicating this restaurant’s gourmet aspirations. This was another successful dish, distinguished by sharp and sour flavours. (€25).
We close the meal by sharing a selection of sensational Ego Bistrot desserts.
This dessert of peach set yogurt, served with a basil sponge and chocolate cake, was surprisingly light. (€9)
Signature dish Ego40 combines pear, white chocolate and a fois gras and black pepper biscuit. Sublime. (€9)
The excellent seasonal sorbet selection included pistachio and chestnut (€6).
I also recommend this black cherry and ricotta dish, low on sugar and high in natural flavours (€9).
Ego Bistrot also has a sensational selection of after dinner drinks, so make sure you ask sommelier Daniele Cecchi to suggest something from the gorgeous wall of liquors.
Ego Bistrot sells itself initially on the terrace, those views across to the Aventine hill, plus the breathtaking Borgo Ripa complex. But it doesn’t rest on its laurels, offering a complex and technically excellent menu that works for any occasion dining. I can also confirm… it’s definitely one of the most romantic restaurants in Rome!
Testaccina was a guest of Ego Bistro
Ego Bistrot | Vicolo del Canale 14 | Rome, Italy | Tel 0044 392 570 2096