Holidays in Rome aren’t always synonymous with eating great seafood whilst enjoying mesmerising sea views, but that’s where Lux Restaurant & Cocktail Bar in Ostia comes in.
Located in the Port of Ostia, at the chic end of Rome’s beach resort, Lux Restaurant is a timeless way to enjoy excellent local seafood, while trying a fish restaurant that isn’t afraid to offer something a little different.
Ostia, on the Lazio coast, is geographically and politically part of the city of Rome, although it can feel like a town in its own right with its wide sandy beaches, modern architecture and slow pace of life. While Ostia isn’t in the same class as some of Italy’s most famous seaside resorts, it’s a great resource when in Rome, to simply get away to the beach for a few hours.
Just a 30 minute train ride from the centre of Rome, if you are dining at Ostia in the evening you might need to plan to get a taxi back at the end of the evening as the trains don’t run very late.
Historically, dining in Ostia has not really encompassed a serious selection of gourmet restaurants or modern concepts, although that is slowly changing.
Lux Restaurant Ostia is a modern, clean space which occupies a wharf-side berth in the Port of Ostia. It’s a great location for any restaurant or bar and Lux makes the most of this magical spot. Tables on the wharf in fine weather and picture windows when confined indoors mean that you will be watching the sun go down over the blue Mediterranean and a forest of yachts when dining at Lux Ristorante, and I can promise you that the golden hour is simply spectacular here.
While Lux Restaurant in Ostia isn’t a brand new restaurant – it opened a couple of years ago – a new chef as of February 2021 has injected fresh vitality into the place.
Micaela Di Cola is an eloquent and engaging chef with several strings to her bow. She regularly appears on Rai TV as an expert tutor, and has worked extensively in the world of cinema and TV as a food stylist, including ads for Italian megabrands such as Nutella, Uliveto and Road House.
Micaela grew up hovering around the tablecloths of her parents’ restaurant in the bustling heart of Rome, by Santa Maria Maggiore. She says she inherited a love of nouvelle cuisine from her mother, while her father has inspired plenty of affection for local traditions. Everything at Lux Food Experience is homemade – from the bread to the pasta – so a meal here is also a voyage into the foundations of Italian cuisine.
Dinner on the wharf began with a freshly made cocktail. I chose a classic Rossini – prosecco and crushed strawberries – that deepened in colour as the sun plunged into the sea. Exquisite details to kick things off included a patty of ‘fake’ butter artfully made from olive oil, and some hunks of that homemade bread.
I ordered an inspired, modern dish as a starter: rosso di Mazara raw, red prawns served with burrata, candied lime, and a tomato and ginger juice (€15). The tart, fresh flavours accompanied the tender prawn meat without overwhelming its delicate flavour.
We were spoiled for choice when it came to the first course menu, which is dominated by handmade pasta dishes. I plumped for a “Caprese salad” remix – fresh pasta ravioli filled with bufala mozzarella and scampi, dressed with confit tomatoes and tomato water which the server added at the table with a theatrical flourish. Another result from Lux Restaurant Ostia.
My table companions tried a delicate risotto made with prawns and lime; spaghettone with butter and anchovies; and a mezzo pacchero dish combining tartare of the catch of the day with confit tomatoes and thyme. Look out too for a delicate cacio e pepe remix, with the addition of scampi. First course dishes are priced between €12-22, so there’s something for every budget at Lux Ristorante.
For a second course, we shared a hearty plate of mixed, fried fish (prawns and squid) costing €18, and a tender grilled octopus with a cream of spiced beans (€16). The desserts looked delicious – including a delicate lemon meringue tart – although I didn’t have space this time.
All in all, Lux Restaurant is a wow opportunity to eat on the handsome wharf in Ostia, at prices which are decidedly contained for the experience and the location. Without a car, you may have to make travel or accommodation arrangements but this is special occasion dining at its affordable best.
Testaccina was a guest of Lux Restaurant Ostia
Lux Restaurant | Lungomare Duca degli Abruzzi, 84 Ostia (RM) Porto turistico di Roma | Tel +39 06 5674184