Mediterraneo Restaurant and Garden, at Rome’s MAXXI contemporary art gallery, is all set to be one of the coolest summer restaurants in Rome 2020.
Mediterraneo occupies a green, outdoors courtyard in the grounds of MAXXI, as well as an ample dining hall built round a well-stocked bar. Open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 12 noon through until 2 pm, it focuses on lunch, dinner and drinks, and has been spaciously designed with public health in mind.
Mediterraneo’s menu, which is a meeting point between East and West, offers something for every taste. While lunchtime punts on light options ranging from savoury crepes to salads and bowls, at night, plan on choosing between sushi, pizza, fish and meat main courses, fried goodies and authentic local pasta dishes, with special attention to typically Mediterranean specialities.
The kitchen team includes chef Emanuele Pompili; sushi chef Francesco Di Cori, and pastry chef Irene Tolomei, a finalist in the latest edition of Bake Off Italia.
Mediterraneo Roma’s airy location is primed to host events and concerts too, with its flexible outdoor spaces, shaped in a green embrace.
One of Mediterraneo MAXXI’s strong points, in fact, is that it has been designed with social distancing in mind. Its unique bamboo gazebo structures, called Homys, are designed to host five diners with individual tables and well spaced chairs.
There are also regular tables outside and in, for groups of all size, plus hand sanitising points. Mask use is encouraged when not at your table.
Lunch at Mediterraneo MAXXI is a well-priced affair, with salads starting at €5 and savoury crepes, with ingredients including cured ham, mortadella, scamorza cheese and hummus, at €6. Acai, fresh fruit and yoghurt bowls cost around €5, while sweet crepes are €4. If you’d like to check the menu out yourself, there’s a direct link right here. When dining, guests are encouraged to consult the online menu for hygiene reasons, via the website or a QR Code.
At dinner, mixed boards of cheese and cold cuts are perfect for sharing at €13, while other cute starters include savoury maritozzi (€7) and fresh fish tartare (€14). There is also an ample selection of fried goodies, from fusion tempura vegetables, to vegetable samosas and more.
If you want to continue grazing lounge style, there is a good selection of uramaki options (from €13) as well as nachos and guacamole (€5).
First course dishes includes some tasty pasta plates, from retro dish penette alla vodka (€12) to spaghettone ajo e ojo (€18) made with raw red prawns. For a second course, choose from an easy Maxxi burger (€15) to salmon fillet (€16) or beef fillet (€22), or slow roast beef (€14).
Dinner at Mediterraneo Maxxi
After attending the Mediterraneo Maxxi launch party in June, I recently went back to try a full sit down dinner. This time, I dined in the cavernous internal hall, fresh with air-conditioning by in the summer, and cosy in the cooler months.
I started my meal with a selection of raw salmon and mango uramaki, combined with avocado and a light yuzu salsa. This fusion take on sushi was really fresh and fruity, and totally hit the spot. (€14)
I followed up with this classic Roman pasta shape – fresh egg tonnarelli – combined with garlic, chilli pepper, and raw red prawns. The sweetness of the seafood was an incredible combination with the bite of chilli. (€18)
My second course dish was this handsome fillet steak, cooked sous vide and finished in the pan for a smooth medium rare interior. It was served with a field salad combining herbs and rocket (€22).
I decided to try a cocktail and dessert pairing to finish off the experience. Classic cocktails start at €10 at Mediterraneo Maxxi, going up to €15 for the most prestigious blends, including champagne cocktails.
I loved Panarea, a vodka sour with jalapeño and lime juice, vanilla syrup, passion fruit and eggwhite (€15), which was sharp, spicy and smoothly exotic! It paired perfectly with the passion fruit baba (€8) from the dessert menu for a lovely sweet but tart close.
Mediterraneo Maxxi is in the safe hands of the same group which operates Palmerie Parioli, so you know that the fish and other ingredients will be impeccably sourced.
All in all, Mediterraneo Maxxi is both cool and refined, laid back and elegant; the prices are competitive and the location unique. With the safety and comfort of its visitors a prime consideration, it’s perfect for a relaxing lunch or evening in Rome, capturing the zeitgeist of the chilled summer of 2020 in the Eternal City.
Plus, the kitchen will soon be activating takeaway and delivery options, so you’ll also be able to try its delicacies in the comfort of your own home. Keep an eye on the website and its social media for more info.
Mediterraneo Rome | Via Guido Reni 4/A | Rome | Tel +39 391 7053069
Open Tuesdays to Sundays, 12 noon – 2 am