Metropolita Roma is a new cocktail bar, eatery and occasional music venue in North Rome which has thrown down the gauntlet in a chiefly residential area with high quality mixology and food at keen prices.
Situated opposite Teatro Olimpico and at the foot of one of Rome’s newest bridges, Ponte della Musica, Metropolita Rome is a welcome addition to an area which has slowly evolved in recent years thanks to pop-up enterprises such as Hotel Butterfly in the former Guido Reni complex, and the masterful Zaha Hadid-designed Maxxi museum, yet has failed to become much of a destination in its own right.
Now, Metropolita is aiming to change all that. Boasting a great location in the same piazza as the theatre, created out of a cavernous former carpet store, it is the first thing you see when you cross the bridge to reach the Flaminio side, distinguished by the imposing riverside Art Deco apartments which characterise the area.
Metropolita’s impressive interiors and design aesthetics have borrowed a little of the neighbourhood’s Art Deco purity and flair, mashing things up with custom furnishings and nice architectural details which create a fascinating space over three floors.
Think of 1927 cult film Metropolis as inspiration for its gold M logo and burnished fittings, while custom soft furnishings are from Puglia and the improbable cathedral roof is reclaimed from a barn in Romania.
The bar and eatery is the brainchild of Roberto Rabaglino, Carlo Annessi and Roberto Annessi who collectively vaunt serious experience in the Roman bar and restaurant scene: Rabaglino owns popular neighbourhood enoteca-bistro Tiepolo.
However, during our meeting, all three come across as humble yet smart entrepreneurs who love the industry and are hungry to keep learning.
We kicked off the evening with a glass of bubbly in a traditional coupe, served by a young but experienced bar team, and the lighting, music and ambiance created the feeling that a fun night was ahead.
Metropolita doesn’t have any pretensions to be a restaurant or even a bistro, but the ample menu, focusing on light bites – they don’t have a full kitchen – settles squarely on well-done bar nibbles, tartares and carpaccio, plus an impressive dessert menu befitting a restaurant of quality.
My party started by sharing a few mouth-watering starters, including a classic hummus with Sardinian carasau crisp bread, guilty-pleasure guacamole with nachos, plus toasted bread with a dipping sauce described as a gazpacho on the menu.
These three dishes were all priced at €6 each, making them great sharing plates or light nibbles that would suit any pocket.
I’m always really happy to base a meal around raw and smoked fish, so we plumped next for a salmon platter with the fish prepared in three different ways: raw, smoked and gravlax.
This is still good value at €22 – ideal for sharing – but I felt it lacked a note of acidity and would have even been happy with a single lemon wedge to cut through the richness of this fatty fish.
Next up, another variation on salmon tartare, with a concentrated raspberry coulis and crumbled taralli biscuits. The sweet notes of the coulis and crumble were a bit of a clash on the palate with the fish, but this was another well-executed dish at the reasonable price of €15.
Next on the Metropolita menu, I had to try this white tuna tartare, dressed with caper berries and a smear of sun-blush tomatoes. The tuna had been salt marinated to raise its flavour game, and this was another well-executed dish, although slightly high on salt for my taste (€14).
One of my dining companions ordered this carpaccio of rare Fassona beef, dressed with two kinds of truffle plus shavings on parmesan, and this was a lovely dish which really hit the spot (€14).
This sous vide salmon slice on potato mash and pepper jam was another lovely option and great single dish for a light appetite (€12).
Other choices on the menu include sandwiches and salads, so you should plan your Metropolita trip around the need to graze, rather than the need to dine.
We weren’t going to skip dessert and tried all five options on the menu. These were, clockwise from top left: profiteroles (€6), white chocolate mousse with passion fruit (€6), ricotta and black cherry tart (€6), pistachio semifreddo (€6) plus a wonderful dessert of the day, a semifreddo combining three kinds of raspberry (whole fruit, coulis and mousse) plus dark chocolate (€6).
I’m not a huge eater of desserts but they were all phenomenal and I would definitely come back and even just order dessert with a cocktail for a late night guilty pleasure. Superb.
If you can sit on the mezzanine floor, I highly recommend it for its excellent people watching and views over the stylish bar area.
Metropolita is first and foremost, a fabulous cocktail bar, so I couldn’t leave without trying a mixed drink from the menu, which includes flaming tiki creations as well as classics and house variations.
My go-to cocktail is usually a negroni, making it a great point of reference for me. This negroni was nicely balanced with premium, hand-hewn ice, but priced at a very reasonable €8. Expect to pay a shade less during happy hour, from 18.00 to 19.30.
All in all, my Metropolita experience didn’t hit a sour note and the quality, ambiance and price point all mean I will definitely be back soon.
For now, Metropolita is open every evening from Monday to Saturday (from 18.00 onwards), plus lunchtimes Monday to Friday. However, Sunday brunch is coming soon and you may want to make the most of the outdoor tables while you can.
Occasional live music nights mix things up, but Metropolita doesn’t need entertainment options to make it any more appealing.
Testaccina was a guest of Metropolita
Metropolita Rome | Piazza Gentile Da Fabriano 2 | Rome | Tel +39 06 324 0249