It’s not every day that you get to dine in the wake of royalty in Rome, but Rinaldi Al Quirinale isn’t your average restaurant.
Impeccably run by Antonio, with his two cheerful sons Vincenzo and Daniele, this is a restaurant which has already charmed the likes of Queen Rania of Jordon, Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson, Lionel Ritchie and even a couple of astronauts, Paolo Nespoli and Roberto Vittori.
I spend a lot of time visiting brand new restaurants in Rome, so it’s a real pleasure on occasion to experience the well-oiled wheels of one of the city’s classic dining establishments. Rinaldi Al Quirinale, with its linen tablecloths, impeccable fish counter and much-envied wine cellar is everything you could hope for, while delivering a few charming surprises along the way.
On entering this elegant restaurant, the first thing that catches your eye is the fresh fish counter, crammed with the catch of the day from the Lazio coastlines. Purchased daily at auctions from Gaeta in the south to porto Santo Stefano in the North, this selection inspires the kitchens and varying menu with a mesmerising taste of the sea.
On my visit to Rinaldi Al Quirinale, the opening courses were accompanied by this excellent Blanc de Blancs from Marchese Antinori, ideal with fresh fish.
Rinaldi Al Quirinale’s hallmark is its raw fish and shellfish selection. This superb carousel of oysters, sea urchins, clams and smooth clams is possibly the most luxurious way to open your evening.
If raw crustaceans and fish tartare is more your thing, don’t miss these fabulous mixed plates including raw tuna, sea-bass, langoustine and red prawn – with some fresh avocado to boot.
The second wine for the evening was this extraordinary Afix Riesling, with crisp apple notes and a clean finish.
We tried a selection of cooked fish appetisers, which included, from top left going clockwise: octopus, breaded anchovies, tuna steak, stuffed zucchini flower, baccala and king prawns. Simply delicious.
If you like lobster, there’s an incredible selection here – expect to choose your own.
While the pasta dishes include some classics from Roman cuisine, you should really try the fish pasta courses – unusual and exquisite. These fresh egg tagliolini were served with aromatic sea urchins and sea anemone. A simply divine dish.
We couldn’t miss the second-course menu and this incredible lobster catalana combined freshly cooked lobster meat with crisp raw vegetables and salad. A light and tempting way to close the savoury part of the meal.
Once I found out there were ‘fruitini’ on the menu, I managed to find a little remaining space! These artisan gelato portions are fashioned from fresh fruit and nuts and then packed back into the ‘cases’ supplied by mother nature. Just delicious! We tasted fresh chestnut, walnut, strawberry, mini bananas and prickly pear flavours.
Rinaldi Al Quirinale has a sensational wine cellar. (You can peek inside on your way to the bathrooms). This unique collection includes a 1937 Petrus from the private cellar of Adolf Hitler.
It also has a gobsmacking selection of Chateau Mouton Rothschild wines (practically impossible to source) amongst its 20,000 bottles.
If you’re feeling really flush, you might want to order the only bottle in Italy of Cristal Gold 24 Carat in three litre format. Only 400 of these bottles were produced and this one will set you back around €60,000! Otherwise, plan to close your meal with a top name brandy, cognac or whiskey.
Rinaldi Al Quirinale isn’t a cheap restaurant but the service and the quality is outstanding. Expect to pay upwards of €80 per head for two courses with wine, although you can really splash out if you’re in the mood.
Absolutely sensational and highly recommended!
Rinaldi Al Quirinale | via Parma 11A | 00184 Rome | Tel +390647825171
Testaccina was a guest of Rinaldi Al Quirinale