StileLibero RistoArt is a restaurant and bar which could be defined as a true passion project.
While dining is the headline event, this eatery was conceived to also be a music bar, with a fantastic cellar space, as well as a showcase for local fashion designers, displaying bags and accessories as part of the furnishings.
The result is an eclectic mix of interior decor, good food and pleasing music, generating a bohemian and creative vibe. Interiors designed by Tommaso Guerra create two very diverse spaces upstairs and downstairs.
The ground floor, with a window onto a gorgeous open kitchen painted in tones of mistletoe and sage, has about 30 places for couples and small groups. The glass topped tables act as display cases for local handmade jewellery. By the time you’ve finished your first course, get ready to impulse buy.
The cellar bar and dining area is a masterpiece of earthy tones dressed with Venetian mirrors and warmed by exposed brickwork, with room for about 40 guests. A single, black lacquered piano at one end is the focalpoint for the evening’s live music, mostly jazz and popular classics. The acoustics are excellent and don’t bother diners who prefer to chat. At the other end, a well -equipped cocktail bar sets out its stall, offering a few house recipes as well as catering to traditional taste.
The project’s executive chef is TV cook Max Mariola, from Gambero Rosso Channel, who has created a menu focusing on extremely high quality, seasonal ingredients. Fish is a particular stand-out ingredient, sourced responsibly.
My dining companion and I started with a sensational raw red prawn and foie gras antipasto, dressed with pomegranate seeds (€18). These exceptional flavours and textures were surprisingly well balanced. The Piedmont beef tartare bound with quail’s egg also caught my eye (€18). Charcuterie platters are also in this section of the menu, including local meats as well as a superb Iberian cured ham.
We followed this with a delicate and light pasta dish, fresh egg tagliatelli in with delicately seared garden vegetables, infused with juniper (€14). Other first courses, at least during the winter, include pumpkin ravioli and maltagliati with red mullet and pumpkin (€16).
The second course menu is a tantalising mix of fish, meat and vegetarian options. I nearly plumped for the egg and parmesan cream sauce on flat bread with black truffle (€16), but in the end chose this exceptional slow-cooked cut of beef with rosemary potatoes (€20). There was also a lamb hamburger with mint (€18).
My dining companion opted for fish, a seared fillet of Scottish salmon with guacamole sauce and fish eggs (€20).
The dessert menu ranges from classics such as cheesecake with orange sauce to pear and cinnamon tart. I tried the crispy profiteroles with chantilly cream and a drizzle of dark chocolate (€6). Excellent for sharing as well (if you’re feeling generous).
The wine list is excellent, so don’t hesitate to check in with the sommelier if you want some advice.
The restaurant is open in the evenings, and also for Sunday lunch, making it great for catching up with a group of friends or gathering together the family. With further music, fashion and creative collaborations planned, it’s definitely one to watch.
Via Fabio Massimo, 68/70
Testaccina was a guest of StileLibero RistoArte