Last week, I wrote about the dos and don’ts of dining out in Rome, which was basically a summation of all that I’d learned during my four short days there in April. Feeling slightly homesick for Italy (is it possible to feel homesick about somewhere that’s not actually home?), this week I bring you a review of a restaurant that recently brought me a little closer to Rome, at least in spirit.
Il Cavallino is in the Rivierenbuurt, which (as anyone who’s looked at my restaurant map can attest) is not a neighbourhood I frequent very often. We’d been to Knijn to go bowling – something that I am truly terrible at, even though I profess to enjoy it and then proceed to have a tantrum every time I lose. So afterwards, I needed a good glass of wine and some I-suck-at-bowling-but-at-least-I-know-how-to-eat comfort food.
We started with a platter of mixed antipasti, which is always my favourite option when out with friends who are willing to food-share. (Some people don’t like sharing food with me, I’ve noticed. Hmmm, I wonder why.) It featured carpaccio, smoked salmon (not something I’d generally associate with antipasti, but fine nonetheless), vitello tonnato, a small caprese salad, various tapenades, and a bunch of bread and tomatoes for a DIY bruschetta. Ok, so it wasn’t oozing with ripe Tyrrhenian sunshine, but it was simple and generous, and the Italian staff were friendly too.
For main, I kept to the simple theme with a pasta dish of crab, fresh tomatoes, parsley, lemon and a great mound of spaghetti. It was thoroughly my kind of pasta, and I’d make it myself if it was a little easier to buy crab meat around here. I wasn’t so keen on the Honey Badger’s spaghetti with red sauce and strips of beef – for me, the meat needed to be more integral to the sauce and less like chewing on a slightly overcooked steak. Dessert was scroppino, which is more or less my default option if I’m not going for cheese. It was delicious, and put all memories of gutterballs firmly behind me.
Ok, so dinner came to €45 each, which is far more than you’d pay in Rome (but I’m not complaining – give me Dutch wages and employment rates over Italian ones any day). Plus the food was “Italian” rather than regional. But it was tasty, the portions were generous, and the atmosphere was gezellig. And when Italian food meets Dutch gezelligheid, everyone’s a winner.Leave a comment...