Leafing through the poetic prose of L’Arcangelo’s menu is educational. But it’s not all verbal reverie: Chef Arcangelo Dandini’s beautifully described dishes are inspired by ancient Roman recipes, Renaissance preparations, and local cucina povera, 19th century local cookery art.
This famed restaurant in the Prati business district is loved by gourmands, and considered among Rome’s finest. Chef Dandini cooks some of the best pedigreed ‘cucina romana’ in town, and names his classic dishes with creative titles, like “Glancing towards the Portico of Octavia” for Roman Jewish specialties, and “Arcangelo’s Inferno,” to define a spicy game dish. “Journey to Rocca Priora” antipasto sampler of typical Lazio specialties depicts his home town. I’m particularly fond of “Tormento Aromatico in Quattro Passaggi,” a menu composed of four aromatic dishes.
His carbonara, “cacio e unto” (the original name for Gricia) and the stewed oxtail are truly amazing. I love the fried eel, or the herring, sweetbreads and spongecake appetizer. The gnocchi alla matriciana (served only on Thursdays) are universally known as the best in Rome, and should absolutely not be missed.
Wise palates also flock here for the handsome slabs of foie gras served on Plasmon biscuits (the type fed in milk to Italian infants) and crumbled candy; or the mackerel served on potato cream; and the quintessential offal queen: tripe, cooked in tomato sauce with mint and dusted with pecorino cheese.
As far as desserts go, the citrus custard bigné and the bizarre yet incredibly tasty liquid white chocolate with capers, candied ginger and olive oil, definitely win first place.