Just around the corner from the historic Roman theater in Piazza Argentina there is a lovely place… a small authentic trattoria in the heart of the historic center of Rome.
Maybe the use of the Italian word trattoria (a small and genuine restaurant) to call Renato e Luisa is limiting. It is indeed a fine restaurant with a lot of sophisticated dishes and very good fresh ingredients.
From the outside you can recognize Renato and Luisa by hanging lanterns and the fact that most of the glass door is completely covered by reports of guides… Gambero Rosso , Veronelli , Slow Food just to name a some of them.
I went for the first time to Renato e Luisa years and years ago with my first boyfriend… and I believe it was for an anniversary. I remember that the place seemed very cozy and perfect for a dinner for two, and we had an amazing dinner .
Nico and I wanted to go back … also to see if it was still as good as we remembered it. Furthermore Renato e Luisa is suggested as one of the top ten favorite restaurants in a great Roman guide: the Mangelo. And then it was easy to do it: last night, after a movie, we had a walk and we reached the place. Yes, because in addition to being a great restaurant, Renato e Luisa, a rare thing in the panorama of Rome, also allows you to eat around midnight, welcoming the audience of the near Argentina theatre .
The same feeling that we had the first time: the decor was classic: white walls with wooden shelves full of goblets and wine glasses, wooden tables with tablecloths and very kind service provided by young boys dressed in black, fast and really, really nice .
In the kitchen, as always, there is Renato, a son of a well-known butcher of Testaccio – as a child he used to eat inVecchio Felice, a true institution in Rome , where he learned by himself to cook and with a great talent also accumulated a rich experience, having a young staff supporting him (if you see him inside the kitchen, you often will see him looking for new dishes on computer and always trying new recipes ). We met one of the cooks outside the restaurant , and she told us with her eyes that sparkled how good (although hard) it was to work there with Renato, who still chooses and invents all dishes , and looks for fresh products that he takes in the morning from the market, or fish from Fiumicino .
We started ordering from classic menu which has dishes from the Roman tradition, such as cacao e pepe (cheese and pepper), but revised with great skills. Many years have passed since my last time there, but I remember having taken the fettuccine with tomatoes and buffalo ricotta … a simple dish but executed to perfection and with a bit of imagination. I confess that I wanted to order it again, after many years , and enjoy it again. But I was also there to Italian restaurantant recipes so we chose all new things…
For starter, because Nico’s love for zucchini flowers, we chose that dish stuffed with ricotta cheese and gratin, served with a salad and pine nuts. I can only say that if there had been more of them, we would have eaten hundreds…
On the classic menu you will always find Tonnarelli cheese pepper and zucchini flowers, the thread with port and prunes , in addition to the classic dishes of Roman cuisine, such Coda alla vaccinara (oxtail) and Matriciana, dish that endorses Renato as one of the best chef for roman dishes in Rome!
But the menu that will come to your table is only a small part of what can offer Renato e Luisa, are in fact the dishes off the menu which changes every two-three days to make a difference and show how the kitchen of this restaurant is imaginative: white lasagna artichoke and zucchini, pasta with sardines , carpaccio, salmon and tuna patties on a bed of mashed potatoes, tuna crusted with hazelnuts, braised stuffed with ricotta cheese , sea bass with tomato sauce and fresh basil served with red lentils and artichokes, plums rags with , basil and nuts. Just to give you an idea.
Flavours always balanced, fresh ingredients and a bit of imagination that distinguishes Renato e Luisa by the many restaurants in the center of Rome.
We should say that we the Tiramisu its getting worst. Some time ago was one of the best in Rome. Last night, however, the result was disappointing , too much chocolate powder, to much cocoa topping too , too much coffee. Try to avoid it!
Remain the classic chocolate cake and creme brulee spectacular (with the caramel imploded!)
Renato e Luisa is confirmed as one of the best restaurants in the center of Rome, a very safe place that no one ever leaves disappointed.
P.S. for fans occasionally on Mondays organize real cooking classes… I hope to go there soon !
Renato e Luisa
PARKING: not easy!
PRICE: 40 EUR
Closing day: Monday
ADDRESS: Via dei Barbieri 25 – Rome
SITE : http://www.renatoeluisa.it/
POSITIVE: friendly atmosphere, friendly service, Renato e Luisa, kitchen solid but with some innovative dishes, all excellent (antipasti, pasta, meat and fish and desserts )
NEGATIVE: we always regret spending 8 Euros for a sweet , tiramisu getting worse
FLAT DO NOT MISS: Matriciana, creme brulee , pumpkin flowers