La Ciambella of Mirka and Francesca

by Iolanda Maggio 06/01/16
926 |
La Ciambella (col buco) di Mirka e Francesca

La Ciambella is a restaurant located on one of the many suggestive streets in Rome, just a stone’s throw from the central Largo di Torre Argentina.

Although ‘Ciambella’ may also translate as ‘doughnut’, the restaurant is named after the street it is on which, in turn, is named after the some 10-meter high, semi-circular ancient Roman ruin that is all that remains of the Baths of Agrippa.

When we entered we were welcomed by the volcanic and charming Mirka Guberti who earned her stripes working first at Divinis in Bologna before coming to Rome to work at Pascucci al Porticciolo in Fiumicino and then at Cristina Bowerman’s Glass Hosteria and La Regola in Piazza San Paolo alla Regola with Marina Perna. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable thanks also to the lovely natural light that filters in through the skylight in the main room. A transparent section of floor allows you to see some of ruins of the baths and you get the impression, as you do in other parts of the city, of walking through history. This is not some tourist trap but a welcoming and versatile bistrot open from morning to night, with the kitchen operational from noon to 11pm.

The kitchen is an open one that allows you to watch the ever-smiling Francesca as she concentrates on doing what she does best. Our meal began with a small welcome starter: small bread buttons with two toppings, one with mortadella and the other with mozzarella, tomato and pesto. Then came some excellent flat pizza bread with olive oil and rosemary to accompany a sampling of succulent eggplant parmigiana and Roman-style tripe with mint that was so good that it even won over someone like me who generally shies away from such plates. The first course offerings not only include classic Roman dishes but also a daily special. We tried the spaghetti with bacon and zucchini flowers, which was disarmingly creamy, and a simple spaghetti with pachino tomatoes and pecorino cheese that made you want to stand up and applaud. I have always admired chefs who ‘dare’ to offer dishes that may seem easy but which are, in fact, a true test of their skill. And in this case, Francesca passed with flying colors because the spaghetti was simply superb. For our second course, we opted for moscardini in guazzetto (small octopus in a thin sauce that is best soaked up with the bread from the Romeo bakery) and quail stuffed with apricot.
And the wine list? Wine is Mirka’s passion and so let her suggest the best wine to pair with your meal and I can assure you her enthusiasm is so contagious it will infect even the most distracted consumer. In fact, even our own Doctor Wine has admitted he now has another wine ‘den’ aside from the better-known Goccetto on Via dei Banchi Vecchi.

We finished with dessert and here again Francesca was at the top of her game. Her crème brulée had a crispy crust and the filling had a perfect thickness and was soft and speckled with fragrant vanilla seeds. The individual-sized chocolate cake with a ball of ice cream was pure comfort food and this is the only restaurant in Rome to offer homemade ice cream from Frigo, Bowerman and Fabio Spada’s famous travelling ice cream trucks.

The winning combination of this restaurant is its simplicity, professionalism and dedication that make it one of those places where you immediately feel at home and time flies. A place to keep coming back to again and again.








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