Restaurant Review: La Madre Ristorante

Pizza from a restaurant in Rome. Photo by Elsa Feltl.

Mensa at the Rome campus has its good reputation for many reasons: delicious home cooking, friendly staff, and it’s the best place to spend time with your Rome class. But as all Romers fondly remember, the Mensa has a few downsides. The most obvious is that the menu consists of essentially the same thing every day and is only open for three one-hour periods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After about two weeks, you’ll most likely get bored of pasta and crave something different.

Fortunately, Rome has more than a few restaurants that serve a variety of dishes, Italian and otherwise, and these are great places to try many authentic and delicious Italian dishes.

One of these restaurants is conveniently located near campus. La Madre Ristorante is an Italian restaurant that is about a twenty minute walk from Due Santi. This restaurant was the first my friends and I visited in Rome, and it has many qualities that make this place a great way to kick off your culinary journey in Rome.

It’s within walking distance of campus, which means you don’t have to pay extra to use the public transit system to get there. You just keep walking past UD’s favorite Top grocery store and you’ll get there in about 15 minutes.

The restaurant itself looks like what one would imagine a fine restaurant to be – it is well lit, has professional staff, and is decorated in a way that makes the space feel formal yet intimate and relaxing.

And, most importantly, you get a lot of good food for a very cheap price. Money is always a concern among students in Rome, especially in the early stages when everyone is heading to where food and souvenirs are the cheapest. My friends and I each had three meals – a starter, main and dessert, plus drinks – for around fifteen to twenty euros. To put that into perspective, that’s the price of a good bottle of wine alone at other restaurants in town.

If you want to dive straight into the culinary experience of Italy without breaking the bank, this restaurant is a great place to start.

The staff were also very friendly, especially in explaining the menu if we didn’t understand what something meant in Italian. There was also a nice variety of food – Italian classics like pizza, pasta and calzones, but there were also several seafood dishes that I might try at some point.

I ordered what is called a quattro formaggi pizza which, as the name suggests, uses four different cheeses to make the pizza. I can’t recommend it enough. It was a perfect balance between being packed with flavor but also not being overdone or too rich. Other orders of the night also included the ham and cheese calzone, which was thoroughly enjoyable – crispy without being overdone.

Although the walk might be a bit long, we all agreed that the distance was well worth the experience. A full meal for less than 20 euros without having to use public transport is a winning combo for any student.

As the semester wears on, money and fatigue keep most from going out on the town for foodie excursions. Having a solid place close to home will be essential for anyone who really wants to make the most of the semester in Rome.

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