After a morning walking tour of the Prati area of Rome, a walk along the west bank of the Tiber, and a quick stroll through Piazza San Pietro at the Vatican, we began to get very hungry on the long trek back toward the train station. Hiking past the epic monument to Vittorio Emanuele, we turned the corner and started the long walk toward Piazza della Repubblica, until we decided to make an abrupt right hand turn just before the recessed 4th century basilica of San Vitale to find some food.
Just one block away from the major artery Via Nazionale, on Via Palermo, we almost walked right past Sa Tanca Crostaceria, if we had not examined the menu a little bit closer and discovered my absolute favorite pasta dish in the whole wide world, Spaghetti alla Bottarga. We had just stumbled upon a gold mine of Sardinian cuisine situated in the heart of Rome, about half-way between the Termini train station and the Colosseum.
Upon entering, it was dark and quiet. Old world decor, and soft fabric walls. A few people in the back room, and the proprietor busy at a desk situated between the two dining rooms. However, we were warmly greeted by an enthusiastic waiter, seated in an intimate alcove, and presented with menus. To our delight and surprise, Sa Tanca features 10€ (antipasto, primo) and 13€ (antipasto, secondo) fixed menu options for lunch, which for us is a first in Rome, land of bad tourist food. They also have an incredible 30€ tasting menu option which we did not choose, however in hindsight it probably would have been one of the top meals of our lives.
My choice was classic Sardinian food porn. Starting with an authentic cold Insalata di Polpo (Octopus), with rucola and olive oil. Amazing. The starter was accompanied with typical pane carasau, Sardinian flatbread, and an excellent Vermentino white wine, again typical of Sardinia. My enthusiastic reaction did not go unnoticed by our attentive server, who seemed genuinely pleased I was expressing so much appreciation for what had so far been the best food experience of mine in Rome, EVER. Next came the main event, a ridiculously generous portion of perfect Spaghetti alla Bottarga. More wine please!
Following our caffè corretto, we began to notice how busy the place was. The front dining room near the entrance was nearly empty when we arrived, but now was filling up fast with Italians and locals for lunch on this Tuesday afternoon about 1:30pm, which is normal. The table next to us had just been delivered a gigantic tower of seafood when were getting ready to head out the door. Our server made sure to let us know that for dinner, the entire experience is “less simple” so judging by our amazing lunch, dining at Sa Tanca Crostaceria in the evening must be a truly grand experience.
When in Rome, seek them out. Call and make a reservation! PashbyMaul Adventures gives them our seal of approval for authenticity in Rome. Sa Tanca Crostaceria – Via Palermo, 57 – For reservations call (+39) 06/486549 or (+39) 346 4187030 – Dedicated English speaking line (+39) 328.9070650 – on the web at http://www.satancacrostaceria.com/
*Disclaimer – PashbyMaul Adventures gives this review without any financial incentive and is a true and accurate reflection of an actual dining experience.