Passpartout, master key in English, is located on the ground floor of a 16th century building that underwent several modifications over the centuries.
Presently, it is still going through a renovation for the construction of a hotel with 14 rooms and a terrace that gives a view of the St. Peter’s Basilica and Roman terracotta tiled rooftops. The building is positioned in the heart of Borgo Pio, a stone’s throw away from the Vatican City and the Passetto, an elevated passage that links the Vatican to Castel Sant’Angelo that served as an escape route of the popes when they were in danger.
With an inconspicuous entrance, Passpartout gives surprises once you step inside the door.
First, look up at the wooden ceiling because it is still the original one from the 16th century. Starting with the small entrance with a large counter and small tables projected for breakfasts and cocktails, the floor plan leads you through a maze of dining rooms as you pass through the side of the open kitchen. You arrive to the first dining room with a wall of wine labels then to the left is another dining room that leads again to another dining room. Leading through the door of the last room is an unexpected courtyard garden filled with tables and umbrellas. Surrounded by old buildings characteristic of the area, it’s one of the best secret quiet places in the busy roads of Rome. But it doesn’t end there because from the second entrance of the building, a long corridor leads to another inner courtyard in a smaller scale.
Leading through the door of the last room is an unexpected courtyard garden filled with tables and umbrellas.
Passpartout is a restaurant (with a hotel in the future) is owned by the Marchesini family, who has three generations of experience as restaurateurs who has led their lives in their dedication to the catering and hospitality business. Led by Venerina which was passed on to her sons Domenico and Nicola and finally to the hands of her grandchildren.
There are two kinds of menus available, one for lunch and one dinner.
During the day, quick and easy proposals are prepared like burgers (€12 to €16), variations of egg dishes (€8) and salads (€9 to €11) while the dinner menu offers more dishes from appetizers to desserts. Bonded with tradition, Passpartout proposes dishes represented by classic Roman pasta (€10), variety of pasta dishes (€12 to €14) and wooden platters of salumi and cheese (€14 for two persons to €27 for four persons).
The strength of the kitchen comes from the meat and fish dishes (€15 to €18) that are grilled in the Josper, a hybrid of an indoor barbecue grill and oven that produces excellent results. A tasting menu called Spezzafame is available which are small dishes (€3 to €4) that can be ordered in the mid-morning or during aperitif. Do try the Ravioli filled with ricotta and lemon and served with cherry tomato confit and thyme (€12) and experience for yourself the delicate merging of fresh flavors of the ingredients.
The strength of the kitchen comes from the meat and fish dishes (€15 to €18) that are grilled in the Josper.
Borgo Pio, 50
00193 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 6813 4491
Open daily from 11:00 to 01:00