Barbieri 23 in Rome, Italy: A Chef’s Approach to the Excellence of Ingredients

Barbieri 23 is a kind of place that beckons passersby to get off the cobblestone alley when they pass it. In contrast with ancient road, going through the door unveils a minimalist modern design of handcrafted stone tables and leather chairs, clay walls done predominantly in neutral carbon shade. Old wooden beams on the ceiling give it a whisper of antiquity. With the subdued setting, only the dishes that come out from the kitchen tinge the rooms with vibrant colors. And these colors tell the stories of the gastronomic paths that Chef Patron Giorgio Baldari have trodden on and wish to tell his guests. A compact space of 60 square meters is dedicated to 20 guests at a time.

Barbieri 23 was born from an idea of Giorgio Baldari who wanted to have a place that expresses the excellence of products found in different places.

“From the alpine valleys to the Mediterranean coasts, passing through the rural hinterland and the city districts, I chose the products behind which a story can be told and which are able to satisfy the sins of gluttony of all those who will come to Barbieri 23,” says Giorgio.

Let’s start with the location of Barbieri 23. It is situated behind Teatro Argentina, built in 1741 and considered as one of Rome’s oldest theatres. History and culture borders it being on a street where the University of Barbieri was founded and an aggregation from 1443 that united shops of different specializations. Barbieri 23 is in the right place in which it is also the jewel of Hotel dei Barbieri, the hotel standing right across it.

Giorgio Baldari, the chef.

As a child, Giorgio has always been fascinated with the culinary traditions of his two grandmothers who originated from the opposite ends of Italy, Calabria, the south and Veneto, the north. Following his heart, he attained a diploma in the professional qualification of hotel services with culinary specialization in Rome. Soon after, he attended the culinary specialization school of Etoile in Chioggia where he received another diploma in cooking and creative pastry making. Already a chef at a very young age of 21, he started working in the kitchen of starred chef Antonello Colonna at Certosa di San Giacomo in Capri island. For this he was dubbed as un enfant prodige by one of Italy’s important culinary guides.

A path of more experiences in the kitchens of Italian masters like Gianfranco Vissani and Angelo Paracucchi then to the United States where he followed the openings of several restaurants including Bocca di Rosa, one of the top restaurants in the country. Back to Europe, his profession took him to La Saliere in Montecarlo and Bice in Spain. He has also been doing consultancy projects in the several restaurants and companies like Giovanni Rana and IFA. In addition, he also teaches in Tuchef and Eataly. Most importantly, he is a great supporter of sustainability and origin of the ingredients and dishes, thus being one of the 1,000 chefs of Terra Madre and Chefs of the Alliance of Slow Food.

The best part of the Barbieri 23 experience is the food wherein “the menu”, as explained by Giorgio, is “called Le Vivande, opens with ten selections divided by product excellence. Each platter is a journey through various textures, flavors, stories and anecdotes. Great attention is paid to the choice of raw materials: we use tomatoes without hybridisation, deriving from ancient seeds, vegetables are only organic, preserved fish is all certified up to the license of the vessel.”

The list of suppliers known for their excellency can show the top quality that Giorgio maintains in his restaurant.

The strong point of the gastronomic proposals of Barbieri 23 is Le Selezioni (€5 to €37), a range of similar ingredients together in one platter.

One of the platters is Poseidone (€30), a selection of fish composed of raw Mediterranean seabass with infusion of honey and truffle mustard, yellowfin tuna with yellow tomatoes from Abruzzo, Norwegian salmon with organic apple sauce and elderflower condiment, black amberjack with artichokes and bagna cauda. There is also the Boreale (€35), a selection of salmon from Norway, Scotland and Canada, roe of chum salmon and gravlax, served with French Pampli butter, yogurt sauce and black bread. A very interesting meat platter is the Brenno 390 a.C. (€30) comprised of foie gras with dehydrated apples, duck and foie gras terrine with elderflower, goose speck with blueberries, and Venetian goose salame. The selection of platters with similar ingredients vary from Frumen (€5), a selection of Italian bread to vegetables like the Orto in Dispensa (€16), preserves, fish, and meat.

For the rest of the entries in Le Vivande, the menu, there are pasta dishes at €14, main courses of meat and fish between €18 to €24, fresh salads at €10 and desserts from Pasticceria d’Antoni at €10. Much notable are the Ad Baculum (€22), tender lamb knuckle cooked for hours at low temperature and with potatoes and artichokes, and the Nuvola (€10), a jiggly and soft cheesecake.

The wine list, composed of Italian labels from mostly small and medium producers with an exception of a some champagne, allows different palates to appreciate the proposals of the Barbieri 23. The labels are based on their excellence and the wine producers’ philosophies of viticulture and wine making. There is also an ample selection of artisan beers and liquors.

In the kitchen with Giorgio are Chef Marco Mezzaroma and Sous Chef Valerio Iandolie while in the dining area is Ilaria Baldari as well as Giorgio who divides his time in both areas of the restaurant.

Barbieri 23

Via dei Barbieri, 23
00186 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 68807047 / +39 331 2713786
Open daily from 17:00 to 01:0