It is easy to become distracted while entering Alfredo alla Scrofa for the first time. The black and white photos of Hollywood legends begin outside its doors, and fill the walls of its three classically appointed dining rooms. Framed photos of Joan Crawford, Marcello Mastrianni, and Marilyn Monroe turn the eye and imagination to the glamour that was midcentury Rome.
At the table one inevitably looks around the room. After all, when one is seated across from an image of Audrey Hepburn it is somewhat difficult to look elsewhere. Opening the menu the story begins. How in 1914 Alfredo’s opened as part of a small inn, and through a combination of pasta and magic rose to popularity and international fame. The pasta was the original Fettuccine Alfredo, and the magic came through its theater-inspired presentation.
It is an impressive performance, a single waiter deftly blending pasta before a set of clean white plates. Yet it is not the presentation itself that turns the attention from Alfredo’s past, back to the present. It is the warm distinctly savory aroma of aged Parmigiano Reggiano, filling the dining room. Heads turn. Eyes widen. Smiles appear. Moments later one’s attention is focused—with apologies to Ms. Hepburn—solely on a soon-to-be-empty plate.
Alfredo’s new menu keeps that attention focused on the summer of 2019.
The seasonal green beans and zucchini in the antipasto (€13 – €18) are tributes to summer. First courses and pasta and risotto (€13 – €20) run from a light Risotto with Calamari Ragù (Risotto al ragù di calamari e formaggio di fossa) to a fresh Summer Vegetable and Organic Pearl Barley Soup (Zuppa di verdure con orzo perlato biologico). Second courses ((€16 – €28) range from Rabbit Cacciatore with Black Olives and Roman Lettuce (Coniglio alla cacciatora con olive nere e lattuga romana) and the particularly Roman-Style Baccala with Pine Nuts, Capers, Raisins, Black Olives and Tomato Sauce (Baccalà alla romana con capperi, pinoli, uvetta, olive nere e pomodoro).
All of which is complimented by a wine list that is impressive not only in its quality, but in the clarity with which its broad selection of Italian regional wines are presented.
By the time one reached an almost weightlessly delicate Vanilla Semifreddo with Grand Marnier and Caramel (Semifreddo alla vaniglia con Grand Marnier e granella di caramello) the history of Alfredo’s has receded into an elegant backdrop. It comes forward again on the way out. Weaving towards the exit—and a happily slow stroll home—the first time visitor passes by the famous faces who have flocked to Alfredo’s tables for over a century.
Only now, one understands why.
TEXT: Knoefel (@servizio_universo)
PHOTOS: @servizio_universo | Rowena Dumlao – Giardina | Passion Fruit Hub
Ristorante Alfredo alla Scrofa
Via della Scrofa 104
00186 Rome (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 06 68806163
Open daily for lunch and dinner