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Five Things: Trattoria Roma, Providence

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


rattoria inerior

Trattoria style with a touch of kitsch

Sean DeBobes got word that Trattoria Roma, one of Atwells Avenue's market-style eateries, had expanded its menu to a full dinner service. A fan of the grab and go, he decided to go... and grab a table. Here are the five things he wants you to know.

One. Exit through the gift shop.

Roma certainly has a way of putting you in a dining mood. To get to the dining room you must first walk through the Italian market. You'll see every manner of cheese and cured meat on tempting display. Particularly genius perhaps, Roma walks guests past an amply stocked dessert case. Talk about setting the stage on the way in, and tempting a shopper on the way out. If the grocery section doesn’t do it for you just keep in mind that you are dining just a level below Via Roma, weekly home to the immensely entertaining show by the Edwards twins.

Two. Bring… everyone.

The price points at Trattoria Roma are almost criminal. I am convinced you can feed a family of four here for cheaper than any TGI-bees-whatever that may lure you in.  Trattoria Roma promises affordable Old World cuisine in a

Hearty and very fresh calzones are practically enough for a meal for two

relaxing atmosphere, and that is exactly what they provide. At times the tchotchke factor in the dining room may compete with the cuisine a bit… but sometimes that is exactly what you are looking for. Have a glass of red and enjoy the ride.

Three. Rabe crostini.

I started off my dinner with an interesting appetizer that I cannot recall seeing on any other area menus. Imported smoked pancetta was sautéed with broccoli rabe and garlic before topping a slice of grilled bread. A little pecorino added poise to the bitter notes of the rabe, leaving a well-balanced, tantalizing appetizer.

Four. Tender.

I really enjoyed the vitello saltimbocca alla Roma. Wonderfully tender, thin pieces of veal were topped with prosciutto and mozzarella cheese. The real character in this dish comes from the addition of fresh sage and a Marsala wine

Great sauce but oversized shellfish

sauce.  The subtlely of the sweet marsala sauce made for a truly assured preparation.

Five. Not so tender.

The evening was not without a fault. The spaghetti with clam sauce left some things to be desired… specifically the clams. They were too big. The menu called for native littlenecks. The clams I received were immense and unfortunately very tough. I will note that the garlic sauce was delicious but the texture put this dish out the running for me. 

Would I go back? Yes. Trattoria is an unbelievable quality for the value.

Hit “Save” Trattoria Roma, 310 Atwells Ave, Providence. 331-5000  Tues-Thurs 5pm-10pm, Fri/Sat – 11pm.


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