Roman at Heart

The food, service and intimate setting at Café Trastevere all bring Old World Italy to mind.



Restaurant owner Joaquim Dos Santos (above) is also an attentive yet unobtrusive server.

Photo By Norma Lopez Molina

When in Rome, they say, do as the Romans do. What Romans do, mostly, is walk.

Intrepid visitors to the city can follow their Italian compatriots over a pair of small stone bridges that span the Tiber River. This is where couples sign their names to small metal locks, attach them to spaces in the bridge railings and throw the keys into the river to signify their unbreakable love before venturing into the artistic bohemian part of Rome called Trastevere, or “over the Tiber.”

It’s this Italian version of Paris’ Left Bank that Café Trastevere (trass-TEH-veh-ray) references in its name. The café has an Old World feeling in its stuccoed two-story building that used to be a private home, and service and food are very Roman; attentive yet unobtrusive servers (including owner Joaquim Dos Santos, who brings a languorous Brazilian flair to the evening) presenting classic, uncomplicated dishes prepared by chef Philippe Meiffret. It’s best to order a glass of wine and sip while you wait for dinner: quick delivery is not the Roman way.

Seafood is a focus, particularly shellfish. Cozze Santa Lucia ($9.95) marries plump black mussels with a well-balanced white wine and garlic sauce. I would have enjoyed sopping up the sauce with bread, but it was far too salty for dipping. A better combination was the linguine alle vongole ($16.95), perfectly cooked al dente pasta that soaked up the garlic, olive oil and parsley-accented brine of an abundance of fresh clams.

An appetizer of calamari fritti ($9.95) paired breaded and fried squid with a long-simmered marinara sauce for a pleasant combination of toothy and savory. Ask for lemon; calamari is always better with a little acid.

Having been in Italy just a few months ago, I can tell you that the café’s pollo piccata ($15.95) is a highlight, on a par with food from the best family-owned trattorie in Rome. The very large chicken breast, flattened and sautéed in white wine, lemon and capers until the rich and tart sauce is creamy and the cutlet is browned from the pan, is a real delight.

Seating is in the intimate main room downstairs (notorious for eavesdropping) and a larger space upstairs; if weather permits, you can also sit outside in the tiled courtyard.

Go with someone you love. There might even be a place somewhere to put a lock.

Café Trastevere
ADDRESS 825 N. Magnolia Ave., Orlando
PHONE 407-839-0235
WEB cafetrastevere.com
ENTREES $14–$28

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

 

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

2014 Finest Doctors

Two national surveys name the Best and Top Doctors in Orlando, as recommended by their peers.

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2014

More than 75 Central Florida chiropractors make our inaugural list.

Fall Getaways

Fall is finally on its way and now is the perfect time to plan your getaway. Check out some of these great deals and special destinations just a short drive from Orlando.

Real Estate's Hot 100

Whether you’re trying to buy or sell real estate, getting the best deal means finding an agent who possesses savvy and know-how and gets results. This list showcases some Central Florida agents who have demonstrated those skills.

Spotlight on Plastic Surgeons 2014

This special advertising section highlights the accomplishments of plastic surgeons, who tell about their commitment to helping people look their best.

Orlando's Best Lawyers of 2014

Get informed with our annual list of more than 400 Orlando-area attorneys, compiled by Best Lawyers in America. The annual selection features lawyers in 78 areas of practice.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Fall Maintenance

Now is the best time to get outside and take care of a few must-dos in the yard and around the house.

Where To Eat Thanksgiving Dinner in Orlando

Several of the top restaurants and resorts in town are offering an amazing Thanksgiving spread—and you don't even have to do the dishes.

Coastal Excursions

Five Space-Coast spots you should check out.

Handmade Home: Tabletop Entertaining

Delight your holiday dinner guests with these uniquely elegant tabletop items.