Ristorante Da Tonino

5 Jul

Clicca qui per l’Italiano

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Oh for the love, people! Where the heck have I been? Living under a rock?

Honestly, cannot for the life of me figure out how it is possible that in seven years in Rome, I’d never eaten here, never had any contact at all with “Little Tony’s Restaurant.” I am shocked. Stunned. Ashamed.

Reason being, apparently I’m the only one who didn’t really catch on to one of the worst-kept secrets in down-home Roman trattoria cooking. By that I mean, really authentic and simple dishes, decent prices, no-frills service, and a kind of homey, Italian kitchen type of atmosphere. I am in love.

So today I was thinking about what to do for lunch and I had walked by this place yesterday. The whole no-sign thing is so seductive to me. It’s like, if you need to ask, you shouldn’t bother coming in.

On a semi-tangent, I am not one of those people who shuns dining alone. In fact, I truly enjoy it. Maybe not so much in the States. But here in Italy, the experience of kind of just falling in to a little corner trattoria with paper table cloths and a bunch of locals with their heads bent over tantalizing plates of pasta? Are you kidding me? Forget reading a book to make yourself feel less alone. No. I savor every moment of my own little table in a place like that, just people watching and soaking up the energy of the place. Something that will never be had in any kind of chain restaurant, EVER.

Oh, and by the way? Don’t think for one second that dining alone means you have to forgo your wine. Oh no, my friends! You just ask if they have a “quartino,” which is a little 1/4 liter, the equivalent of about a glass and a half. As in:

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So here’s to you, Little Tony! Who, BTW, was in residence, dapper and relaxed in his jeans and button-down shirt, here and there helping his waiters and clearing tables and managing the show in a really laid-back but totally efficient way. Speaking of efficient, let me not forget to mention that my food arrived like 5 minutes after I ordered. This is the great thing about trattoria dining. I ordered veal and potatoes. Most of the plates are made in smaller portions so that once they run out, they run out for that day’s lunch. So it’s pretty much ready to go when you order. The pasta is cooked on the spot but the sauces are in portions that are limited generally as well. So everything is all fresh and fabulous.

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Super cute side note: a father and his two kiddos were sitting at a table next to mine. They were Italian but from out of town, and the dad was so enthusiastic about Roman food. He picked up the roll you see in my picture above which is the house bread and said to his kids, “See, guys? This is a very special Roman kind of bread. It’s called a rosetta.” I was so proud of him for teaching his kids about Roman food culture. High five, papà!

I am so going back to this place. I want to be a regular and be like, “Hey, Little Tony! More vino bianco, fratello!”

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Shelley to waiter: “What does minus 23 mean? Does that mean 23 days til vacation?”
Waiter, smiling: “Sì!”

Yes. This means I am officially Romanized.

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Da Tonino
Via del Governo Vecchio 18

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E per l’amor di Dio, ragà! ‘N do’ ca….cioè dove stavo vivendo io per i 7 anni che ho vissuto a Roma? Sotto un sasso?

Onestamente non riesco a capire per niente come mai sono riuscita a vivere a Roma per sette anni e non beccare Tonino. Mai mangiato, mai entrata, mai nessun tipo di contatto con il nostro Little Tony. Sono scioccata! Stravolta! Vergognata!

Il motivo per tutta questa mia emotivita? Bè…pare che io sia l’unica che non sapevo di uno dei segreti meno tenuti della città per quanto riguarda il mondo trattoria-istico. (Posso inventarvi delle parole? Non vi dà fastidio, vero?) E quando dico trattoria-istico, sto parlando ovviamente di piatti autentici e semplici, prezzi contenuti, servizio efficiente, tutto arrotolato in un’ambiente calda e accogliente come la cucina di tua nonna, se lei non ti strillava di non stare in cucina e se non ti sforzava a pena di morte di mangiare ancora un po’ e non fare complimenti. In termini più semplici, possiamo dire che sono di nuovo innamorata.

Quindi. Oggi. Stavo pensando se, per nutrirmi nei 30 minuti massimi che avevo progettato per mangiare durante le dure ore lavorative, dovevo prendere un po’ di triste pizza al taglio, o magari un panino qualunque da un bar qualsiasi. Scelta difficile. Ma poi sono passata di nuovo davanti a Little Tony’s. Tonino-senza-insegna. Audace, Tonino, proprio audacissimo sei tu, lo sai? Ti ammiro per questo. La mia curiosità non sa resistere una tentazione del genere. La mia tavola mi ha praticamente chiamato per nome dalla porta. “Shelley! Vieni! E daje, su!” E così è andato. (Se non credi che le tavole mi parlano, chiaramente non hai mai avuto un’esperienza gastronomica all’altezza.) Seducente, comunque, ‘sta roba di nessun insegna. Tipo il buttafuori con la lista di gente speciale. Se devi chiedere, non stai sulla lista.

Poi possiamo chiarire una cosa? Io non sono una persona che tema mangiare da sola. No. Anzi, quanto mi godo quando posso avere la mia tavolina, quell’esperienza di cadere dentro questo rifugio di tovaglie di carta e gente del luogo, tutte le persone con le loro teste piegate in giù, concentrate sopra piatti di pasta che stanno pregando la scarpetta. Stiamo scherzando? Lasciamo perdere quella roba da vigliacchi del tipo portarsi un libro da leggere per non sentirsi soli ed imbarazzati per il semplice fatto di non avere qualcun’altro a tavola. Detto da me, poi, la ragazza che porta sempre un libro appresso, proprio per carattere. Qui vi dico—vi prego—in una situazione del genere: no. NO! Resistete! Io mi godo ogni secondo in un posto così, guardando la vita intorno a me, come una pila scarica che si risveglia con tutta quell’energia unica generata solo lì dentro. Provate ad avere un’esperienza così in un ristorante a catena. Vi dico io quante volte vi può capitare. Aspettate, contiamo insieme:

Mai, e poi mai.

E un’altra cosa: non pensate nemmeno per un attimo che una che mangia da sola deve rinunciare al vino. Ragazzi. Cari, cari ragazzi. Ma vi siete dimenticati del quartino? Io no.

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Quindi, a Tonino, facciamo un bel cin-cin! Tonino che poi stava lì, eh! Mica un nome a caso, questo “Da Tonino.” Per carità! No, signori. Tonino c’era, sparecchiando, portando i conti, consigliando i piatti tipici ai turisti, sia quelli italiani che quelli stranieri. Efficiente per dire il minimo. Così tanto che, il mio piatto di vitello e patate (emmbbè sono una buona forchetta, che volete?) è arrivato non più di 5 minuti dopo che ho ordinato. La tradizione della trattoria ha il suo perchè.

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Momento super carino della giornata: un padre italiano, turista, con i suoi due figli fra i 7-9 anni, spiegando a loro cos’è una rosetta. “Vedete, ragazzi? Questo è un pane speciale romano. Si chiama rosetta. Mmmmm…sentite quant’è buono???” Una persona che ha l’affetto per la cultura romana in qualsiasi sua forma merita tutto il mio rispetto. Dammi cinque, papà!

Morale della favola? Torno. Voglio essere tipo una cliente abituale, in modo da dire, “Ahò! ‘A Tonì! Ancora un po’ di vinello per piacè!” O insomma, qualcosa del genere. Voi mi capite.

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Shelley al cameriere: “Che vuol dire meno ventitre? I giorni fino alle ferie?”
Cameriere, sorridendo: “Sì!”

E certo che sì. Vuol dire invece che io sono diventata veramente romanizzata. E allora brindiamo ancora. Quartini per tutti!

Da Tonino
Via del Governo Vecchio 18

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19 Responses to “Ristorante Da Tonino”

  1. anna l'americana July 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Ha…io ho visto la rosetta e poi non ho visto più niente….ah, rosetta, amor mio…..

  2. Eleonora July 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    I already said we have to go back there together! The food looks delicious.

    And, on a funny note, I asked myself about the “-23” too, but I didn’t came out with the right answer.

    So, you know, you can be born here and live here all your life, but this doesn’t make you a “real” roman! (No surprise I’m desperately trying to expat…)
    Shelley, YOU are the real one!

  3. Too Tall To Be Tuscan July 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Ma che bello! Anch’io ho mangiato da sola oggi in una trattoria qua a Siena… Una bell’esperienza, davvero. 🙂

  4. patti kay July 6, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    Well, reading this certainly reminded me of a similar hidden gem in bella Napoli: Enoteca da Tonino. We stumbled across this one night when the $$$$ fish ristorante Da Dora was complete and we asked a flower vendor if there was a good place to eat nearby. He pointed us back up the block, and we have been hitting it hard ever since.
    Basically, you take the Metro from wherever to Piazza Amadeo, then get off and head straight out of the subway, hug the left side of the piazza then cross the street and go down the steps past all these framing and refinishing shops and hang the first left. Follow it and you will soon come to Tonino’s place; get there by 1230 to secure a table for lunch, though, or you’ll be standing outside with the other unfortunates!
    This is the type of place where locals call in orders and the helper runs out the door with foil-wrapped packets of pasta with shrimp and zucchinni and involtino di carne in a great red sauce. The menu is hand-written then photo-copied, growing more and more limp and fragrant as the hours pass. Food comes out of a little window in the back, and the bathroom is phone-booth small. There is a great house red, similarly ordered by the quarter or half liter, and lots of bottle options, right off the shelves. No offense to any Rome aficionados, but the bread here is that nice chewy Neapolitan stuff, pretty much almost the best bread in the world. We’ve taken quite a few friends there, and no one has ever left disappointed; several would not onisder a visit to Naples complete without a lunch with Tonino.

  5. Un'americana a Roma July 6, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Wouldn’t be fresh with FedEx. Otherwise, you know, I’d pop one in the mail for you. I wonder how hard they are to make at home? Impossible, right? When are you ever coming back to visit?

  6. Un'americana a Roma July 6, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Ha! Isn’t that the weirdest thing? Type-A (ie, anal) American girl becomes romana godereccia. Awesome. And, of course we are going back here together!
    PS E’ piu’ che ovvio che tu farai la stessa fine di me in quel altro paese… noi possiamo nascere in qualsiasi posto ma trovarsi a casa e’ tutta un’altra storia… ci cappiamo. Baci bellissima anima gemella mia!

  7. Un'americana a Roma July 6, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Brava! Mangiare da sola e’ una cosa fondamentale delle volte, specialmente qui in Italia dove fai parte dello spettacolo quotidiano.

  8. Un'americana a Roma July 6, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I love it! This is such a good insider tip! I don’t know when I’ll get back to Naples. I had a wonderful day trip adventure there a few years back, around Christmastime. I felt like I had left Italy. Such a unique city. Forget all the whatnot that people talk about. The heart of Naples is as unique and special as that of Rome, each with it’s own character. You should do a Naples blog!!

  9. LC July 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Seductive is the word…. the lunch looked DE licious, and I couldn’t agree with you more about dining alone in Italy, but it does depend on where you go – small, local and homely is usually a great choice but go swankier and the looks usually increase…

    I am based in Venice and the UK but you make me want to jump south on a train and visit Rome very soon!

    Ciao,
    LC

  10. Un'americana a Roma July 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    Totally agreed on the swanky places as far as dining alone goes. At Tonino’s there were two other people who were by themselves at a table. So I guess it would make more sense at lunch, people grabbing a bite during work hours. Good point! Still though… everyone deserves to treat themselves whether they are by themselves or not!! You should visit Rome for sure!

  11. ellen July 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    i’m definitely going to have to try this place =]

    ok. i have a question. it’s completely irrelevant to this blog post, but it’s the only place i can think of to ask.
    I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, and the final installment of the film is coming out next week (so so so so so excited). however, i have not been able to find a theater where it will be shown in english. do you know where i could go and see hp2 at midnight on the 13th?

  12. Un'americana a Roma July 6, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    Good question my dear Ellen, and I don’t know the answer, but, I can give you a couple links.
    Check this one closer to the date and do a ctrl+F for “lingua originale” http://trovacinema.repubblica.it/programmazione-cinema/comune/roma/rm/cinema
    Or check this link http://rome.angloinfo.com/information/movies.asp
    Maybe keep an eye on wantedinrome.com as well, they generally have updated info. about goings on.
    Good luck!

  13. nyc/caribbean ragazza July 7, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    I LOVE that restaurant. I had no idea what the name was. I went there for the first earlier this year with Giampiero.

    I agree with you about the food and the atmosphere. We’ll have to meet there for lunch one day.

  14. Linda @ Ice Tea For Me July 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    I love hearing about these little hole-in-the-wall places that are just marvelous. I’ve added it to my list of places to eat at when I’m in Rome next year.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Subway all’italiana « - September 1, 2011

    […] seems really blasphemous to those of you who don’t have the luxury I do of opting between excellent homemade Roman cuisine and .. ahem … Subway. Fine, I get it. I do! But frankly… there are times when a girl […]

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