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Rome's Ristorante L'Archeologia

Home > Rome > Dinner | Food and Wine | Lunch | Restaurants | Romantic
by Damsel Martin (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer, blogger and animal wrangler living in Brisbane's western suburbs. Many of my stories offer great giveaways to readers - subscribe to hear about them first.
Published October 15th 2015
You'll come for the cuisine and stay for the culture
tagliatelle l'archeologia italy rome anchovies fennel zucchini flowers restaurant
Giuseppe Cocco tagliatelle with fresh anchovies, wild fennel and zucchini flowers. Author image.

With its fertile hills rolling down to the Tyrrhenian Sea and an economy underpinned by agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery, there are few better places to eat than the central Italian region of Lazio. Intensely flavoured local cheeses, freshly baked bread, a bounty of fresh produce such as artichokes, eggplants and tender green beans, as well as delicacies from the sea such as squid, clams and anchovies, mean you will never go hungry, whether you're holed up in capital city Rome, or a remote hillside holiday farm.

l'archeologia restaurant rome italy entrance sign
For lovers of cuisine and culture. Author image.

While exploring the ancient Via Appia Antica (Appian Way), Rome's fabled cobblestone highway, we took time out to lunch at the renowned L'Archeologia, which aims to meld the Lazio region's antique gastronomical culture with contemporary food trends. This sprawling oasis of a restaurant, which provides both indoor and a la carte seating (the latter in a leafy courtyard) occupies the site of a former horse-and-rider post office which transported goods from the Mediterranean to Rome in the 17th century. If that weren't enough to boost its historical cred, there's even an on-site mausoleum (tomb) dating back to the 2nd century, and a hypogeum (underground) grave that now functions as a wine cellar.

buffalo mozzarella bread olive oil antipasto l'archeologia rome italy
Delicious buffalo mozzarella drenched in olive oil. Author image.

But as for the food ... it would be no exaggeration to say that L'Archeologia provided me with one of the most memorable meals of a one-month tour of Europe. We began with antipasto in the form of a selection of prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella and bread, though other hor d'oeuvres options include smashed tomatoes with grilled octopus and green beans, or raw fish and shellfish from the fishing nets of Civitavecchia, flavored with Sabina oil and lemons from Amalfi.

l'archeologia restaurant rome italy smoked gnocchi squid clam seafood
Smoked gnocchi with squid and clams. Author image.

Primo (first courses) include tagliatelle tossed with anchovies, wild fennel and zucchini flowers, and smoked gnocchi served with fresh squid and clams, both pictured here. Secondi (main courses) include beef cooked to order, seared duck breast, or fish dishes such as hook-fished sea bass, all complemented by a range of vegetable side dishes. Longer tasting menus featuring both meat and fish are also available.

l'archeologia restaurant rome italy entrance sign
Masoleum dating back to the 2nd Century AD. Author image.

The wine list features the best of what Italy has to offer - and after a busy morning sightseeing, there are few things more relaxing than sipping a glass of local red under dappled sunlight at L'Archeologia. Desserts are simple - featuring nuts, chestnuts, peaches, prickly pears (which grow profusely in the neighbouring hills) and an ever-changing 'dessert of the day'. However, you barely need a dose of the sweet stuff given that coffee is served with a selection of sugared biscuits - just delicious dunked in latte.

italian red wine l'archeologia restaurant rome table
A toast to Rome. Author image.

This sublime environment is so restorative we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon further exploring the surrounding area (instead of crashing back at our Airbnb, as had been our original plan). Among the other sights along Via Appia Antica are several catacombs (underground burial places) and the Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis.

l'archeologia restaurant rome italy courtyard
L'Archeologia's stylish courtyard. Author image.
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Why? Go on a gastronomical journey
When: Kitchen open 12.30-3.00pm; 8.00-11.00pm
Phone: 06 7880494
Where: Via Appia Antica 139, 00179 Roma, Italia
Cost: Pasta dishes 14-18; Meat dishes 18-26
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