Sette Oche in Altalena

Seven Geese on a Swing

This restaurant appears to be one of Trastevere’s best kept secrets..

To begin, I should probably explain how I found it…

Trastevere is divided by Viale di Trastevere, most people never wander south of this road, for tourists it is really no-man’s land. I happen to live south of it, and am fond of the area as whilst it retains the charm, it looses the tourists (I often speak of the frightful tourists to my Italian colleagues, an irony I relish in)! After an evening of staking out a new pizza haunt in the northern realm, with the overzealous demand of a table outside, my fellow companions grew weary and I was told to “just pick somewhere”. It was then to our dismay that we realised  the 20:00 deadline had passed, and the carriage had become a pumpkin again as the Americans poured into Trastevere with their ‘fanny packs’, bleached white grins, and aged leather goods that help them achieve the ‘cultured’ look…

…  We had little time to spare, so I suggested we head down south. 5 minutes passed, and we had still found nowhere to eat, it was then, down some unknown and quiet street, that we saw Sette Oche in Altalena, here we took refuge, and whilst the welcome was warm, the lack of customers outside forced me to be a bit suspect.  I would have confessed these qualms but my companions were hungry, and I feared for my safety were I to suggest another restaurant.

It was following these events, that my world was turned upside down, all I knew about choosing restaurants in Italy was proven wrong and I was forced to swallow my pride (but as the meal was so tasty, this sour taste was masked).
You do not have to follow the Italians.

Lesson learnt.

Now onto the real business….the food!

As we flicked through the menu, a plate of niblets arrived (I find hor d’oeuvres a little unappatising as a term, niblets is far more palatable). Instantly my expectations grew, as a semi-student I believe that niblets are, essentially, free food, and so little could have wooed me more. But I promise you, my love for this restaurant goes far beyond the succulent olives and creamy buffalo mozzarello that they used to whet our appetite. What won my loyalty, was the antipasto! Now, I understand that there are only so many ways to prepare cold meat and cheese, but the platter we shared at Sette Oche in Altalena was one of the best I have ever eaten, and the highlight of this  was the ricotta. Before this meal, I had always viewed Ricotta as an ingredient to be spread in a lasagne or stuffed in a cannoli, but never to be eaten as a cheese… I have seen the light. Little cubes were placed on a wooden platter topped with a teaspoon of honey, a walnut, and a leaf or two of rocket. It is simplicity such as this that turns  hate into great, bori-sh into mourish and vom into nom, this is what makes Italian cuisine the best in the world.

This delight was followed up by a Capricciosa which, whilst being delcious, didn’t differ too much from the standard, yet high quality, pizzas that you’ll find throughout Trastevere. After this was wolfed down, we signed at the delightful waitor for ‘il conto’ and I happened to tell him of my conversion to Ricott-ism, so to accompany our Mosquito sambuca coffees (a coffee bean floats on the top of the cup), we were given another plate as ‘a gift from me to you’. Customer service at its best!

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