Dar Filettaro: a Roman Tradition

On Good Friday this year, we went out for fish.  Having recently gone to a high end fish place, this time we went for a more affordable option at a tiny little place that is a Roman tradition, Dar Filettaro.  It’s located on the little piazza outside the teensy, slightly leaning church of Santa Barbara dei Librari.

The poor little church is literally getting squeezed as the buildings shift over the centuries

The restaurant is the kind of place that hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years, and they serve exactly one, and only one, thing: fried salt cod, known as baccalà.

As the sign says, you come here for one thing: fried salt cod fillets


Inside Dar Filettaro – with very jovial servers (perhaps due to the close proximity of refreshing beverages on tap?)

We started with a Roman dish that’s not familiar to most visitors — anchovies and butter.  It might sound odd, but try it, you just might like it.  The idea is that the sweetness of the butter counters the saltiness of the fish.

The butter counterbalances the saltiness of the anchovies

In season, make sure you order one of my favorite things Roman — a bitter green, related to chicory, known as puntarelle.  It’s particularly delicious when, as served here, there is some anchovy and lemon on it. Love this stuff!

Delicious puntarelle!

We also ordered some tasty (if not homemade — we saw some big jars being delivered) picked vegetables:

Pickled veggies

You’ll definitely want the veggies to complement the main dish.  The salt cod fillets are big, hot, and greasy.  This definitely is not a low calorie kind of food.  And it’s the opposite of fancy.  While Italians eat their pizza pie with a knife and fork, baccalà is meant to be consumed by hand (with the aid of paper food wrap).

Fried cod — no knife and fork needed!

Wash it all down with a beer for 4.5o euros.  You’ll definitely have some money left over for a dessert somewhere.  The fillets are 5 euros each, the vegetables for the table were 5 euros, the anchovies and butter were 5 euros, the puntarelle was 5 euros.  You get the picture.  But you will probably be stuffed by the baccalà and just want to stagger home and pass out.  That’s what we did.