Il Pagliaccio

It’s winter now, so I am looking back with fondness to when Laura and I visited Il Pagliaccio. It was a few months ago in late summer. Our meal here was part our continuing quest to eat at all of Rome’s Michelin star restaurants — this one is the worthy recipient of two stars.  We opted for the three course “Intermezzo” lunch menu (75 euros per person, excluding wine). This is a chef’s choice menu baed on your preference for fish or meat for the table. We opted for the latter.

The entire meal was a paragon of balance: rich and flavorful yet light, crispy with smooth, rustic while refined.

Following the Italian tradition of respecting the current season, the meal was wondrously full of late summer Italian flavors and textures. It started with a refreshing drink of green tea with summer fruit (balancing a starting sweet against the dessert finale?).

Green tea with fruit, very light and refreshing

Then came three rounds of delightful amuse bouches. The mackerel with soy and miso in a tomato soup was elegant (pictured at the top of this post). The flavorful accompanying bread was a perfect balance of crust and doughiness.

Fried seafood tidbit with a dash of flavored mayonnaise


Miniature cheese cakes, mushroom tartare, and a Mediterranean vegetable medley


The first round of (delicious) breads


Our first course was a summer pasta. Composed of fresh vegetables, this pasta carried a pleasantly varied texture.  If this dish tasted like a color, it would definitely be green.

Summer vegetable pasta


The main course was a delectable “young rooster.”  This dish had a layered, savory, slightly gamey tang, which contrasted beautifully against the grilled corn and truffle. Not too heavy, but simply packed with flavor.

“Young rooster,” with grilled corn and a generous serving of summer truffle and a bit of delicate sausage

The rooster came with a crusty, not-too-hearty brown bread with an amazing green (!) butter.  Once again, the flavors of late summer came through.

Brown bread and green butter

Dessert was a millefoglie. Very creamy but light, with a dash of gelato and a crisp sesame candy bit.

Millefoglie with gelato and sesame candy

A few more goodies ended the lunch — again, not too rich, not too sweet.


The end of meal sweets

There were few people at the restaurant that day, making it very quiet and relaxing. More on balance: belying the rather casual feel, the service was gracious and attentive. The staff’s elegance was balanced with the interior’s elegant and engaging design.

Lunch for two with four glasses of top notch wines chosen by the sommelier, plus a bottle of water, was roughly 270 euros.

We cannot wait to return to Il Pagliaccio. It might well be for another lovely and totally relaxing lunch …