Memories of Moma and the Mille Miglia

On our last trip to Rome, which now seems so very long ago, Laura and I continued to happily eat our way through Rome’s Michelin star restaurants. One (of several) within walking distance of our place is Moma, located just past Piazza Barberini.

Moma is on a little street running up the hill from Piazza Barberini. It has a small area out front for al fresco dining and a bar area on the ground floor.

The interior is loft style and decorated with a gentle modern touch. So when you enter, the feeling is both welcoming and airy. We went upstairs to the crisp, tranquil upper level.

Inside Moma

We started with several amuse-bouche, as well as a selection of wonderful breads.

Pastry with cod and blueberry


Cheese ice cream (really!) sandwiches

For starters, we had the tuna tartare with asparagus and the beautiful “garden vegetables,” pictured at the top of this post. Their loveliness stemmed from a fine balance of acid to fat, crunch to soft, and savory to light.

Tuna tartare with asparagus

I had the beautifully prepared octopus “vignarola,” not knowing this was going to be my third fish based dish in a row. The classic vignarola is a Roman dish based solely on vegetables that’s easily subject to variation. Having grown up with vignarola, I doubted this far flung variant could pull off the light and savory balance that imparts a satisfying mouthfeel. There’s no disappointment with this dish.  But the octopus, for me, completely changed the character of this vignarola. Thus, I have to describe this concept as an octopus prepared “vignarola style,” as opposed to a vignarola with octopus.

My octopus with fava beans

Laura had the pasta alla Gricia — delicious and satisfying. This preparation was closer to the classic recipe. You can see a chunk of guanciale in the picture.

Laura’s pasta alla gricia

Dessert was rhubarb jelly with fruit and white chocolate (there were also little treats from the chef). Once again, deft balance was on display: the fattiness of the jelly and white chocolate flavor combined with the acidity of the fresh fruit to satisfy all corners of the palate.

Our delicious and (relatively) healthy dessert

Including sparkling water and two glasses of very nice wine each, the total bill was 138 euros.  In my opinion, this was very reasonably priced for the excellent quality and friendly service that came with just the right amount of attention and explanation.

Moma is a keeper, and we cannot wait to come back.

Since we were there, Moma — like so many places in Rome — has adapted to the “new normal.” It now has very reasonably priced take-away food from its bistro, which serves all day long at the bar.

On our way home, as we walked down Via Del Tritone, something very special happened.

Laura said, “Oh my god, look at the cars!” Passing us were some of the most beautiful cars ever made, including vintage Ferraris and Alfa Romeos. Each engine roared with their distinctive notes, but not that loudly since they were going downhill. Occupants of the roofless cars wore goggles and leather bomber caps.

It was the Mille Miglia, coming into Rome’s Historic Center.

Cars were coming down one at a time as they were released from a point up the street. We stood and waved as they sped on down and got some friendly waves back in response (from the co-pilots, not the drivers).

As I’ve noted many times before in this blog, magical moments happen a lot in Rome.