Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hotel Inghilterra – Exclusive Hotel – Restaurant of the Stars

Hotel d’Inghilterra is elegance personified. Since 1830 its halls and salons have greeted Romans, businessmen, and dignitaries from across the world. Artistic workmanship, statues and murals envelop the guest, creating an opulent yet inviting environment. This is one of the most famous and exclusive hotels in Rome but the hotel is not the part I like the most about Hotel d’Inghilterra. It is the restaurant, il Café Romano, that keeps me coming back.

It may be the chef, Rodolfo Chieroni, and his cosmopolitan menu’. This means that he prepares traditional dishes from various parts of the world according to the original methods. It may be the beautiful combination of modern and classic architecture. Most likely it is the terrace dining.

The summer temperatures have subsided just a bit. The cooler sea breeze brings a hint of salt to the air. Raffaella’s silk outfit glides playfully in the breeze as she walks to the table. Before taking her seat she gazes over the rooftops of Rome. The cupola of San Pietro, visible in the distance, stands out like Monte Bianco in the Italian Alps. Our waiter asks if we would like a glass of champagne before dinner. Prosecco, we respond in unison, our preference for Italian wines is quickly noted.

This is our evening, no investors, no business meetings just us. A plate of appetizers arrives, catching us off guard as we chat about nothing important. Her eyes express fascination as we take in the surrounding view, the building, its architecture and the works of art visible in every direction. The wine list, more appropriately a book, is sitting on a side table. Her curiosity makes her impatient and she picks up the leather bound archive and begins scanning the pages. Although we have not talked about dinner our choice will most likely be one of the hearty traditional Roman dishes, perfect for a complex and structured red wine.

Angelo, our waiter, almost startles us as he brings the menu’ to discuss dinner. Although there are numerous other people filling most of the tables, the layout is such that with a little distraction the ambiance is that of a small terrace suspended over Rome with the city lights as candles and the stars as an elaborately decorated, domed ceiling. Perhaps it is annoying but the menu’ is of little use. A brief discussion about our preferences and Angelo is off.

Shortly, a bottle of Guado al Tasso is breathing on the serving table. Patience is a virtue, but not one that we have mastered when it comes to wine. Even our Master Sommelier friends have learned to accept that wine in a decanter within reaching distance will not remain intact. Bacco’s nectar is soon sliding across our lips. Raffaella dips her finger in the glass and smoothes a drop of wine on the nap of her neck and moves closer so breathe in this unique perfume.

Angelo returns with a cart, scans our table and fixates on the glasses. A quick movement of his hand and another waiter appears, doling out a more abundant portion of this marvelous wine. Angelo places our dishes immediately in front of us still covered with a silver dome. Dining at a great restaurant is always an exciting experience as we allow the chef’s inspiration to determine our meal. The dome removed, our dinner revealed, the smells of Cacio e Pepe fill the air. An antique Roman dish, Spaghetti with pecorino cheese and fresh pepper sauce, of simple ingredients, its preparation requires the knowledge of the Roman Matriarchs.

Our evening progressed, dessert and grappa, continued long after our Guado al Tasso had evaporated but the view remained and our time together tete a tete is now part of our experiences worth savoring a lifetime.

Hotel Inghilterra is an excellent hotel with a traditional and warm atmosphere. The rooms are comfortable and relaxing and the personnel are professional and helpful. Whether or not you can stay in the hotel a visit to the restaurant is a memorable experience.

Hotel d'Inghilterra
Via Bocca di Leone, 14 - 00187 Rome ( Italy)
Phone +39 06 699811 - Telefax +39 06 69922243


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Blogger RennyBA said...

What a great and informative post as always from you!
See you at the carnival in MaRIOstad, Sweden next year:-)

2:53 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Renny I shall be there, Raffaella, sotto bracio!

I hope to provide some ideas for great vacations.

3:40 PM


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