Sunday, November 20, 2011

Santa Maria dei Monti Offerta Hot and Sour Soup

After over a week in Italy, Significant Eater and I were craving something just a little bit wise. Now don't get me wrong; most everything we've eaten over the past week has been superb. For example, one of the meals we ate (on the night we arrived in Rome) was a 7-course pasta dinner, followed by an amazing cheese plate and finally, panna cotta. That dinner came courtesy of Katie Parla, travel and food writer extraordinaire, and all around good egg, who nabbed us reservations upon my request, after I read about it on her blog.  By the way, if you need to find something out about food or art in Rome, Naples and other far-flung locales, Ms. Parla is your gal.

Where was I? Oh yeah - we've been staying in an apartment in Monti, Rome's first ward, or Rione I. We're literally down the block from the from the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti...
It's the nabe's meeting place - and even on a Sunday night, everyone is out in their finery, meeting and greeting each other, drinking some wine, and just having a grand old time.  Seemingly every piazza has its church; this one is no different, and Santa Maria dei Monti is its name. It's a beauty, too, built in the 16th century...
Interestingly enough, if you turn around with your back to the church, this place is directly across the street, and it was the object of Sig Eater's and my desire...
I know what you're thinking; Chinese food in Rome? But we were craving it, and guess what? It was better than 95% of the stuff I eat in Chinatown. Yes, Chinatown. In NYC. Where I fucking live.

For starters, the hot and sour soup...
It  had just the right amount of chili pepper, if a little heavy on the cornstarch, but tell me about a hot and sour soup in Manhattan that's great, and your next bowl is on me. But the sizzling vegetables were just right, especially after a week of greens that are cooked until any semblance of what they looked like raw is beyond your wildest imagination...
The chicken I ordered wasn't bad either (also on a sizzling platter), and a gingery stir-fry of shrimp with spring onions was  just the way we like it.  Here's what my plate looked like after I was done loading it up...
And the topper?  All of that food, along with a giant Peroni beer and a bowl of rice was about $30. Or 24€, to be exact. Less than you'd pay back in Chinatown. Better, too. A craving satisfied. But - tomorrow's another day, and more great cucina Romana awaits. We're leaving the real noodles to the Italians.


  1. went into a Chinese ristorante?? I don't know ANYONE who would do that. I thought they were all fronts!
    Now you know I trust your judgement (when it comes to food) but this??
    I'll have to think about it.

  2. Very funny. Remind me to show you the pictures of a Chinese place Ginny and I almost went into for lunch when we were there last month (we settled for taking 2 pictures from outside and went for pasta instead).

  3. The place was fairly packed...with Italians.

    And if there is anything more incongruous than Chinese people speaking Italian, please let me know.