For those who travel in obstinate and opposite direction

The front door is not too flashy. This is also the beauty of many treasures in Italy, which must be sought in hidden and unexpected corners.

Do not delay and get to know Matteo and his friends in Epiro, a typical restaurant with an eye continually turned to the future. They define themselves “Cave à manger”. And if you look for them on social media channels (i.e. instagram: epiroroma) you will often find a label: “In an obstinate and opposite direction”. Then I’ll tell you the genesis of both labels.

Matteo will welcome you at the entrance. Matteo has been with Epiro since the beginning of this adventure and he too, like the restaurant, has undergone a profound path of evolution. Despite his shy and reserved character, Matteo has come out of his comfort zone by moving from the kitchen to the dining room and now welcomes guests and takes care more of the relational part. His initiative was so unexpected that his friends from Epiro didn’t believe it. Time has proved him right and Matteo is still there today, waiting for you at the front door.

AN INTIMATE AND COMFORTABLE CONTEXT

The first room that welcomes you immediately reveals the soul of Epiro. The wines are a highlight here and are immediately visible on the shelves on the walls. Later I will discover that the Epiro wine shop is one of the latest evolutions made by Matteo & associates. The environment does not seem very big. The few wooden tables and the furniture give me an idea of ​​a rustic and homely place. Finally, the open kitchen seems to promise something that goes beyond tradition.

Just a view of wine shop area

Another strong point of this place, in addition to the competent and passionate people who work there and considering the small size of the interiors, is certainly the private covered garden behind it. Not everyone has one in a dense city like Rome. Thus, both with good and bad weather, dinner is guaranteed and the place takes on a more varied aspect. It is also possible to have an aperitif, always outdoors there are some comfortable sofas, in an intimate and comfortable setting.

So take a sit and enjoy the evening. Ah, have you booked? Better to do it well in advance: 5-7 days in advance if you do not prefer to try your luck. The boys of Epiro are doing great. I am finally in this place, for years my partner had been talking to me about it, with the promise to take me.

THE EVOLUTION

We choose a somewhat secluded place from which we can still observe the other tables and the environment as a whole. While we wait to order, let’s think about the two questions we asked ourselves a little while ago. What is a “Cave à manger”? In the beginning, Epiro offered street food. It later became a Trattoria. Over the years and with the desire to aim higher and higher, this definition, albeit highly respected (as a representative of quality and of the many Italian peculiarities), began to come close to the owner Marco Pucciotti. Here, in the new course, Epiro becomes “Cave à manger”. In essence, it is an informal place where you can taste wines (in this case natural) accompanied by a selected gastronomic proposal: an Italian-style bistro, traditional and creative at the same time.

The garden

NATURAL WINE AND DRAFT BEER

The attention to the wine is maximum. For dinner, the sommelier Dante recommends us with passion the best pairing between food and wine. And if we want to return another day to visit the wine shop (open in the morning when the kitchen is still closed), Francesco Romanazzi will be happy to accompany us to discover the cellar of natural wines selected by Epiro. The wine shop is also ready to offer customers an Italian aperitif before lunch time.

And if you are more passionate about beer, Epiro also offers excellent craft beer. Among its products I like to mention Lucky Brew, a Vicenza craft brewery born in a garage and then grown thanks to passion, friendship and competence. Now it is known throughout Italy. I will like to tell you about their story later.

A QUOTE

As I mentioned before, if you enter the Epiro instagram page (@epiroroma), it may happen that you read a quote “In direzione ostinata e contraria” (it means “In stubborn and opposite direction”). It is taken from a song by the Italian poet singer-songwriter Fabrizio De Andrè, and then became a posthumous anthology after his death.

When Epiro was still a street food place, a little blackboard with the proposals of the day was placed outside and a quote to a song was written every week. “In direzione ostinata e contraria” has remained with Epiro over the years, I think to express their temperament.

AN INFORMAL MENU

Let’s go back to the Epiro menu. It is so informal that it has no division between starters, first and second courses. What they offer you are recipes that start from tradition and are revisited in a modern way. I’m not a food critic but just a food and wine lover like many others. So I let the photographs of some of the dishes we tried speak for themselves. I particularly enjoyed the gnocchi with rabbit ragout, pumpkin, cardoncelli and caciocavallo. I would have easily eaten two plates.

Next time I will take a professional photo 🙂

And I can’t wait to go back to Epiro. “Michelone Nazionale”, the chef in charge of the kitchen, changes the menu every 3 weeks, also a guarantee of never getting tired of coming and trying something new.

The quality of the raw materials is very high. The choice is careful to enhance the reality of local farmers and breeders. As already written in this article, meat and vegetables come from the Latin Market opposite.

IN ROME AND NOT ONLY

I recommend that you follow Epiro also on social networks (instagram: @epiroroma). I can’t help but get infected by their dynamism and their charge, if it weren’t enough to look at the photos and descriptions to fall in love with this place.

Matteo, Dante, Michelone Nazionale, Francesco are waiting for you. I can’t wait to go back.

And if by any chance you think of taking a trip to France, in Nice, there you will find Alessandra and Marco with their Epiro, in the Côte d’Azur version. In Rome and beyond.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

It is easy to reach Epiro Square. From the center of Rome, take the underground line A, direction Anagnina. Get off at the ‘San Giovanni’ stop or the next ‘Re di Roma’ stop. From here it’s a 10-15 minute walk. Otherwise directly you can reach Epiro by autobus line 360, from Termini Station.

And good appetite!

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