Secret Rome Eating Spot
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Often when we go on a trip, we like to choose self catering accomodation as we are both food lovers and I absolutely love to cook. It’s a passion of mine.
We get huge pleasure from shopping for fresh local produce and getting creative in the kitchen after exploring our new destination.
So when we do decide to eat out, it’s important to us to find somewhere that is as passionate about food as we are. There’s nothing worse than going somewhere and leaving thinking “I could have made that better!”
How we discovered the best food in Rome
It was by pure chance that we discovered the restaurant that would provide us with one of the best culinary experiences I have had ANYWHERE in the world.
I had been watching a series on Netflix called “Borgia” which was about the rise to power of the Borgia family during the Italian Renaissance.
This was the time of Leonardo Da Vinci, Rafael and Michelangelo. It was also the time of Niccolo Machiavelli, the Italian historian, philosopher and Florentine politician.
Machiavelli is a character that has fascinated me for years. His famous book Il Principe (The Prince) has been influential for politicians and people in positions of power right up to this day.
The book is thought to have been inspired in a large part by Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI.
I knew Machiavelli had spent time in Rome so I did a search.
One of the things that popped up was a restaurant called Club Machiavelli.
I am someone who does not believe in coincedence. As soon as I discovered this place, I knew we would eat there.
I started reading reviews and I discovered that this was a very small, intimate restaurant that operates in a different manner than most restaurants.
The owner (Mauro) is less interested in maximising profit and is more concerned with providing a unique culinary experience. I have never met anyone with so much passion for food.
Firstly, you have to book in advance. This place has so many local regulars and so little tables that it is nearly impossible to walk in off the street.
(I sent him a friendly email a few weeks before we travelled and made the booking. Mauro can speak english so don’t worry if your italian only extends as far as “please” and “thankyou”.)
When you make a booking at Club Machiavelli, you have your table for the entire evening. Most restaurants want to get you “in and out” to clear space for more customers. Not here.
The second big difference is that they do not have a set menu. The menu is changed every week to take advantage of the best seasonal italian produce that they can get their hands on.
Arriving at Club Machiavelli
We arrived at Club Machiavelli around 7pm. We had read online that it was difficult to find, but we had directions that Mauro had given us in our email. I also had Google Maps on my phone and we found it easily.
We were greeted as we entered and were taken to our table.
It was small, clean and very cosy with white walls and beautiful framed photographs on the walls. There were only about a dozen tables.
2 other couples had arrived just before us and after a few minutes, Mauro came over and started to address us all.
He must have gotten Tanya and I mixed up with someone else because he announced to the 3 tables that it was our anniversary and he congratulated us.
I looked at Tanya and we both smiled and decided not to correct him. It wasn’t our anniversary, but we didn’t have the heart to correct him, especially in front of everyone.
We were given the menu, and he proceeded to tell us about every dish on the menu in great detail. His passion was contagious as he started to describe the ingredients for each dish, talking about where they were sourced and why they worked together.
It was pure class. I have never come across anything like it before or since. He made every one of us feel welcome and you just new this was a dining experience unlike any other.
After about 10 minutes of listening and joking with him, he asked us to pick out our meal first and that he could recommend wine that would compliment the dishes we chose. I had read about this on tripadvisor.
People had been saying that he did not try to push the most expensive wine (like many places do) but instead picked the wine that went best with the dishes.
I know I love red wine, but I am by no means an expert. I decided to let him choose and the reviews on tripadvisor were correct. The wine was delicious.
As for the food, all I can say is wow. We had a starter, a first course and then a main course. When we were ordering, they even told us to share one course to make sure we did not fill ourselves up too quickly.
In my eyes, the food was michelin star quality. To make things even better, the prices were no higher than you would pay in any typical Roman eatery.
I know it sounds too good to be true. All I can say is prepare to be blown away.
There is one dish that I’m told appears on the menu nearly all the time. I read about it online and it was on our menu. Tonnarelli with Tropea red onion, caramelized, with crispy bacon. This was the dish that Tanya and I shared and it is possibly the most tasty pasta dish I have ever had. I don’t think I would have picked this, just seeing it on a menu, but the flavours just exploded on my tastebuds.
If you can, you have to try it!
After we had finished our meal, both Tanya and I were so full that we could not manage a dessert.
What happened next was so nice.
Mauro decided to bring us a sweet to share. He said it was a gift for our “anniversary” and that he wanted us to at least have a taste of a sweet to complete the dining experience.
Everyone was also given a lovely after meal liqueur to round off what had been one of the best meals we have had together.
Tanya and I have been to Rome twice and we will go there again in the future. When we return, we will DEFINITELY be going back to see Mauro at Club Machiavelli.
Their website is in Italian as you would expect, but if you want to email and book a table for your visit to rome, here is the email address:
If you have been here, or you decide to visit based upon our recommendation, we would love you to leave a comment below, telling us what you thought.
If you are looking for a secret place to eat in Rome, away from the tourists, I can think of nowhere better.