Haute Cuisine, or in Italian ‘Alta Cucina‘ can be found in the provinces around Rome, in the Lazio region, but some are easier to stumble upon than others. However, when it comes to winkling-out great food, I am like a pig with truffles – I seem to have a natural instinct for these things! And apart from the food having to be good I also take into account attractiveness, ambience and service.
I have decided to start with restaurants with 1 Michelin Star, plus the only 2 Michelin Star establishment outside of Rome in the Lazio region. I haven’t included Rome city in this post since there would be too many, and I wanted to focus on ‘beyond Rome’ anyway so that travellers visiting the region under their own steam can know where to head for.
In the Viterbo province:
* La Parolina – situated on the edge of the Monte Ruffeno Nature Reserve in the village of Trevinano. I have not been here yet and it is on my list but the menu looks strongly meat/fish based, so we’ll have to see, but I do love the countryside and a place like this – seemingly in the middle of nowhere – is fantastic for relaxing mind and body.
In the Rieti province:
* La Trota (2 stars) – a renowned fish restaurant, off the beaten path in a place called Rivodutri. If I’m honest the menu here is a little too haute for my taste and I’m vegetarian anyway, but I’ve seen the restaurant in person and it is very elegant.
In the Rome province:
* Antonello Colonna Resort & Spa – really quite hidden but an unexpected delight, in the countryside just outside Labico, and only a stone’s throw from Rome and not far from the Valmontone Outlet & Rainbow Magicland. I loved the atmosphere here even though the structure is ultra-modern it blends well with its surroundings. Bonus: their fabulous spa and pool!
* Aminta Resort – another one on my list, situated in the famous Castelli Romani in a typical town called Genazzano (not to be confused with Genzano di Roma, which is not far away). The grounds and garden looks lovely – the perfect setting for a pre-lunch/dinner cocktail.
* Il Tino – located at the marina, Fiumicino (opposite the Isola Sacra). Lots of fish, as you’d expect I suppose being at the sea…so I’d come here only for dessert, which all look very tempting on the current menu!
* Pascucci al Porticciola – very nautical and prettily decorated but sadly not for me (vegetarian, remember?) as it’s all very fish-themed. Located at the small marina at Fiumicino town. I do remember that it gets very busy in the summer.
In the Frosinone province:
* Ristorante Colline Ciociara by Salvatore Tassa – another gem, this time perched high in a medieval village between Piglio ( famous for the Cesanese red wine) and Fiuggi (famous for its natural spring water), so you could quite happily detour if visiting this area, known in ancient times (still referred to as such today – pronounced Choh-chah-rea) as the Ciociaria.
In the Latina province:
* Il Vistamare at Il Fogliano hotel – I really enjoyed my lunch here with – as it says – a “sea view” (vista mare)! We were the only couple who had decided to sit inside so it felt like a private dining experience (other diners were on the sun terrace). It was one of the most relaxing meals I’ve ever had (as well as being delicious, of course) in calm surroundings overlooking the waves and people relaxing on the private beach (which, incidentally, is what we did shortly after lunch).
On Ponza Island:
* Acqua Pazza – still in the Latina province but on Ponza, we had gelato here, which was delicious, whilst waiting for the boat back to the mainland to Gaeta. I wasn’t keen on the “wobbly sea” during our trip, otherwise I’d be coming here more often.
Footnote: I haven’t listed opening hours since these can change, but most restaurants have them listed on their website, as well as location maps.