Quinzi & Gabrieli, Rome

Gran crudo di mare Quinzi & Gabrielin - a selection of raw fish

Just a stone’s throw from the Pantheon, Quinzi & Gabrieli is generally acknowledged to be one of the two best seafood restaurants in Rome (the other being La Rosetta). Despite its high prices, the atmosphere here is casual and relaxed rather than stuffy – service is a perfect combination of friendly and formal; while the rooms are well-lit (a little too harshly for my liking) and decorated with hand-painted murals.

We left the menu for the evening entirely in the hands of our waiter who recommended the Gran crudo di mare Quinzi & Gabrieli - a selection of raw fish, to start; followed by Straccetti di seppia con carciofi croccanti e menta - Cuttlefishes with crunchy artichokes and mint, and Moscardini alla “Diavola” - “Devilled” baby octopus; and then the Linguine di Gragnano all’aragosta sarda - Linguine from Gragnano with rock lobster; all, we were assured, specialities of the house. He offered to split two portions of each dish amongst the three of us, and also suggested we refrain from ordering a main course until we finished the linguine – sound advice indeed as the appetisers and primi proved to be plenty.

Despite only being 2 servings, the raw fish platter was huge. Simply prepared, it featured raw cuttlefish, salmon, tuna, scampi, and two types of prawns doused in olive oil. The seafood was fresh, as it had to be in a preparation like this, and the dish was a reasonable success – the sweetness of both kinds of prawns especially standing out, even if all the olive oil started to get a bit too much towards the end.

Straccetti di seppia con carciofi croccanti e menta - Cuttlefishes with crunchy artichokes and mint and Moscardini alla “Diavola” - “Devilled” baby octopus

The cuttlefish with artichokes and mint, and the baby octopus, were also pretty good. The former, though not my favourite dish, and most certainly not by favourite ingredients, was an interesting combination that worked. The baby octopus, sautéed with tomatoes and olive oil, had stronger, if more common flavours, and was also quite nice. Again however, both were qualified rather than resounding successes.

Linguine di Gragnano all’aragosta sarda - Linguine from Gragnano with rock lobster

The lobster linguine, on the other hand, was absolutely sensational. The linguine was cooked to a perfect al dente, the lobster fresh and succulent, and the tomato-based sauce just right – light, tangy, delicious – I’m salivating just thinking about it. This was not a particularly unique or complex dish, but it was done better here than at any other place I have ever had it. It was wonderful.

We finished with two desserts – Shriciolate di Millefoglie Quinzi & Gabrieli - Quinzi & Gabrieli Millefoglie and Semifreddo al croccantino - Caramel Hazelnut Parfait, when we again returned to the theme of solid rather than spectacular successes. Both desserts included raw apple, which I felt was a bit out of place. The Millefoglie dish was very creatively presented though, in the shape of a fish.

Shriciolate di Millefoglie Quinzi & Gabrieli - Quinzi & Gabrieli Millefoglie

In a nutshell…
Pretty good. I did not get a chance to eat at La Rosetta so I cannot comment on which of the two is better, but Quinzi & Gabrieli was certainly good enough for me to see why it is in the argument for best seafood restaurant in Rome. Most of the dishes were good rather than great, but the sensational Linguine di Gragnano all’aragosta sarda will live long in the memory. Prices are high, but at least servings are sizeable.

7.5/10

Quinzi & Gabrieli
Via delle Coppelle, 5/6  - 00186, Roma
+39 06 6879389
Average Price: €80-€100

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