By Sara Kotcher
My friend Hannah went on a food crawl of Trastevere, our neighborhood in home sweet Rome. She ended up at a spot called Da Enzo. When she suggested it to me, little did I know she was offering up a hidden gem of Trastevere’s restaurant scene. Da-enzo was da-mazing!
Although the dining experience did not begin so smoothly; we showed up as a party of 3 with no reservation around 7:45pm, early for Italian standards, and the place was packed. Whoops, our bad. I have never made a dinner reservation in Rome because usually you can stroll in and they’ll find a way to make it work, true to Italian form. However, it had been torrentially down pouring all day. I know because I literally got caught in it in between classes and walked around all day drenched. Not fun. So I was obviously really hungry. Finally they seat us outside but they said that if it rains, there’s nothing they can do about it – again, so Italian.
The waiter comes over, speaking perfect English in an Australian accent but then I heard him speaking to the table next to us in fluent Italian. Amazing, and at this point I’m not really surprised. For a restaurant known as one of the best in Trastevere, the waiters probably are used to dealing with non-Italian tourists all the time. We order the specials right away – burrata, artichokes, and some zucchini flowers. The burrata was about the size of my face and we ate it all. It tasted so fresh, practically straight from the dairy farm I swear it was deliciously creamy but somehow not too rich. Only order the zucchini flowers here if you’re a fan of anchovies. Da Enzo goes heavy on the anchovies, unfortunately for us since we don’t love them. Artichokes were perfectly crispy and sautéed to perfection, however if you want the real deal visit Piperno in the Jewish Ghetto.
Main course comes out and by this time we had started talking to the table next to us, since we were basically sitting on top of them. The outdoor tables at Da Enzo is basically one communal table. Small world though, since the mother-daughter duo next to us were from the same town as my cousins. Not only that, but the daughter had babysat for them and the Mom was friends with my aunt. My friends laughed since they were saying, “if anyone would know someone here, its you.”
The pastas were our first order of business. We had ordered the cacio e pepe, a Roman classic, and the special which was a fettucini in a sausage, pea, and mushroom sauce. While both were superb, the polpette (meatballs) we ordered stole the show. I would come back here for those alone. Best I’ve had in Rome, possibly life actually, except they could never rival my own Grandma’s.
So because we weren’t in enough of a food coma by now, my friends begged me to order the tirimasu for dessert. They didn’t have to twist my arm. Out it comes and WOW – delicious. Sweet, refreshing, full of coffee bean, just how any tirimasu should be. Definitely lived up to any tirimasu standard I have created over the years with the help of my brother, the tirimasu expert.
All in all, Da Enzo was a truly authentic and original Italian meal through and through. The service, the food, and the company alike were all a win. Also, it is very well priced down to the house wine which we guzzled like water, per usual.
Sara Kotcher is currently an Emory University junior studying psychology and media studies studying abroad in Rome through John Cabot University. She is originally from New York. Follow Sara directly on her personal blog cucina-di-kotcher.tumblr.com and her comprehensive guide for all different cities blog allabroadstudents.com.