This article originally appeared in The Guardian, February 2016.
Brothers Pierluigi and Alessandro have sliced their way to glory with their sandwiches at their latest eatery, the Roscioli cafe
Just a short walk from Campo de’ Fiori in central Rome, the Roscioli cafe, the latest in the Roscioli empire, ups the ante with a new take on the traditional Roman cafe, and its reinvention of the panino – the humble sandwich.
Down the street from its sister shops – Roscioli Salumeria, a delicatessen/restaurant, and the Antico Forno bakery – the cafe has high ceilings and is decorated in muted colours, more art gallery than old-school cafe. The counter is laid with Roman pastries and sandwiches – maritozzi (cream-filled sweet buns), Mont Blanc meringues, traditional triangular tramezzini and ovalini, small oval sandwiches filled with rocket and tuna, or artichokes and salmon.
The Roscioli cafe is the latest addition to a mini chain
Roscioli serves cappuccino, caffè corretto and all other coffee incarnations. Though pricier than in the average Roman bar – espresso €1.50, cappuccino €2.25 – the coffee is expertly made by Roscioli’s veteran team. There’s a small, cave-like back room with tables, where the owners host V60 coffee tastings (a manual coffee-making method using a cone-shaped glass filter and 100% arabica grinds), wine tastings and aperitivi.
But it’s the sandwich menu that sets Roscioli apart. Brothers Pierluigi and Alessandro say they set out to create the very best. The Club is a triple-layer monument of Roscioli’s wholewheat bread, grilled guanciale (cured pork cheek, a bit like fat bacon), Sicilian tomato and a free-range fried egg. The Francesina is filled with succulent slow-roasted breast of veal and mustard mayonnaise, and the Fritcassè is a playful homage to Rome’s fried cod. It’s art, stuffed into a bread roll.
• Piazza Cairoli 16, facebook.com/Rosciolicaffe