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Da Meo Patacca

Da Meo Patacca

Piazza dei Mercanti 30
Tel: 065816198

This popular restaurant is a bit off the beaten track, well hidden in Trastevere. Local people used to gather for a meal and a drink of good local wine, unleashing their mediterranean temperament, singing to their hearts content their witty songs. Lately the locals have given way to the tourists. They have added to the humble pastasciutta a comprehensive menu. The local wine from the barrel is now augmented by the company of vintage wines. There is a little cabaret and a willing violin and mandolin is always at hand to accompany your sing-songs. Having seen Santa Maria of Trastevere, the view of Rome from Gianicolo, tourists will flock to Meo Patacca after sundown for a leisurely meal, a rest and a laugh. They have a long menu and a willing staff. The kitchen and the service may be called better than "average", but the setting invites a protocol more familiar. The staff will shift and group the tables and chairs according to the size of the group, but the lighting, and the area enclosed by potted shrubs in this anonymous square makes you feel part of the whole scene and helps make contact with the guests of nearby tables without sacrificing your privacy.

When ordering, rely on the waiter’s advice (a good idea in any strange place) and if it takes a long time to decide, don’t worry; the waiter doesn’t mind earning his tip! Take your time, savour what you like and you’ll find that the bill (60000 lire, about £20 in average). A leisurely walk by the nearby Tiber will crown a remarkable day.

Laszlo and Clelia Melkuhn


We arrived and were shown to our seats, but we asked to be re-sited in the main part, because we thought we'd be out of the "action". No problem, the place was nearly empty (at 7:45 pm). We were later to find that it would not have mattered - the entertainment was evenly dispersed.

Being of Latin temperament, we had no qualms about noisily attracting the attention of the waiter, who took our orders for drinks while we waited for Clelia to arrive (She'd had to stay behind and attend to the dog).

Clelia arrived at eight, and by that time the place was filling up (Romans typically eat dinner late - 8:30 for 9:00).

We took our time deciding on our meals - there is plenty of choice, but, as the menu is written in small script and in what seems to be a mixture of "Ancient Italian" and Trastevere argot, we had to double check some of the items. Also, Clelia suffers from diverticulitis, and has to be very careful about her food and Dave and Sue are vegetarian.


Bruschettas all round (except Clelia) and we marvel at our waiter, Franceso(?) who takes orders from six of us as well as from all his other tables without a pad - he just remembers everything - and proves it by repeating it all back to us. During this, the band of minstrels (trumpet, guitar, tambourine, vocals) is serenading us all with classic Italian songs (and some not so classic - by all accounts rather risqué!). The atmosphere begins to buzz - people are singing along, shouting requests, and laughing at the innuendos in some of the numbers.

The meals arrive, but Clelia's isn't there - no Francesco hasn't forgotten, the kitchen has. He chases them up. When it arrives, Clelia examines it and discovers a seed from a pepper - a disaster, as this could cause her real trouble. The dish, Straccetti con Rughetta, or Thin Steak with Rocket, should not have any seeds of any description, so we call the waiter, who immediately offers to replace it. Clelia will have none of it - this has frightened her - what's to say there aren't seeds in the replacement - she's lost her appetite and wants an official inquiry as to how the seed got into a dish which shouldn't have seeds. She really gave the guy a hard time - but he coped well, and eventually convinced Clelia that a replacement would be just fine. It was.

My Scamorza, however, was not to my liking. I, as usual, had decided to try something new - Scamorza is a Roman speciality: Grilled Cheese. The taste was fine, but the texture was almost tough. It was just as well that my Dad could not manage all of the Spit-roasted Lamb. I, as the dutiful son, helped him out, and enjoyed doing so!.

Marg had the Cotoletta Milanese - this time, she was well pleased, and even more convinced that the one she'd had earlier had indeed been chicken!

Dave went for the obvious vegetarian choice: Quail! He was apparently pleased with it! So much so that no-one else got a look-in! (Sorry Dave, it had to be said!!!). I'm hoping Dave will be posting his own version of events here in due course.

Halfway through the meal, the entertainment continues. We're all outside (in bad weather, the diners can all be accommodated inside) and a window opens high up in the ivy-covered walls. A man in a nightshirt and nightcap shouts out and berates the minstrels for keeping him awake. Various exchanges cause bouts of laughter - I laugh even though I don't understand all the words. You don't need to understand the words. The evening is just perfect, and when the bill arrives, even the sight of a six-figure bill doesn't detract from the pleasure. That's right, a SIX-FIGURE dinner bill!!!

LIt 297,000 equated to less than £16 a head

This restaurant is very highly recommended - and I'd suggest booking in advance!



Eatanddrink Ratings

Da Meo Patacca

Total Score: 85%
Quality: Exceptional
Service: Exceptional
Facilities: Average
Ambience: Above Average
Value: Good

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The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.
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