` Zero Kilometer Olive Oils and More at Rome’s Urbana 47 - Olive Oil Times

Zero Kilometer Olive Oils and More at Rome’s Urbana 47

Feb. 17, 2011
Laura Rose

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Steps away from the Coliseum is the Monti dis­trict of Rome, a neigh­bor­hood ener­gized by its youth­ful, bohemian pop­u­la­tion. It’s here that Angelo Belli opened his inno­v­a­tive zero kilo­me­ter restau­rant, com­bin­ing all of my favorite things in life”, he says- loca­vore din­ing and his pen­chant for inte­rior design, cre­at­ing a place that is com­pletely Roman yet stongly mod­ern, and thor­oughly pop­u­lar with the locals and trav­el­ing food­ies.

A- Rome’s Urbana 47

Mr. Belli began by pro­vid­ing home deliv­ery of news­pa­pers but a pro­found love of cui­sine pushed him to start deliv­er­ing food prod­ucts in addi­tion, and so he began con­nect­ing with the local milk, veg­etable, and meat farm­ers, as well as wine and oil pro­duc­ers, to find the best ingre­di­ents avail­able in Rome and its sur­round­ing region of Lazio. Urbana 47, his first restau­rant, was a nat­ural con­tin­u­a­tion of the food deliv­ery busi­ness. Adding to his plea­sure with the grotto-like space he was able to fill up with well-picked vin­tage fur­ni­ture that looks like its been recu­per­ated from an old film stu­dio in Rome.

To enter feels like walk­ing into a pri­vate club of expe­ri­enced organic gour­mands. A buf­fet table is spread with a wealth of sea­sonal veg­eta­bles, fresh meats, and var­i­ous small bites that all look entic­ing, with full size bot­tles of the local Valle Santa extra vir­gin olive oil set around the table for lib­eral addi­tions. This restau­rant has a loyal com­mu­nity of din­ers who are com­mit­ted to its loca­vore prin­ci­ples and astound­ingly deli­cious food pre­pared sim­ply, but tra­di­tion­ally, with the fresh­est organic ingre­di­ents in the region.

Everyone seems to know what they’re doing as they approach the table, point­ing and cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful meals that they take back to their tables to eat. I am con­fused, over­whelmed even, by these intrigu­ing dishes with­out a menu. Luckily the chef guides me to the ceci e bac­cala, chick pea and dried cod soup, a sim­ple dish that turns out to be so incred­i­bly deli­cious that I shame­lessly begged for the recipe. {See the fruit­ful results of my beg­ging below.}

Locavore, or zero kilo­me­ter eat­ing as it’s referred to here, is gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity with food­ies around the world, but in Rome it’s really the con­tin­u­a­tion of a long­stand­ing and con­tin­u­ous tra­di­tion, updated with a chic décor. The real inno­va­tion is to focus on the local­ity of Roman cui­sine, to enhance it by find­ing organic ingre­di­ents from small, tra­di­tional farms, and to make a strong state­ment out of it.

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