Restaurant: ★★★★| Pasta: ★★★ | Pepper: ★ ★| Cheese: ★★★ | Guanciale (‘pork cheek’): ★★★★ | OVERALL: 3.5/5 Colosseums
Gricia is the complete opposite of Brexit. With Brexit, no one knows what they want. With Gricia, everyone knows what they want. They want a Gricia. In Britain, people keep asking ‘shall we have a second referendum?’. In Rome, people keep asking ‘shall we have a second gricia?’ And the answer is always yes.
In an effort to escape the absurd and embarrassing nature of British politics, I have been focusing on the absurd and embarrassing nature of Italian politics. Britain might be having its moment right now, but at most times throughout post-war history, Italian politics could quite easily look at Britain and say ‘Hold my Aperol Spritz’.
Britain: omg it’s so crazy, the government whipped to vote against themselves!
Italy: a left-wing terrorist group have kidnapped and killed a former prime minister.
Anyway, the main thing we all want to know about Italian politics is where do Roman politicians eat their Gricia? Apparently, at Da Mario. Tipped off my a well-connected friend of mine (read into that clause as many mafia jokes as you like), I made my way to this very central restaurant, close to the Pantheon, and close to both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
I ordered a Gricia and tried to spot some famous influential politicians. The problem is I don’t know any. I kept looking around at people in suits and wondering who the hell they were. Was the old man sipping soup the Italian equivalent of Jacob Rees-Mogg? Maybe he was speaking Latin and not Italian. Was the waiter coming over and asking me to ‘order’ doing a John Bercow impression?
The food was good, but I ate it in fear that I was about to be caught up in some sort of political scandal. Having watched all of Suburra and Gomorrah, it was hard to enjoy the crispy guanciale while half-expecting a man on a motorbike to burst into the restaurant and say something sinister and vague like ‘don’t forget who’s paying for that Gricia’. Except without subtitles to help me.
It was 9 euros. Or, to use the new post-Brexit exchange rate, 20 pounds. Maybe it’s time the mafia started bankrolling this blog…