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Friday, February 11, 2011

Soriano Nel Cimino: Taverna Dei Frati

The Taverna Dei Frati (Friars' Tavern) made for a glorious gustatory finale to our week in Soriano. Our two previous attempts to try the Taverna had found it chiuso (closed) but we're glad we persevered.

While enjoying a glass of wine and chatting with other couples last night in Palazzo Catalini's quaint little bar, we started talking about food and restaurants. Another couple mentioned how impressed they'd been by the Taverna and said they were returning. Since it's less than a five-minute walk from the hotel and stands at one edge of a parking lot and underground parking garage, that was enough to convince to try one last time.

The restaurant's exterior and interior are certainly the most elegant in town but you can't always tell a book by its cover. We entered to find a beautifully decorated high-ceilinged interior and sat down next to another couple we'd met early in the week at the Palazzo. They told us it was their third time there and loved it. That was enough for us.

To make up for lost time, we ordered the 26-Euro degustazione (tasting) meal. With a choice of fish or meat, we chose meat.

Executive Summary: The entire meal was delicious and our only regret was that there was too much!

The plate of hot and cold antipasti was easily the best we've had this trip. This was followed by a subtle plate of cheese ravioli covered by an immensely smooth sauce - chestnut? It was decadent. Next came another plate of pasta, penne in a meat sauce. It was great but we had to push our half-eaten plates away almost tearfully. We just had to leave some room.

Finally the meat course arrived: a lamp chop, pork, and veal, all nicely grilled. Another time we might remember to request rosa (pink), but the well-done meats had a nice char to them. The accompanying bowls of roasted potatoes were also a delight. One thinks always of pasta and risotto in Italy, but the Italians do a good job roasting potatoes when they're in the mood.

The grand finale of our meal was two large portions of tiramis├╣. At that point we surrendered and the server boxed it for us to take to our hotel for a lovely breakfast the following morning. We ended the meal with cappuccinos, savoring our discovery of this establishment. With a bottle of the house red wine at five Euros, our entire bill for this extravaganza totaled 57 Euros.

The quality of the food was superb and we can now look forward to tiramis├╣ for breakfast as we say arrivederci to Palazzo Catalani and Soriano nel Cimino, and undertake our next (and hopefully easiest) railway adventure to Rome, FCO, and the Hilton Garden Inn Rome Airport, from which we fly home Sunday after 12 days of savoring the pleasures of Lazio Italy.

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