Osteria Barberini (Rome, Italy)

Osteria Barberini
Via della Purificazione 20
00187 Rome, Italy
Dining date: 10/24/14

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While researching for restaurants to try in Rome, we came across this place – Osteria Barberini. It had very strong reviews everywhere we looked, including being a top 50 restaurant on TripAdvisor (4.5 stars on over 1700 reviews) and holding 4.5 stars on Yelp. The restaurant touts its truffle menus (especially as white truffles were in season) and reviews raved about the truffle dishes. Was exactly what we were looking for. We attempted to make a reservation and found dinner completely booked, however we were able to squeeze in a late lunch table.

Osteria Barberini’s menu has a lot of classic Italian favorites within its antipasti, primi, and secondi areas of the menu. However, there is an additional category featuring dishes using black and white truffles. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call them cheap, truffles (particularly white) were significantly cheaper in Italy compared to prices in the U.S. We first noticed this during our first night at Da Francesco, but Osteria Barberini’s pricing was also reasonable with white truffle dishes in the low-€20s and black truffle dishes in the mid-teens. We focused in on the truffle dishes (while in Rome!) and ordered a couple of items off the regular menu.

We pretty much had a bottle of wine with every meal in Italy.

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Uova Pasticciate Al Tartufo Nero E Pecorino scrambled eggs, black truffle, toscana cheese

Uova Pasticciate Al Tartufo Nero E Pecorino srambled eggs, black truffle, toscana cheese

This wasn’t quite as expected from the menu description. The dish centered around a thick piece of bread topped with eggs and truffle. Too much bread. The eggs were cooked through and the whole thing felt kind of dry. The lettuce garnish didn’t help things at all either.

Risotto Vialone Nano Tartufo Bianco E Prosecco risotto with white truffle and prosecco

Risotto Vialone Nano Tartufo Bianco E Prosecco risotto with white truffle and prosecco

The risotto was cooked pretty well with a firm bite to the rice and a creamy sauce. The truffle flavor was subtle but present, but overall the dish failed to impress.

Fettuccine Al Tartufo Nero E Porcini fettucine with lack truffle and porcini

Fettuccine Al Tartufo Nero E Porcini fettucine with lack truffle and porcini

This fettucine was pretty good with a nice chew and tender porcini mushroom slices. Truffle flavor in this dish was more prominent.

Lasagna Porcini E Tartufo Nero lasagna with porcini mushrooms, black truffle, mozzarella and parmesan

Lasagna Porcini E Tartufo Nero lasagna with porcini mushrooms, black truffle, mozzarella and parmesan

The lasagna was very earthy, no doubt from the mushrooms and shaved truffle. Layers of pasta and cheese had great oozing texture to go along with the flavors.

Gnocchi al Profumo di Mare homemade pasta with seafood

Gnocchi al Profumo di Mare homemade pasta with seafood

The gnocchi was good, bathed in a creamy tomato-based sauce. However the seafood were not good, consistently overcooked (I wondered if they were frozen) and a number of the mussel shells were empty.

Verdura di Stagione seasonal vegetables

Verdura di Stagione seasonal vegetables

Just to keep things healthy, we got some simply grilled vegetables. They were ok.

Osteria Barberini was a big disappointment. It was definitely overhyped for us, but I’m not really sure what happened. There were misses in both concept and execution. Truffle-wise, there were plenty of menu options but I didn’t think the truffle flavor was apparent throughout the courses. After this lunch, this meal drove us back to Da Francesco a second time to make sure we ended Rome right.

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