So back to my Roomie Reunion New Year celebration. After a full day of walking all over Rome, and then some, and after having back to back pizza meals for dinner and lunch, we wanted something different. So we hopped onto a cab to cross the bridge to Trastevere where I had a memorable meal back in 2006. I wasn’t even sure where it was, but I knew what the ristorante was called.

Ristorante Ai Bozzi da Giovanni

It looked different from memory, but that was 6 years ago. When I searched for the directions online, I came upon the claim that Ai Bozzi served THE BEST Buccatini All’Amatriciana, so we knew that had to be ordered.

Upon entering the restaurant, you are greeted by a chiller filled with the freshest of seafood. As is another of their specialties, everything is homemade and is patronized by locals.

Our friendly and experience server was very hospitable immediately opened a bottle of vino for Chants & I.Ai Bozzi’s house white is a perfect light wine, and coming from the Castelli Romani region where superb Italian wine is produced, it is a steal.

As we looked around the restaurant, mostly locals patronize Ai Bozzi, with their specialty board not translated for the tourists. I love immersing with the locals and dining where they go because you know the food is as authentic as their homemade cooking.

On the night before we hit Siena, Chants and I said to hell with calories, we’re enjoying our dinner.

Since seafood is a specialty, we ordered the Assorted Seafood Antipasti, a sampling of their most-loved starters. Alici Marinate (marinated anchovies), Filetto di baccala (cod fillet) and a prawn cocktail were the first plate.

Salmon fillet marinated in olive oil and oranges. The flavor of the olive oil cold-poaches and seasons the salmon perfectly. The addition of the orange juice lends a brightness to the rich fish.

Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto translates to “fried mixed”. The combination of Moscardini Fritti (fried octopus), Fritelle di ricotta (ricotta cheese pancakes) and Fritelle di nenata (newborn fish pancakes) was just fried perfection. A squeeze of lemon lends acidity which cuts through the oil.

Hello, baby moscardini

Fiori di zucca in pastella di farina di riso

Zucchini flowers in rice flour batter. I’ve always wanted to order this, and I figured that, after the fritto misto was a success, their zucchini flowers have got to be fantastic.

I was right. Stuffed with anchovies, the zucchini flowers had beautiful texture and aromatic flavor. I am dreaming about the fiori di zucca…

Ravioli Spicola, Basilico e Grana

Ravioli with Bass, Basil and Grana Padana Cheese. Chants ordered this special from the board. It was light, fresh and aromatic. The grana padana had a beautiful nuttiness to it.

I was adamant to order the Buccatini All’Amatriciana that everyone online raved was THE BEST, but I was also swayed by the specials board, so I asked the server if I could have a half portion of both, and they gladly obliged. Grazie Mille!Gnocchetti Calamaretti e Porcini

Baby gnocchi, with baby squid and porcini mushrooms. The gnocchi was light and chewy, the perfect consistency of gnocchi. The porcini mushrooms gave the dish a distinctly meaty flavor even if it was a seafood dish.  Yum.

But the Buccatini All’Amatriciana… was everything I had hoped for. Simple, succinct, and bursting with flavor, it’s still a mystery how tomatoes + bacon can produce such a depth of flavor. True All’Amatriciana uses Guanciale, which is bacon from the pig’s jowl, and this produces the aromatic layers that make this simple pasta dish so complex with nuance. Chants and I had daydreams of this All’Amatriciana for the days to come. ONE OF THE BEST pasta dishes EVER.

Of course, no meal is complete without some Dolci, and we ordered Tiramisu con Fragola, a strawberry flavored tiramisu. The mascerated strawberries turned this originally-coffee based dessert into an addicting strawberries & cream treat. This disappeared, even with our overstuffed bellies.

My first time at Ai Bozzi was a dinner I could never forget. And on my second visit, I’m glad I brought one of my most favorite people in the world. Oh, the meal was so good that I forgot my winter hat! I had to ask my hotel if it was available and if I could pick it up on New Years, and they gladly obliged and kept my hat (it was Armani, I could not leave it!). Their service is definitely warm and welcoming. Salute’!

Ai Bozzi is UP THERE with my favorite restaurants in Rome. It’s also in the Trastevere district which is a great place for dinner, drinks, and dreamy All’Amatriciana.

Ai Bozzi da Giovanni

Piazza G. T. Arquati, 107
00153 Roma
Tel. +39