Luxury Hotels

ROME – 6

An illusion can amuse.  What IS this, above? The answer is that it’s an image of the mirrored ceiling in SETTIMO, the seventh floor rooftop restaurant of Sofitel Villa Borghese Rome.  The designer, Jean-Philippe Nuel, has had a rare old time making the space shine, which is especially necessary in winter when the outside part of what is essentially an indoor-outdoors restaurant is not used. In winter it is inside only, so as much eye-catching decoration as possible is greatly appreciated.

The indoors part of SETTIMO is an interesting shape. It’s long, and partially bisected longitudinally by a wedge=shaped kitchen. Enter the restaurant at one end and there are comfortable sitting areas, with the tall indoors greenery that Girlahead is beginning to think is ubiquitous in Rome’s restaurant life. Walk to the other end, which has the restaurant’s tables and chairs (around the kitchen exterior is a wide counter that tomorrow will bear the breakfast buffet, see video below).

SETTIMO stresses that this is Roman cuisine, and this is certainly brought out in the menu. Girlahead started with roasted artichokes, Roman style – and went on to fried calamari and Roman zucchini. It truly is a delight to see a restaurant proudly serving not only local products but local dishes. There’s nothing specifically Roman, to be honest about the desserts – tiramisù is thought to have originated between Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia – and they all sound delicious but the chocolate icecream was particularly yummy.

There were many memorable features about the meal. The restaurant was packed and servers, all male, had to rush around. Chef Giuseppe D’Alessio, who’s from Campania, emerged from the kitchen to go around the tables, and overall there was a feeling that this was a most enjoyable evening.

The restaurant also sparkles at breakfast, which seems to be a regular business-meeting haunt for local top executives. It is easy to understand why, and the server, all female, were kept busy.  Girlahead just loves Italian breakfasts, with such wide selections of ricotta and other cheeses, and cakes – as well as all the universal goodies that the rest of the world eats to break the fast.