On a beautiful, clear night in Rome, my husband Michael and I ventured out for a dinner that unbeknownst to us at the time, would become unforgettable. The restaurant was Assunta Madre, located on Via Guilia, and is beloved and frequented by many celebrities, including Robert De Niro! This restaurant also has locations in London and Barcelona ;so lucky for you if you are in any of these cities.
Right before we entered the restaurant, we were greeted with the most wonderful sight: a display of fresh seafood tempting us! My mouth was watering even before I sat down.
When I walked into the restaurant, I looked over and there sitting at the table was a good friend of mine, Tony May, who also lives in NYC!! Don’t you love these synchronicities? Tony is the ultimate Italian restauranteur; in 1957, May arrived in New York City from Naples, Italy. He worked at 21 Club and Delmonico, ran the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center, and then opened several critically acclaimed restaurants, including Palio, San Domenico NY, Gemelli, and SD-26. Many a famous chef honed his chops under Tony’s wing.
We found Tony sitting with the owner, Johnny of Assunta Madre whom he knows very well. He was as surprised to see us as we were to see him, and we of course wanted to catch up. Luckily, there was an empty table right beside him so we sat down and had one of the most extraordinary seafood meals of my lifetime.
In true Italian local style, the restaurant has two fishing boats that go out every single day and bring fresh fish back to the restaurant. There is no middle man, no purveyors, and DEFINITELY no freezer. Everything that comes in fresh that morning goes out that night!
The way that they make the fish and serve it is so simple but so incredible. They serve the fish raw with just a simple preparation of the freshest olive oil and sea salt. This is the first time in my life that I have ever eaten raw shrimp.
It was all so simple and yet so perfectly fresh and delicious then they served us cooked baby calamari and after that my favorite -pasta spaghetti Alla vongole.
This meal summed up everything I love about Italy- fresh seafood, amazing food, great conversation, lovely dinner companions, and many bottles of local Italian wine!
After all the incredible experiences I’ve had so far this summer, you’d think that I’d be burnt out. Not me! Stay tuned next week when I recount my experience at one of the best tea parties I’ve ever attended in Southern California!