When in Rome… visit the best restaurant: La Pergola

The Executive Explorer travels to the world-renowned 3 Michelin Star restaurant La Pergola in the heart of Rome to sample 10 courses of the very best food and wine.
Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Editor In Chief at The Executive Magazine


Set against the beautiful backdrop of the eternal city, La Pergola is Rome’s first and only 3 Michelin Star restaurant, located in the 5-star Rome Cavalieri hotel in the hills of Monte Mario. With a panoramic view from the floor to ceiling windows and outdoor terrace, the setting is perfect for a truly magnificent culinary experience.

3 Michelin Stars is the highest accolade a restaurant can receive, honoured not only for the quality of the food, but the service standards, the venue character and a whole host of other factors, and La Pergola exceeds them all in elegant fashion.

With a global reputation as a destination fine-dining restaurant for visitors from all over the world, La Pergola is fully booked for months in advance. The creation of international owner-chef extraordinaire Heinz Back, the restaurant is opulent and glamorous, with a Neoclassic Italian Renaissance feel. Dinner jackets are required for gentlemen as you would expect in such a high-end establishment.

The 10 course tasting menu is the best way to sample the inventive and innovative dishes created by Beck and his team. We were recommended the wine pairing option, which has been curated by award winning head sommelier Marco Reitano. The cellars hold 53,000 bottles, with a strong emphasis on Italian wines to pay homage to local vineyards.

As soon as you step foot into the restaurant, the service is faultless, the attentive staff take care of your every need, with the utmost care taken to ensure you feel welcome and comfortable.

First on the agenda is water and bread. Not usually a big deal for most restaurants, but La Pergola presents a huge selection of bottles from all over the world, we opted for a crisp Sicilian mineral water. The warm homemade bread is served with a choice of different oils and salt, from Himalayan red to flaky sea salt. This obsessive attention to detail is just a taste of things to come.

A range of light Amuse-bouche are presented, each delicate and tasty, along with the first wine – a sweet, creamy white to act as a palate cleanser, followed by the starters, which include Duck foie gras with pear and ginger, and Heart of lettuce, which is stewed at high pressure with scents of free-range chicken.  Our favourite starter is the Scallops with artichokes and black truffle which was cooked to perfection.

The small-plate mains soon followed, which included the Spring lobster served with a unique and enticing pea-mint jus, and a Red Mullet fillet with spinach, lemon and raisins which was light, flavoursome and delicate. But the pièce de résistance is the Heinz Beck signature Fagotelli carbonara, a fresh ravioli-style pasta filled with a creamy sauce, with each mouthful a burst of flavour. A truly unique and exciting dish, with taste and texture combinations which is a testament to the technical dexterity of the chef required to produce such artistic and delicious food. The wide range of elegant wines selected for each dish have their own unique characteristics, including light and buttery whites, to full bodied fruity reds. Each has it’s own story, with the expert servers describing the grape, the region and the barrelling processes, all adding to the culinary journey.

The precision and delicacy of each dish is astounding, presented with faultless execution, bursting with intense yet not overbearing flavours. Each mouthful is a unique and exhilarating experience, and each plate is a shrine to Mediterranean haute cuisine.

On to desserts, which comprised of a selection of  beautifully presented delicate masterful dishes. The Ricotta cream with marzipan, soft pistachio and sorbet of candied orange was light, sweet, and indulged all the senses. As well as a selection of fine cheeses from the trolley, and as a final touch, a tiny cabinet with hidden compartments filled with hand made chocolate perfectly finished off the evening.

After our meal we had the privilege of meeting with chef Beck, who told us “we have been fully booked every night for the past 23 years, I’m extremely proud, and strive to continue creating an unforgettable experience for all of our guests.”

A restaurant of this calibre is worthy of the travel, and the long waiting list demonstrates the demand. The attention to detail is unmatched, and a nice touch is the personalised menu which is handed to you as you leave, so you can fondly reminisce on the evening. To avoid disappointment be sure to book with plenty of time.

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