The evening at La Pergola began with views of the beautiful city of Rome. The restaurant is atop the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, perched upon a hill. This could possibly be the best view of Rome.
I arrived a bit before my reservation, so I went for a negroni in the waiting area. It goes without saying that the drink tasted great and looked gorgeous.
I was excited to get this 3 Michelin starred meal started and headed to the table. The restaurant offers an à la carte menu, but of course, I went with the 10 course tasting menu along with the wine pairing to see what they could really offer.
The restaurant offers a very luxurious ambiance. Even though it was early on a weekday, the restaurant was quite full. I loved the decoration of the dining room, very high-end.
The meal started with three different amuse bouches. All were lovely, but I especially appreciated the potato. I was also introduced to their large water menu. I started with a very low mineral water and then as the meal went on, the server increased the level of minerals. Water is not often something I pay too much attention to, but during this meal I truly noticed the differences, especially in level of minerals. Now I know that I prefer high-mineral water, live and learn.
Another interesting part of this dinner experience would have to be the salt selection. They offer you a choice of six different salts from six different parts of the world. I went with an Iranian salt to accompany my bread and Italian olive oil.
It was finally time to start the first course. The first dish was the amberjack marinated in white balsamic vinegar with pomegranate snow. This was gorgeously presented and offered a subtle yet enjoyable flavor. Following was a smoked scallop tartar and red beet shell. This had a bit more punch to it, and more up my alley.
I was so happy that this meal included some traditional Italian dishes. The first I’m referring to was the Fagottelli “La Pergola.” This were small raviolis filled with liquid. When you bite into them, they explode in your mouth, this added a real wow factor to the dish.
I was very excited to try another traditional Italian dish, which was the zucchini flower. This was a deep fried zucchini flour with caviar on shellfish and saffron consommé. Once again, an incredibly gorgeous dish and at that point in the meal, it was my favorite. Little did I know, my life was about to change!
The thing about the meal at La Pergola, was that the dishes just kept getting better and better. The flavors just kept getting more and more exciting! Bring it on!
The next dish that I was quite fond of would be the composition of John Dory, squid and red shrimp in citrus fruit steam. This was very enjoyable indeed. It had a plethora of flavors which all balanced each other. It almost felt like a home-cooked meal but a bit more complex. Splendid.
It was about this time in the meal that chef Heinz Beck invited me back to the kitchen to take a look. The level of energy in the kitchen was off the charts! After a little small talk, it was back to my food marathon.
By far, my favorite dish of the meal was the fillet of venison on chestnut cream with vegetables, tubers and seasonal fruit. Honestly, it was much better than any other venison that I’ve ever had in my life. No gamy flavor here! Just pure enjoyment with complex yet very enjoyable flavors. Definitely a home run with the venison!
I was then informed that the cheeses were on their way. Recently, I’ve become much fonder of cheese than I ever thought I would. I chose taleggio, a Pinot Noir crusted cheese and a blue cheese with rum and cacao. I even fell in love with the very intense blue cheese. Wonderful!
After cheese was dessert. First was the dessert called “The sun…” which is really hard to explain but take a look at the presentation. You literally get to scrape it off of a light-box. It was tasty as well which definitely was very important! Dry parts and moist parts got me slightly confused, but in a good way. Wink.
The final dessert was the iced sphere of wild berries on tea cream with crystallized raspberries. This was a frozen sphere that you had to break through. Mixing together with the raspberries and all the other flavors made this for a very creative and tasty dessert as well. However, I must say that the sun was still my favorite dessert of the evening!
Just when you think you can’t stuff anymore food down your throat, they brought out a box of chocolate and the coffee menu. I went for a Jamaican coffee called blue mountain, that packed a bold punch. This was a great way to finish off the meal and I must say that I was very happy!
When I finished the last bite of chocolate, I must say I was in a food heaven, or perhaps, a food coma? The food along with the wine pairings were generally all fantastic! At the beginning of the meal, I’ll admit, that some of the subtle flavors didn’t excite me so much, but then, in a very dramatic fashion, the food just got better and better. The evening took me on a magical food journey and for this, it’s obvious that the creators are true professionals. The service was fantastic. This would definitely be a place that you should go out of your way to visit just as the Michelin guide suggests. All in all, I can highly recommend you to visit La Pergola in Rome!
Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101, 00136 Roma, Italy
Phone: +39 06 3509 2152