Piazza delle Cinque Scole, 30, Rome, Italy
Rome is an incredible city that’s basically a living museum, with good food and rude service. Sora Margherita is a brilliant example of both.
We found a bright yellow door tucked away in a little piazza, and a line at the door 30 minutes before opening time. We joined the queue and hoped they’d give us a seat despite not being Roman.
I say Roman, not Italian, because many Romans feel they’re an entity unto themselves. They’re often pretty rude not just to visitors from other countries, but visitors from other parts of Italy, too. We had a big leg up on most other international visitors because I speak Italian, but if you think that earned us friendly service…
We were shoved into the tiny restaurant and taken to a table for 6, where we were each sandwiched in between two portly locals. We were handed menus, and left to our own devices for a while. When our waitress eventually came back, I had the audacity to ask what one of their pasta dishes had in it (there were no ingredients listed in the menu, it just had a bit of a vague name indicating it was a special of some sort). I couldn’t tell if she was more offended I dared speak to her in Italian as a foreigner or if I dared question the dish. My husband was mortified; I did my best not to laugh.
The pasta was worth it – a bowl of cacio e pepe, and a bowl of whatever the special was – turned out it was a perfect, plain tomato sauce, smothered in finely grated parmesan cheese, just like Nonna makes. Half a litre of house red washed it down nicely, and we were pretty full. But not our neighbours.
We were full from our deceptively big bowls of pasta, ready to pay and make our way out. But looking around, we realised that the locals don’t stuff around at lunch time. No shared entree and a bowl of pasta; by the time we were done, they’d already made their way through a salad, a warm entree, a good litre of wine, and were starting to tuck into their pasta dishes, while wondering aloud how long their next dishes would take to come out. And then there’d be coffee and dessert.
Sora Margherita is the ultimate Roman dining experience – homely feel, stereotypical cranky service, movie-setting piazza location, and really really good food.