I’m often asked what is Dall’Antò? A good answer may be a venue where you can sit at a communal table and spend hours leafing through a library of gastronomic treasures while eating traditional flatbread, crepes and roasted vegetables OR a shop where you can enjoy a glass of wine with baccalà mantecato (salt cod mousse) sandwiched between farinata (baked chickpea flour flatbread) OR an eatery where you can nosh on honey and hazelnut biscotti with a caffé alla napoletana OR why not all three?Last week, I spent the afternoon with Antonio Menconi, Dall’Antò co-founder, learning more about the restaurant/library/eatery.
GT: Why did you open Dall’Antò?
AM: It is a business/marketing project backed by a political vision. We refer to as ADA, arte degli altri.
GT: Can you tell me more?
AM: More often than not the ingredients used by restaurants to create each dish are hidden even if the initial ingredients are stellar. It’s about the chef. We believe in the opposite. We source our flour, olive oil, cheese, etc from people who we are artists/artisans. They are small producers who have the need for someone to market and explain the quality of their products to the public. Our goal is to do just that by introducing our customers to the small producers, championing them, their work and their passion. Dall’Antò uses cheese from Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi, olive oil from Colli Etruschi, and flour and chickpeas from Poggi. They are all artists.
GT: What are the three must-eat dishes for a first time visitor to Dall’Antò?
AM: Definitely farinata (baked chickpea flour flatbread and extra virgin olive oil), the neccio di castagne (chestnut flour crepe), and the rotolo di pane carasau (traditional Sardinian flatbread made from durum wheat which is rolled and filled with cheese) because they are three diverse and representative dishes of simple food.
GT: Which version of farinata do you recommend?
AM: Start with a slice of plain farinata. Taste the ingredients that make up this basic flat bread, chickpeas from Poggi and Colli Etruschi olive oil, and then move on to a slice of farinata with Capperi (capers) di Selargius (Sardegna). It’s about the ingredients.
GT: What filling is best for neccio di castagne?
AM: Goat’s milk or sheep’s milk ricotta, or stracchino. Our cheese is made by Beppe of Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi in the regions of Piedmont, Tuscany and Lazio while the DOP chestnut flour is from Carrara and Viterbo. The quality of most chestnut flour available in supermarkets is poor. Producing chestnut flour is a long and laborious process. The chestnuts need to be dried out and the outer shell and inner husk must be completely removed. If not you’re left with an astringent tasting flour.
GT: Can you tell me about the rotolo di pane carasau?
Address: Via Madonna dei Monti 16; telephone +39.06.6780712.
Open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 to 23:00 and Sundays from 12:00 to 15:00. Closed Mondays.