I ate at Imago on my last night in Rome in a party of three. Dining experiences earlier in the week included Pergola (***) and Oliver Glowig (**). Here goes:
Location: Situated on the sixth floor of the Hassler, the restaurant has its own private elevator in the lobby. Upon arrival upstairs you are greeted with a sweeping view of Rome. The dining room is modern in style with adequate spacing between tables. Lighting is on the dusky side but this is offset by superb views of the Eternal City with many tables having unobstructed views of St. Peters.
Food: Imago offers a number of options, with an a la carte menu along with three separate degustation menus: a nine-course classic tasting menu, a vegetarian multi-course option, and an “Inspiration” menu alternative. Somewhat intrigued, we chose the latter which is a creative exercise where the Chef de Cuisine and sommelier work together spontaneously to come up with a menu based on the diner’s guidance and the Chef/Sommelier’s originality. This was the ideal choice for a table with different likes/dislikes and a great way to see what the kitchen was capable of delivering. Our menu was six courses with not a single false note. The highlight for me was the white truffle risotto (with the former shaved tableside) along with a glass of Terre Alte Livio Felluga (2009). Excellent!
Service: As a diner who almost always eats alone, one of the pleasures of the evening was watching the service-staff operate like an orchestra. All of our individual preferences were honored (without exception) and the knowledge of the team was second-to-none. There was a perfect combination of formality, politeness, and witty humor throughout the evening from the entire crew. We were never pressed to finish our courses and topping off of water and wine were timely without being intrusive.
Summary: As of this writing I have eaten at almost 40 Michelin-starred restaurants on three continents. Taking into account the ambience, service, and (most importantly) food this has to be a top-five overall experience. Mr. Apreda and his team delivered one of the most memorable dining experiences in all my years of travel. I look forward to a return visit in the years to come and predict a second star for these guys in the next 2-3 years.
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