The manager of the Roman hotel in which we stayed gave us several excellent restaurant recommendations, singling out La Dispensa as her personal favorite place to dine. She made us a reservation there for a special meal our last night in Rome, and we quickly discovered the reason for her raves about the place. La Dispensa is a small, elegantly casual establishment located alongside the Tiber in a quiet neighborhood not far from the Vatican. The hostess brought us the evening's menu on a chalkboard and walked us through all of the selections. To begin my partner chose a lovely salad of sliced pears on a bed of greens with walnut dressing, and I ordered the frizelli of marinated sardines and cherry tomatos on arugula served with toast and slices of burratina, a mild mozarella-like cheese. Both of us ordered filets of beef, simply and perfectly grilled with olive oil and fresh lemon. The steaks were astoundingly good-- tender, juicy and wonderfully flavorful. La Dispensa's house-made desserts are equally scrumptious. We opted for chocolate cake with strawberries baked inside and cheesecake topped with frutti dei boschi. The house wines were excellent, as well. La Dispensa is a little out of the way, but most definitely worth seeking out.
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