Often at a restaurant you know what to expect. You know more or less how the pasta will taste and you can predict that the steak will be served in the same traditional manner it’s always served. Sometimes I’ve mentally deliberated and selected from the menu before I’ve even stepped out the house. At Prisco Ristorante, whether you choose an entirely new creation, or a traditional favorite with a twist, prepare yourself for a dinner done differently.
The team prides themselves on creating high quality and unique dishes executed with great attention to detail. I spoke to Maximiliano Gigliucci, actor turned business partner, marketer, and spokesperson for the restaurant.
“My favorite thing about this job is the relationships I have with the customers. When I see them go outside with a smile, relaxed, when the night ends they thank me and leave us feeling good. I want the restaurant to be ‘your home in Prati’. If you want to eat incredible food, come here. The price is normal, for all the people, but the quality and service is top.”
Gigliucci came on board with owners and brothers Francesco and Federico Prisco two months ago. “I have known them for twenty years, not really as friends but socially, since one of them, Federico, used to be a bouncer. More recently, they wanted to entrust the restaurant to someone to continue their work. My dream was to open a restaurant so when I came here I loved it immediately.” Now, the two brothers work the lunch shift while Gigliucci oversees dinner.
Charming and personable, Gigliucci seems like the perfect person to greet you at the door. He’s also not shy when it comes to singing the praises of the business. “We’re not a restaurant with (Michelin) stars, but the plates of food here are like art. The table settings, the flowers and candles, the atmosphere; all make you feel good inside when you come.”
Also clearly passionate about the work here, are chefs Ciro Scorza and Gianfranco Nardelli. With almost 40 years experience between them in the kitchen, they both consider themselves creative chefs who push each other to create an original menu.
“The menu is born of out of our experience, not what we’ve seen on TV or in magazines. They are real invented dishes, or are revisited. First we test them in the kitchen; then the owners and Maxi taste them. If they appreciate the dishes then they pass the test, and we add them to the menu,” Scorza explains.
Menu choices may vary based on season; but some of the most popular summer original specialties include a crunchy tuna tartare, rigatoni with swordfish, tomatoes and olives, and a swordfish steak seasoned with ginger and orange. Of course, the classic Roman dishes are popular for a reason, so you will by all means find a selection here, albeit conceived differently to the norm.
“For example, our amatriciana is different in respect to the amatriciana that you eat in another restaurant. Instead of making it with guanciale, which has a soft texture, we make it with pancetta. We make the pancetta crunchy and take out the fat, and place it on top of the pasta. It has a beautiful flavor, so it’s a traditional plate revisited by us, using our methods and in our style.” Another recommendation from chef Scorza is the carbonara, which comes with added almonds for a typical Prisco finish.
Naturally, the ingredient selection comes first so these modifications come and go with the changing of the seasons. You may find fish from Terracina, fruit from Testaccio market, and bread from the Roscioli Bakery just a few streets away from the restaurant. Not forgetting the accompaniment to your meal, you can choose from a selection of wines, with two or three varieties coming from each region of Italy.
The team at Prisco are confident that their unique style will not only tempt you away from your usual choice of restaurant, but that their endeavors to create the perfect dining experience will leave you satisfied. As Gigliucci tells me, “If you don’t like it, I’ll eat it for you!”