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“Best meal ever!”
Review of Fontana Vecchia

Fontana Vecchia
Ranked #1 of 208 Restaurants in Frascati
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Best meal ever!”
Reviewed 26 March 2013

My family and I were visiting italy in search of the best Italian meal. Of course we didn't think we would be lucky during this trip because we had tried a few with good results but not great. This restaurant was like being fed by the Angels. Every dish was top notch. The polenta, mussels , seafood pasta dish and the local frascati wine were my favorites. The chef/owner waited on us and cooked our food she was the sweetest person we met during our entire trip to Italy. Believe me this is worth the 20 min train trip to Frascati from Rome. Do not visit Rome without stopping in for a full meal. You will not be disappointed.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank moonKc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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356 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Hayling Island, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
73 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2013

Although we were in the area for just a few days, we returned to the restaurant to sample the meat dishes as well as the original fish we had on our prior visit. We were not disappointed.

The staff were very helpful and attentive, and the chef, who spoke the best English, was hovering over us like a humming bird - she was delightful.

The food was excellent, and if you are minded, ask the chef to make whatever she recommends - you will not be let down. In our case, on the fish evening, we had a white fish marinaded in lemon and a heavenly tuna steak baked with pistachio nuts.

For the meat evening, we enjoyed ravioli with porcine mushrooms and sauce - yum. For the main course I had a very simple steak with rosemary. Simple but great ingredients and perfectly cooked. On the chefs recommendation, we had a chocolate fondant with ice cream. The best I have ever tasted.

Cannot recommend it highly enough.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Steven B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
rome italy
Level Contributor
77 reviews
56 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“One of the two or three best places in Frascati”
Reviewed 22 December 2012

For a town of 22,000 people, Frascati has several really good restaurants that offer excellent value. Two or three of these places really stand out, and Fontana Vecchia is one of them. The restaurant is run by a fortyish couple who have been in the business for a while, are passionate about what they do, and really seek to build a faithful clientele by treating their customers to something special. And the locals who go once do return often! (I myself try to get there at least once a year---most recently last night.) Tourists won't happen across it by chance---the place is in a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of town---but should absolutely make it a point to go.

The menu is divided into two columns---sea on the left, and land on the right. I have every confidence that the land menu is wonderful, but in truth, have never ordered from it, because Fontana Vecchia's distinction is really fish and seafood, all of which is wonderfully fresh. Either side of the menu is divided into antipasti, primi, and secondi, all of which are so imaginative and succulent sounding that it can be very difficult to choose. One tip: the portions of antipasti quite generous, while the portions of primi and secondi, while certainly abundant, leave you with a little space. This makes it easy to mix and match: just treat antipasti, primi, and secondi on an equal footing and order two dishes to start---you can always order more later. Here are some recommendations based on my experience last night. For antipasti, the souté di cozze e vongole arrived as a steaming mountain of fresh mussels and clams in red-pepper and garlic infused oil to pick apart with your fingers---it could have easily been a secondo given the size but my 13-year old devoured it in a heartbeat. Crostini di polenta con ragout di tonno---polenta slices, soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, with a little dollop of tomato sauce prepared with chunks of fresh tuna---the description speaks for itself. Parmigiana di mare---imagine eggplant parmesan, but with thin slices of baked fish in place of the eggplant (but the with the eggplant notionally present as skins shredded and crisped and sprinkled over the top). Primi: tagliatelle (homemade and almost as broad as pappardelle) topped with crab and cherry tomato, served with the giant pieces of crab used to make the sautée, including a succulent claw. Spaghetti alla chitarra with shrimp and pistachio pesto---as good as it sounds and one of my favorite dishes (I was disappointed that I couldn't order it last night because I also wanted the crab tagliatelle---these are some tough problems to have!) Chick-pea flour gnochetti with mussels---these are a bit firmer than normal gnocchi, and perfectly soak up the taste of the mussels. Classic secondi like grilled calamari and frittura di mare are easy to order and share to complete a meal. As a contorno, last night my son asked for the spadellata di carciofi croccanti---think artichoke-petal potato chips---which wasn't on the menu because artichokes aren't really in season right now, but they were able to make it for him anyway. Another tip: wash it all down with generous quantities of the house white---La Marmorella, locally produced and sold unbottled by Tenuta Le Quinte in Colonna, about 5 miles away. This is an economical, local, genuine, and 100% satisfying alternative to paying for a bottle (or bottles). If you still have space, the dessert menu is also excellent. Lemon sorbet is prepared with prosecco, perfectly finishing a seafod dinner. A tris of panne cotte with nut flavors was particularly noteworthy---three small portions of panna cotta of different flavors. A remarkable aspect of this dessert is how the texture changes in each case: the hazelnut is firm, the almond is light and foamy, and the pistachio is rich, creamy, and sublime.

The above dinner for five (two courses each plus dessert, with house wine) was €145. We came away perfectly satifsfied, but not feeling heavy. Considering that this was an excellent meal based on fresh seafood, I consider that to be excellent value. The service was professional and attentive, with, for example, two servers at our table to ensure that all of the food arrived at the same time---not the kind of service you normally get for under €30 per person.

Call ahead to reserve. You will not get in otherwise. The place is not tiny---there are two dining rooms each of which can seat about 30---but groups do come and can easily close one of the rooms. The place is very popular. If you made it this far into this review, you'll know why!

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
3 Thank mulsone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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