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FREEtto Restaurant & Take Away, Rome

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FREEtto is a take away/dine in restaurant focused on Italian fine fried food. At the moment they have two restaurants, the first in the city center near to via Veneto, which is the one we visited, and the second (bigger) one near the Collie Albani metro station, and more are due to open soon. We’d heard that they do excellent food, using organic ingredients, with plenty of options for vegetarians and those with other preferences and since they were easy to get to on foot (many vegetarian places in Rome are a metro ride out and we didn’t want the bother of that after a day sightseeing) we paid them a visit.
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One wall was covered with green modelling lichen, the sort you’d make fake trees from on architectural model or train sets, there were seats for about ten people and other decoration came in the form of a tree suspended from the ceiling with it’s roots encased in a coffee sack.

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The menu written on a chalk board was in Italian, as you’d expect…

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… but Francesco, the chef, speaks good English and happily interpreted for us.

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They try and keep it seasonal when it comes to ingredients, he said, and everything is cooked fresh to order. If we have any allergies or preferences, we were to let him know and he’d work with the ingredients to make the food good for us. He explained the various dishes – it all seemed great for those who are trying to be healthy but having a day off yet still interested in the environment and organic food movement – and we ordered a selection, as well as a coke and water to drink (there was also a range of beers to choose from).

Our dinner was served less than ten minutes after we’d ordered. The first thing we noticed was that the food, despite being deep fried, didn’t seem greasy or oily at all. Lamia also liked the cute wooden boat shaped serving platters with wooden sticks for utensils.

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These first things that came to us, pictured above, are called suppli, they’re made from rice mainly and are lightly crunchy outside and pleasantly gooey inside and ours had a mixture of fillings and seasonings; tomato and beef, bacon and pecorino cheese, parmesan cheese and pepper and plain tomato.

Considering their size (see the photo below) and tastiness, they were excellent value at €1.20 each.

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Next up was pizzotte, or fried pizza. It reminded me of a light English muffin topped with rich tomato sauce and an olive and was another great value snack at just €1.50.

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In the same wooden boat as the pizza came a calzoni, which was basically a fried, light dough pizza-pie stuffed with mozzarella and ham. Like all we were to try at Freetto, it was a winner.

Next came our gnocchi fritti.

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It was exactly as you’d expect; soft little chewy balls of potato topped with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. It was a large serving, and just €5.

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Our next serving were similar to the suppli in appearance but much heavier.

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The first ball was a Polpettine di pollo al curry. To translate, it was a chicken curry and rice mix. Lamia said it reminded her of a Bengali kebab experience; the curry seasoning was perfect.

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The second ball was Polpettine di manzo & lime (beef & lime). It smelt like Chapli kabab, said Lamia; I thought the lime very refreshing. Both were sizeable and filling considering the price (€1.30).

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Finally, Lamia had the Zoccolette alla Nutella. We were both full by now but she couldn’t resist dough balls covered in Nutella.

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“This is lovely,” Lamia said, “just the smell of it reminds me of theme park food and the taste brings back happy childhood memories. You know, this whole meal makes me imagine that a bunch of stoner friends got together and said ‘hey man, let’s just fry everything’, and here we are. It’s so simple and so good. If I lived in Rome I’d make this Nutella dish my weekly special treat, for sure. It’s only €3 and it’s delicious.”

We think that FREEtto is a great stop for lunch or a light dinner. Locals of all ages were in there when we ate and even though it’s only a fifteen minute walk from the budget hotels around Termini Station we were the only non-Italian’s, which isn’t something you can say for many eateries in Rome. It’s cheap, tasty food, full of good, organic ingredients and equally importantly it’s very filling. We were certainly very satisfied when we came away.

Discover more at http://www.freetto.it/

If you can’t understand Italian then just put the addresses into Google maps and find your way there, the staff speak English and we’re sure that you’ll have a great, uncomplicated, cheap meal. The addresses are;

Via Silvio Spaventa, 20 – 00187 ROMA – this one is central, near Barberini Metro

and L.go Colli Albani 9/10 – 00179 ROMA

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