Ba”Ghetto: Roman Cuisine with a Jewish Twist

Carciofa alla Romana at Ba"Ghetto

I’ve only been to Rome twice, but both times I’ve visited the Jewish Quarter, best known as the “ghetto,” just over the bridge from the funky neighborhood of Trastevere where we like to stay. Last time, my visit was about the history of Jews in Italy—I took in the Jewish Museum—but this time, it was about the food!

The centerpiece of the neighborhood is the Synagogue and Jewish Museum, built in 1904 on the site of the old synagogue that had been here for centuries. Like the Marais in Paris, the traditionally Jewish area is now a trendy neighborhood that’s very expensive to live in, but there are still predominantly Jewish-owned shops and restaurants.

Hummus and falafel

Like any tourist area, there are lots of restaurants geared to foreigners, and it’s hard to know which ones are the best. Following our instincts, we grabbed a table at the kosher dairy restaurant Ba”Ghetto Milky Kosher, and it’s truly a winner. (There are two Ba”Ghettos; this one doesn’t serve meat.)

Ba”Ghetto means “in the ghetto” in Roman dialect. The restaurant serves Italian food with a Hebrew spin, and Jewish Italian classics like fried artichokes, or carciofi alla giudia, along with light Middle eastern fare like tabouli salad.

Milky Big Salad, aka Insalatona Milky

We loved every bite of our food, starting with a plate of lemony hummus and small, fluffy medallions of falafel. For my main course, I had my dream salad, the excellent “Milky Big Salad” with anchovies, avocado, “rocket” (arugula), and generous slabs of Parmesan in a light oregano and lemon dressing.

James had the Ravioli Al Ba”ghetto, a Jewish quarter take on an Italian classic. These large ravioli were stuffed with a creamy filling of asparagus, ricotta, and grouper fish. It was served with a real deal, cooked-all-day tomato sauce, and tender cherry tomatoes. It’s a uniquely delicious take on ravioli, as well as satisfying.

Perhaps the highlight of the meal was the Carciofa Alla Romana, a whole artichoke braised in oil, lemon juice, and herbs. It was cooked perfectly and was so tender you could eat every little bit, even the fibrous purple-colored leaves.

Ba”Ghetto Milky: Via del Portico d’Ottavia, 2 – Rome, 39.06.6830.0077

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