Escape the touristy center of Rome and head to a neighborhood filled with history, nightlife, and one of the finest seafood dining experiences in the city.
Take a break from the bustle of Rome’s historic center and discover the area known as Ponte Milvio. Named for the famous bridge where Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, decided to convert to Christianity in 312 CE, a decisive moment for the Eternal City, today the area’s central piazza, as well as the famous Viale di Tor di Quinto and Via Flaminia, are abuzz with cafés, ice cream bars, pastry shops, happy hour spots, and restaurants.
Known by Romans for its buzzing atmosphere, there’s no doubt why three young entrepreneurs chose this sprawling neighborhood to be the home of their new restaurant in Via Flaminia – a locale that merges exquisitely prepared seafood and a sophisticated cocktail bar in one chic location.
Harbour Bistro di Mare, in this historic area of Rome, exudes an air of informal elegance welcoming guests into its cocktail bar that opens up into one large dining room and a smaller and more intimate private room with a window overlooking the restaurant’s kitchen.
Built on the guiding philosophy of its three founders – Nicholas Sarno, Eleonora Zirilli, and Fabrizio Sannino – Harbour’s focus is on the quality of the raw materials it uses, and on a real passion for this work. The three have attended to every detail, including designing the division of the restaurant’s spaces, the choice of furnishings, and the selection of distributors and partners who are just as passionate as they are.
Fish is the great protagonist of Harbour Bistro and its chef Alessio Pittacci is entrusted with the noble task of creating the traditional but revisited dishes of the restaurant. The choice, the chef explains, is varied, but the most important ingredient is the love he puts into it.
“I trained in my family’s restaurant and although I am only 38 years old, I have spent a good 25 years in kitchens,” Pitacci recounts. “To gain experience I traveled a lot and for some years my career took place abroad, especially in Latin America, a land of inspiration today for the creation of my dishes. I love to cook well, with attention to details, that’s why I like to cook for few people.”
At the bistro the approach to cooking is simple: use only the highest quality products and work them as little as possible. The menu starts with an aperitif, served with a selection of tapas such as salmon carpaccio accompanied by guacamole and sautéed onions; octopus served on a cream of rosemary cannellini; steamed tuna with an Argentine sauce; or pink shrimp ceviche with passion fruit and plantain chips.
The menu continues with a variety of meticulously prepared first courses that revisit Italian classics, like the buckwheat noodles with tuna, sun-dried tomatoes, and mint, with a scent of lime.
Of course, seafood is the star of Harbour’s second-course selections as well. Refined creations adorn the menu with offerings such as lobster Catalana with a Barolo wine reduction, and fried squid served with guacamole. The menu also features the catch of the day, tartare of the day, fresh carpaccio, oysters Gillardeau, red prawns from Mazzara, and Sicilian sea truffles – all from the Mediterranean.
Harbour also boasts a top-notch wine cellar offering an array of bubblies and still wines to pair with every dish.
Rounding up the restaurant’s menu is a tempting list of desserts, from classic favorites to original recipes like the slow-cooked pear served with homemade peach sorbet and a dusting of caramelized walnuts.
Conclude the evening with a stroll through the piazza and a moment on the ponte famous in Italy as a lover’s bridge. Food, love, and history are eternal in Rome.