Fine dining.
Fresh sea urchins.

Rome’s seafood temple

TEXT: VICKI MORRISON | PHOTOS © IL TIEMPO DE ISIDE

Every morning, as local fisherman haul in their loads, Francesco Tripodi, the owner of Il Tempio di Iside, one of Rome’s finest seafood restaurants, eagerly waits for the daily fish auction to begin. Francesco ensures he walks away with only the highest quality fish and crustaceans: “My customers deserve the very best,” he says.

At the entrance to his restaurant, just a few feet from the Coliseum, cascades of Royal Red prawns and scampi on ice tempt diners as they arrive, as do tanks filled with live lobsters and the restaurant’s famous Alaskan king crabs.

As diners make their way through their abundant courses, Francesco brings his charismatic warmth to the floor, welcoming guests in the two upstairs rooms, and in the atmospheric, medieval vault below. Meanwhile, his brother Giuseppe is passionately creating signature dishes like sea truffles, tuna tartare, stuffed cuttlefish or spaghetti with fish and capers. His philosophy is that the best food is fresh, simple and traditional, with their menu reflecting seasonal produce and the local catch of the day.

Antipasti can be eaten ‘crudi’, (raw) or ‘cotto’ (cooked), and served alongside dishes such as Carpaccio frutta di mare (marinated raw shrimp, sea urchin and oysters), calamari stuffed with artichokes, stuffed swordfish or fried mini squid, to name a few. Mains include handmade pasta with fresh seafood sauce, such as Fusilli con gamberi (prawns with cherry tomatoes and pecorino cheese), as well as fresh fish of the day cooked to your choice; under salt, grilled, or in the oven with zucchini, olives and tomatoes, Roman style.

Il Tempio di Iside also has an equally fine selection of Italian and global wines, from a Tuscan Chianti Classico Doc to a Burgundy Pinot Noir Grand Cru or a Sauvignon premium from as far afield as New Zealand.

Francesco’s wife, Rosely and Giuseppe’s wife, Cristina, enthusiastically support the running of this popular Roman restaurant. “All our family play a part in making our restaurant a success,” Rosely says. “We love it; it’s our life!”

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