While just over a block from Saint Peter's Basilica, La Caletta is completely off the beaten tourist track, being on the "wrong side" of the Vatican. Moreover, you could easily walk right by it without a second thought, but this would be a grave mistake--if you love seafood.
Rome has several excellent upscale seafood restaurants but few as understated, reasonably priced, and simply delicious as La Caletta. The fact that it is so easy to overlook also has preserved La Caletta from taking on any semblance of a tourist vibe. Mostly locals eat there, and people in the know.
It isn't just that this restaurant, under the watchful eye of its amiable proprietor Alessandro Gullotto, serves up a great meal with style. It also offers funky innovations (without going overboard) that give it a distinctive character.
A case in point is La Caletta's emblematic fresh oyster pairing with its signature gin and tonic. The oysters are served raw on the half shell and the G&T comes in a big-bowled wine glass with colorful fruit garnishes. The waiter will also provide you with an optional gin spray to complement your oysters, which can be used in place of the usual lemon squeeze.
The prices are remarkably reasonable (I disagree with the $$$$ rating), which is virtually unseen on the Rome seafood circuit. As an example, a glass of La Caletta's truly delicious house champagne--from a smaller producer rather than a major champagne house--costs just €12, despite the fact that the pour is as generous as any I have ever seen.
Oh, the shrimp zucchini rolls are so delicious you will want to weep.
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