Thursday, November 30, 2017

200 Reviews of Rome: Orso 80

Orso 80


2 Stars

First of all, I'd like to apologize to Orso 80. I had a really lovely five days off from work and it was so great hanging out with my wife and going for long walks that when it came time to go back to work I just felt...


Just, you know, generally, mad.

So I needed someone quick to take it out on. But probably it would be better if it wasn't a co-worker, or a patron, or someone like that. And what more is there to say about Republicans, even if they richly deserve it. And if I take it out on the Refs of La Liga, the Spanish Soccer League, it'll all get too emotional.

And that's when Orso 80 popped into my mind.

The sad thing about Orso 80 is we went there more than a decade ago, and though it wasn't great, or even terribly good, they brought all these large bowls of food to our table, vegetables, meatballs, stuffed things, tomatoey things, and it was charming. It was like our own personal buffet on our own personal table. A buffet without shuffling around and mixing with the hoi polloi! We were delighted.

I'm not big on the hoi polloi.

So one night in Rome last year I said "Let's go to Orso 80 for dinner." It was down the street from us, sort of, and just opening for the night. Lots of people were waiting to get in. Almost all at once we were all seated, and almost all at once we filled the restaurant. There was even a strange sense of occasion to it.

They brought us water, wine, menus.

Do you ever go to a restaurant and you look at the menu and absolutely nothing appeals to you? But then, just before you start to panic, just before you have to start inventing an interest in something, you see it. Right there on the menu is exactly what you want but didn't even know you wanted. Unanticipated, unexpected, it is exactly what you were dreaming of eating, the perfect thing for dinner.

This happened to me at Orso 80!

It was the swordfish, cooked Sicilian style. That sounds good doesn't it? I don't remember what "Sicilian Style" meant. I think maybe it had to do with lemons and pine nuts, maybe? Whatever. I was very excited, and unusually certain about my perfect choice.

My wife had lamb, I think. I got some appetizer that I thought would precede the exciting swordfish in a complimentary way. The waiter brought the antipasti, and then the waiter said "We don't have any swordfish. What would you like instead?"

What would I like instead?

What would I like instead?

I would like to give Orso 80 two out of five stars.

And I'd like to be spending today at home with my wife.

Thank you for asking.


  1. Have i somehow missed your review of Roman antipasti?
    Doesn't "Orso 80" mean "80 Bears"?!
    Rome has bears?!
    Why am i asking so many questions when you've just confided to the internet that your cantankerous?
    Am i just lining myself up to be your scapegoat and save humanity from your derision?

    1. No, I don't think I had any review of Roman antipasti, though I suppose I've covered a lot of meat and cheese plates through these review.

      Maybe it means "80 bears" but I think it more likely means something like "80 Bear St." We have reference books here at my library that tell you the story behind all the street names of our city, which is especially uninteresting in my neighborhood which is a grid of number names mostly. But boy, that book would be fascinating in Rome! What IS the deal on "Bear St." eh?

      Yes, Rome has bears, probably at the zoo in the Borghese. They were probably good for gladiator spectacles back in the day too.

      Nah, nah, questions are always okay. And I took it all out on Orso 80 so I wouldn't have to take it out on anyone (like yourself) who so clearly deserves only kindness.


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