Hostaria ‘da Cesare’ is Rome’s equivalent to SF’s ‘Tadich Grill’ – a restaurant oddly immune to time, monumental certainly, but too slammed with customers to bother acting chic. The waiters here are all older gentlemen, who wear off-white tuxedo jackets, black bow ties, and a fair dash of hair pomade.
No, these guys are not in the business of smiles, chit-chat, or proffering Sir some “fresh ground pepper?”, but, that said, they’ll wordlessly de-bone a fish tableside in seconds, or grab a couple of inversed spoons to politely dish out a platter of veggies in an eyeblink.
Meat (veal, actually) is really what se mangia bene at da Cesare, but the seafood also ranks among the best in town. There’s only one serious veggie item – fettucini with fresh porcini mushrooms – but it sits prominently in the middle of the menu, distanced by a respectful amount of whitespace from the rest, and all for good reason: it’s very, very good fettucini.