La Pergola restaurant in hotel Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria in Rome is famous for two things. Incredible views and 3 Michelin stars under the supervision of Heinz Beck. It supposed to be one of the best restaurants in Europe. My husband always wanted to go there so I booked a table 2 months in advance, when I planned our trip to Rome. I specifically asked for the best view (the terrace.) We couldn’t wait to go there, and our expectations were high. We were not even suspicious when few of our friends advised against it. I took a bit of time writing this, because I wanted to stay as objective as possible. But of course, personal experience will always be very subjective matter. So here it is.
La Pergola restaurant Rome
The evening didn’t start well. The Maitre’d showed us to our table, which, not only wasn’t on the terrace, but not even by the window, with no view whatsoever. When we asked for table at the terrace, as I specifically asked for the best possible view (and booked 2 months in advance), she grinned, saying people book that terrace 6 months ago (which I don’t believe for a second). Very disappointed, we asked then for the table by the window, at least (at that time, the restaurant was basically empty), only to get another sarcastically toned answer that that are booked as well. At that moment we started to feel like tourists who never been to a good restaurant. From that moment, we were very suspicious, however we stayed and politely sat at our table with no view.
Suddenly, 2 glasses of Champagne appeared at our table, without ordering or any sort of explanation. Was that some sort of apology for not accommodating us with our table request? Or perhaps just a very nice welcome? We will never know, as no one cared to explain. It took a while to get some sort of service and see the menu. It looked promising and we tried to overlook our growing disappointment.
The food in La Pergola restaurant
We got nibbles first, which were mediocre, and the beetroot chip was simply too sweet to eat. I really looked forward to my starter, which was the squid filled with shrimps. It looked pretty, like a sandwich. The squid was cooked well, but the whole thing just didn’t taste of much. I know that squid doesn’t have a particularly distinguished taste, but I would expect to be paired with something that does. I haven’t finished that one.
The second course was zucchini flower with caviar. Yet again, it had no specific taste and the flower was far too soggy for my taste. I ate it with not much enjoyment. For the main course I ordered lamb with goat cheese. The meet was beautifully cooked and tender, however I couldn’t taste or find the goat cheese anywhere. This was nice, but quite unmemorable dish for 3 Michelin star restaurant.
My husband’s experience was a little bit better one. Sweetbreads were nice, but nothing special (his words, not mine, as I don’t like sweetbreads and never order them). For the second course he had Fagotelli filled with Carbonara sauce. I tried it, and even though the taste was good, there was far too much sauce in each piece for my liking. However, my husband liked it and said it was his favourite dish. It is also Pergolla’s speciality. As a main course my husband ordered pigeon which was really nice, but unfortunately, again not outstanding. Restaurant Le Manoir in Oxfordshire makes pigeon extremely well and presents it beautifully in a pastry.
We shared a pudding which was raspberries with burnt warm cream and almond ice cream. We didn’t finish it, but the almond ice cream was very good. There were also some extra sweets, which, in my opinion were far too many. Ice cream lolly, chocolate and little sweet nibbles. The chocolate tower was a nice touch but the chocolate itself wasn’t to my taste (I tried two different pieces).
Service in La Pergola restaurant Rome
The service was very bleak and at times, painfully slow (asking several times for things, like three time for a bill) and looked terribly bored. No one tried to explain the food with at least a bit of an enthusiasm, except the waiter who served us the bread. Don’t get me wrong, the service was very professional (well apart of the Maitre’d), just very cold and matter-of-factly. The atmosphere was equally tense. The only highlight was that Heinz Beck himself came into the restaurant floor to greet every single table and have a little chat. This was extremely charming touch, and we appreciated it.
Would I go again?
No, I wouldn’t. After the dinner we simply sat in silence, as the major disappointment kicked in. For me, the food was very average (even though looking pretty) and not memorable at all and the overall experience was way below my expectations. The price was simply far too high for the quality. I wouldn’t recommend La Pergola restaurant in Rome at all and would choose Mirabelle restaurant, which doesn’t have any Michelin stars, many times over.
A few months ago I wrote about Les Amis restaurants in Singapore, which has two Michelin stars and the food is exceptionally good. I am still dreaming about going back soon. It had probably some of the best food I ever had over all and with at least one single dish I would always put in the game of top 3 single dishes I ever ate (a silly game we often play with my husband). I hope that others have better experience, but unfortunately ours wasn’t good.
Have a chic day