One of the stops on our Costa Cruise was Civitavecchia, also known as "the port of Rome". Situated 80 kilometres northwest of the Italian capital, Civitavecchia stands for "ancient town". Many cruisegoers use the town as an easy access point to Rome, but since Brage and I had both been already, we decided to spend our day seeing what Civitavecchia had to offer.
For those of you who have a cruise stop in Civitavecchia and are wondering if it's a good alternative to Rome, I would only recommend foregoing the Roman adventure if you've already been before. Though the surrounding areas like Tarquinia (where you can see over 6,000 underground Etruscan tombs) or the baths of Traiano, we found that our time was best spent wandering around the city centre itself. This ended up being a great decision because we ended up chancing upon the highlight of our Civitavecchia stop -- Ristorante La Nuova Torretta.
Recent TripAdvisor reviews say that the restaurant is under new ownership and the experience isn't what it used to be, but when we were there in mid-July of this year, we had a fantastic time. We randomly walked by this little gem when we were in the Piazza Aurelio Saffi. I was having a major pasta craving and they happened to have a little sign outside that boasted homemade fresh pasta.
We decided to walk around the city a bit more to work up an appetite and had fun entering little alleys and even stumbled upon a farmer's market.
Now back to the food. The restaurant is quite small and dark, so we opted to enjoy our lunch with a breeze and took one of the tables outside. Because it was so hot, we decided to cool down with some ice cold soda and white wine. Cheers!
For our starter, we decided to go for the octopus, which was in a rich tomato sauce. We kept commenting on how simple of a dish it was, but it was still so satisfying!
Sticking with the seafood theme (if I'm in a city near the water, I will always, always try to favour seafood when it comes to my meal choices), I decided to go for the bottarga pasta which had mussels and clams. Bottarga, or the dried and salted roe of gray mullet or tuna, is a specialty in Southern Itality and has a salty, briny flavour. It may be one of those "you either love it or hate it" sorts of things. I think it was a great addition to my pasta and really took the dish to the next level.
I guess it wasn't so much of a surprise that my Norwegian boyfriend decided to get a pasta which had salmon in it! This dish was our favourite by far -- the smoked salmon was cooked in a Cognac cream sauce, which was unlike anything we had ever tasted. I'm familiar with the more traditional penna a la vodka, but I'm going to be on the lookout for more Cognac-sauced pastas from now on!