Craving traditional and authentic Italian cuisine -they say- Roberto is the address. Open in 1945 and renovated as of 1975 in this present location, Roberto has toured around Italy in search of traditional Italian cuisines and today, followed by Alexandre, his grandson. Roberto was appointed as chef of the king of Italy on his visit to Milano. Welcome to Roberto, where a simple Italian cuisine is served in an elegant restaurant handled by waiters wearing white tuxedo exactly as they do it at The Harry’s Bar.
Walls covered with wood, old paintings, separations between tables, yellow lights, tables covered with a white tablecloth, white napkins, and chandeliers coming from the ceiling like the good old days.
Restaurant Roberto’s cooking is entirely homemade. The know-how inherited from ancient family traditions is reflected in every dish. For example, the fresh pasta is prepared by hand, and the risotto ingredients are still exactly the same, starting with the beef broth, saffron pistils, and the Parmigiano Reggiano. The desserts are all homemade, and so too are the ice cream and sorbets.
The food is good enough, but not exceptional. Homemade? I’m not sure this is how they do it in Italy. Plates are dull, flavors are not strong enough, and pasta is not cooked the way it should be. After having a superb Italian dinner in Paris two days ago at Piero TT, I would give Roberto a 5/10.
Parmesan Risotto served in a soup plate, a big portion of rice, mixed with Parmesan cheese. Rice floating in its sauce, cooked al dente and ready to be sprinkled with Parmesan and pepper. The plate doesn’t look appetizing. Enjoyable texture, rich and intense taste of cheese, a subtle acidity, rich aromas, a successful balance of ingredients. When the very hot plate cooled down, you could feel the creaminess and the flavors even more. I found it to be average when it arrived, turning into something delicious fifteen minutes after. I believe the plate should be decorated or served with more finesse.
Second course: it’s pasta time. Spaghetti arrives in casseroles from the kitchen and is served a-la-minute a the table. Serving outside the kitchen overcooks the pasta.
DON’T ORDER THE CRÈME FRAÎCHE CARBONARA. Carbonara is not what I expected: the mix smells milk or something like cream, intensely creamy, and unpleasant when a real carbonara should have “velvety” yellow sauce made of egg yolk and egg yolk only. Never ever use cream in a carbonara! What a deception from a restaurant like Roberto and when “cream” is not mentioned on the menu. I felt it heavy, lacking taste, lacking pepper and the bacon is not crispy.
The amatriciana is so sweet I felt like eating dessert; why the sugar, why the sweetness?! with its acidic tomato sauce and crispy bacon is good enough for a trattoria down the street; But again, the plate is bulky. Penne pesto, a load of olive oil, a strong taste of pesto, and the penne is al dente. I also tried the saffron risotto and liked it.
Good food -no! Good enough for a trattoria, but nothing exceptional that will make me want to visit again and not to the level of such an expensive and iconic restaurant. A famous restaurant open for the last seventy years or so needs to go back to the roots with the original recipes created by Roberto himself.