Saturday, September 30, 2017

Where the locals eat-Da Mondino, Tarquinia


After a month at sea on Azamara Quest this summer, dining on the  wonderful food  cooked by the only other Italian on board, Chef Fabio from Sicily,  we were  completely spoiled and  not       interested in venturing out to any local restaurants. 
spaghetti con le vongole 

Symbol of Tarquinia, the  Winged Horses 

But  a work day organizing book sales at museums and tourist offices in  the seaside town of Tarquinia  was a good excuse to  take a walk on the beach.

The magnificent  early autumn days  were another reason  to escape work mode and stop in Tarquinia for  lunch . 
entrance area, just beside the Tarquinia railway station 

The numerous seafront restaurants at Tarquinia Lido  were  all closed up tight, for it was a Thursday, and this late  in the season they open  only on weekends when the Romani descend on surrounding seaside towns and restaurants, most of them yearning for a  plate of fritto misto or spaghetti alle vongole.
fritto misto  calamari, gamberi, roasted potatoes, local Cerveteri wine 

main dining area - we are the first to arrive 

Luckily Fulvio knows the area well, having worked for many years as administrator in the local hospital. 

He remembered that the locals often went to a place called Da Mondino, hidden inbetween the railway  station  and an overpass, not a very  elegant location but very popular  with local business owners for lunch break. 
view of the overpass, from Da Mondino

hungry  firefighters start to gather 

A large,  kitsch fountain could be seen from atop the overpass, and after a few minutes trying to  find the entrance, we pulled into a parking space under the overpass, next to  a fire truck. 

Passing near the kitchen a whiff of delicious fish told me it was open for business and along with the fire fighters we were the first to arrive.
 In a few minutes  an elderly curved gentleman sauntered in and headed to his  corner table, greeted warmly by everyone.  

vintage details  

The official  name of the restaurant is Al Passo del Cacciatore, but everyone  knows it as  Mondino's, from the name of the owner, originally from Sardegna: Edomondo, shortened to Mondino. 

trees,  fountains and entrance to Da Mondino  

The place quickly filled up and by 1 p.m. most tables were full and the waiter and kitchen staff  bustled around, doing what they have done for decades, cooking and serving  hearty local dishes.     
It was a business crowd  on lunch break but they were also interested in eating well, like all Italians.  
the tables start filling up
fireplace and door to the kitchen

Mondino's  photo hangs over the kitchen door  and a battery of  well used aluminum cooking pots line the kitchen wall.

 His sons, helped by a very professional waiter, run the place and  they have spruced up the unassuming building over the years, adding an  events hall at the rear along with a children's play area and fountains. 

green gardens, playground, fountains and  magnolia trees 

Great day out, excellent price/quality ratio.  We spent  33 euro for an excellent lunch with wine, mineral water and a sorbetto al limone. 

1 comment:

  1. thanks for reminding me of all the great meals we've enjoyed here. We've not been there for a few years now, so it's good to know it is still good.