/L'Arcangelo and the Last Judgement

L'Arcangelo and the Last Judgement

Gnocchi di patate e l’evoluzione del cacio e unto, con dedica alla Sora Lella, or gnocchi all’amatriciana.

Back in May I went to L’Arcangelo for lunch. This place is a Roman institution much loved by locals. I was shocked when my meal was absurdly disappointing, so I decided to write this post comparing the lunch to a gastronomic Armageddon. It was a way of making light of a ridiculous situation but this point was lost on some Italian gastronomes who, perhaps, are not accustomed to hyperbole or irreverence in food writing. Needless to say, when the post was picked up in August by a major Italian food blog, all hell broke loose.


Some of the kinder comments included the succinct “fuck off to Mc Donalds” and the pseudo psychological “Americans have an inferiorty complex when it comes to food, feel threatened by Italian cuisine, and lash out against it due to nervousness”. I was surprised that a blog post could summon such outrage. And then I thought about it for two seconds and remembered that in Italy there is relatively little public criticism outside the political sphere. When it comes to food, in particular, leccaculismo (ass kissing) is rampant and customers are content to say that their meal was buono, buonissimo when the chef or restauranteur is standing next to them, but behind closed doors the gloves come off. Ignoring cultural norms, I openly and honestly criticized a restaurant and I would suffer the consequences for it.

Coda di bue alla vaccinara.

This notion was only reinforced by the numerous private emails I received (instead of public comments to my blog posts) from people who agreed with me on L’Arcangelo and believed the quality of service and preparation of dishes was inconsistent. Clearly I had struck a nerve and sparked a conversation. Mission accomplished?

Well, not quite. I was invited by Scatti di Gusto, an Italian food blog, to return to L’Arcangelo for what they termed “Armageddon”, a massive feast showcasing the restaurant’s offerings. I was up for it. I felt L’Arcangelo and its proprietors deserved another shot. After all, I hadn’t tried the famous suppli’ or pastas in May and the dinner only cost €50 (compared to my €76 catastrophic lunch)! How could I refuse? The dinner was Saturday night and I wrote about it here for Scattidigusto (translation in English here).

2016-01-07T03:38:11+00:00 October 11th, 2010|Categories: Culture, Restaurants, Rome & Lazio|7 Comments


  1. Giuseppe di Martino October 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Sei stata bravissima a muoverti, stando ferma, come un giunco, perfetto ed equlibrato! wiiiiiiishhhh!!!!!

    ciao ciao.

  2. Katie October 11, 2010 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Giuseppe, grazie! Poi sta settimana scrivo qualcosa sui campotti…ancora sto pensando di un altro nome ma sai che, alla fine, campotti mi sembra adatto eppure carino come nome:)

  3. Mart October 12, 2010 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Did they know before you were coming?

  4. Hande October 12, 2010 at 10:07 am - Reply

    After reading your account of the evening, the impression I get is: He is good with the traditional stuff. And the situation was artificial (prepared same menu for a small number of people) and the cost was definitely lower than normal. What I now think of Arcangelo is:
    I think he can cook real good, even heavenly. I am sure if we were friends and I went to his house one night and it was just him and his wife and me and my husband, he would wow me with great Roman dishes. But I have a feeling he doesn’t have the restaurant situation (cooking for a lot people who want different things at the same time plus a sense of [unnecessary, in my eyes] obligation to modernize things) under control. So for me the conclusion is: Arcangelo is a great cook but I am not returning to his restaurant because I am not getting his great cooking there as a regular customer.

  5. Hande October 12, 2010 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Oh, and I am not commenting over at scatti di gusto because there is already one stupid commenter in action and I don’t want to get involved….

  6. Massimiliano Marsico October 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm - Reply


    Just wanted to say that I found your blog today and I think it’s great!



  7. Katie October 12, 2010 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    @Mart yes they knew we were coming. the dinner was organized by Scattidigusto but the menu was created by Arcangelo Dandini, chef and owner of L’Arcangelo. In my next post, I am going to address this point.

    @Hande haha you mean Nico aka tenente Drogo. He is a middle aged man and internet troll who loves trashing me in internet forums. if he wasn’t so pathetic i might be offended!

    i think your assessment is valid and the situation was beyond artificial. im working on a post now with some thoughts on the subject. ciao xo

    @massi thanks!!!

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