/Tricolore Opens in Rome's Monti District

Tricolore Opens in Rome's Monti District

Today I had big plans of eating a light lunch. I figured I would grab a soup and salad at Mia Market so I could indulge in a massive Thanksgiving feast pizza tonight. Of course my plans of healthy dining are always foiled, mostly by my insatiable urge to eat everything. Today’s saboteur was the inauguration of Tricolore, a food emporium/cooking class venue/fancy sandwich shop in Monti. I learned of it quite by accident. On my way to Mia Market, I saw a flyer with Massimo Bottura’s name splashed across it caught my eye. It was an announcement that at 7pm the chef of Osteria Francescana would be the special guest at Tricolore’s inauguration. After wrapping up my dietetic lunch, I walked over to Via Urbana to find out more.

There was a crowd of five or six people in front of the shop eating sandwiches. This was apparently the first lunch service of Tricolore, which officially opened at 9am this morning. I took a look at the laminated menu and obviously the word hamburger jumped out at me. Hmmm…I really should’t, I thought. Screw it, I replied to my gluttonous self as I ordered my second lunch, a rare burger.

What Tricolore serves is more of an Italian meat patty sandwich than a burger: the bun is not toasted, the beef is La Granda (a Slow Food recognized consortium of razza Piemontese cattle rearers), and it is topped with homemade mayo and field greens. To be fair, the taste of the meat was good, the consistency and flavor of the bread was perfectly engineered to compliment its contents, and the ingredients were top-notch. Yet these are not the characteristics that define a burger for me.

I have already spoken at length about my ideal hamburgers (most recently here and here) and I have a fairly American approach to their construction. I believe the bun should be toasted, the patty should be 15-25% fat, the beef should be Black Angus (short rib, sirloin, and brisket, please!), the grind shouldn’t be too fine or too coarse, the bun should be adapted to the flavor and shape of the patty, and condiments may include ketchup or a strong blue cheese. Oh, and I want my rare burger to leak blood.

So what you will find at Tricolore is an Italianized version of the great American invention, which is sure to be praised by local gastronomes for its ingredients and taste. (In fact, Elisia Menduni already declared it “absolutely the best burger in Rome” in her post for Papero Giallo that reads like a paid advertisement. I beg to differ.) I think I’ll save €14 euros and pass on it next time, as there are so many other tempting choices on the menu. The other sandwich I tried–does this count as a third lunch or am I still on my second?–sardines, ricotta, candied orange zest, and fennel greens on raisin bread was fantastic. At €10.50 it’s not exactly a steal, but the quality of the ingredients really shines through. And I’m excited to try more of their stellar bread, croissants, and even a cooking class. In the meantime, I’m off to check out the inaugural festivities officiated by the maestro from Modena.

Update: I visited the star studded opening of Tricolore on Thursday night. There was a massive crowd, including Paolo Parisi, Alessandro Frassica (owner of my absolute favorite sandwich shop in Italy-‘ino in Florence), Stefano Bonilli, The Fooders, Senza Panna, Rome Photo Blog, Caput Mundi Cibus, Scatti di Gusto, the list goes on.

There was spumante and some sandwiches (on an amazing squid ink bread) and Bottura showed up and baptized the kitchen, providing the first cooking class in the place. One of the owners told me that in the next couple of weeks, they will announce future cooking classes, all of which will be taught by famous chefs and bakers (Cristina Bowerman of Glass and Gabriele Bonci of Pizzarium among them).

I went back the next day for two more sandwiches: A poached Paolo Parisi egg on a cornbread bun with white truffles for €10.50 and a La Granda hot pocket for €14. The former was microscopic and, I must say, really shocked me with its small size when I opened my take-away box. The latter was kind of awful, as the steak had been wrapped in dough and then the whole thing was cooked together. Some of the dough was still raw. Not a great investment. Still, it was their second day so I can’t be too harsh. But it’s not really acceptable to make such an error in an expensive place billed as a bakery. The 25 minute wait for the two sandwiches I had pre-ordered wasn’t amazing, either. There are major kinks to be worked out at Tricolore but they get a pass until they are a bit more established.

One thing that needs no improvement, however, is the bread. The baking is overseen by Franco Palermo, super genius in the kitchen, Bonci’s mentor, and one of my favorite people on earth. So, while the price of the sandwiches will keep me away most days, I’ll definitely be a regular bread customer. Can’t keep me and carbs apart.

Via Urbana 126 (Monti)

2016-01-09T13:34:13+00:00 November 25th, 2010|Categories: Restaurants, Rome & Lazio|33 Comments


  1. Linda November 25, 2010 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Katie – how did their vegetarian options look or do they not really have any?

  2. Sara November 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Grande Katie! You are always on top of Rome food news. Grazie:)

  3. Katie November 25, 2010 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    ill go check them out now and report back!

  4. Katie November 25, 2010 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    Grazie a te Sara!

    Also, Elisia Menduni just published this post about Tricolore in Italian on the Papero Giallo website: http://blog.paperogiallo.net/2010/11/80_mq_di_pane_nel_cuore_di_roma.html

    She declares Tricolore’s burgers “the best in Rome”…

  5. Katie November 25, 2010 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    @Linda there are some vegetarian options: cornbread with porcini mushrooms, rye bread with Parisi’s eggs and truffles, and others. It was a bit chaotic at the inauguration but ill get back to you with some more info soon!

  6. Samantha November 26, 2010 at 2:52 am - Reply

    Wow that fish sandwich looks amazing. The “burger” not so much.

  7. Matt November 26, 2010 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Give it up Parla! There are NO good burgers in Rome. Stick to what they do best over there.

  8. Laura November 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I stopped by Tricolore today, took one look at the prices and promptly went across the street to Panificio Monti and had a good, fresh lunch of pizza by the slice (all baked right there!) for under 5 euro. Good food doesn’t have to be expensive!

  9. Katie November 29, 2010 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    @Samantha yeah the sardine sandwich was amazing. very nice harmony in the flavors and the bread was outstanding. the burger was, well, pulpy.

    @Matt i will not give up! there has to be one good burger out there. actually there are a few kosher places in the ghetto and monteverde that do good, cheap, fastfood burgers for €5. nothing fancy but DEFINITELY closer to the real thing than these awful gourmet “burgers” at open and tricolore.

    @Laura yeah the prices are a big turn off for a lot of people i have spoken to in the last few days. im not sure how sustainable such prices are and if they will remain so high. we’ll see. i’m with you on the statement “Good food doesn’t have to be expensive”. there is this awful trend in Italian dining to brand things (eggs, flour, beef) and assert that if something is made with fancy, niche products then it has to be good. carefully sourcing products is one thing, making the so-called best ingredients and products prohibitively expensive sets a terrible precedence.

  10. Jessica November 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    As Katie mentioned, I was at the opening where, though I was shocked to find no real information about how the place would unfold and everyone was crammed under the canopy outside while it rained while only a few “insiders” were allowed to enter (at least for the hour I was there), I did enjoy the small sandwiches that were passed out. These were the small version of the sandwich Katie has with sardines and ricotta. They were quite delicious and even though I knew the place was absurdly expensive, I returned to try a sandwich the next day. Mine was sausage and tuna with algae on nero di seppie bread. I too had to wait 25 minutes past my pre-ordered time for the sandwich (I’ll give them a pass, it was the first day). I had a panic attack when I saw how small Katie’s egg sandwich was, thinking “If I have to buy more food after this sandwich because I’m still hungry, I’ll be so angry!.” The smells (and cheaper prices) of Panificcio Monti almost called me over, but I waited it out. My sandwich was bigger than Katie’s and was good, but definitely undersalted. My thinking is that if I”m going to pay 14 euro for a take away sandwich, it better be mind blowing. And this, while good, was definitely not mind blowing. I wish them luck in the new venture and while it might be “cool” to have all these great name dropping ingredients on the menu, I don’t see how they’ll sustain themselves in a city where good, quality and cheap food is in abundant supply. However, if they’re banking on the cooking lessons and name cache of the chefs, then maybe they don’t really care.

  11. Sienna November 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the review. I had meant to make it on opening day but did not manage to leave the house. My husband Yves and I went on Saturday and he ordered the La Granda (Hot Pocket) and I ordered the hamburger. They were both delicious and looking at your photos ours were cooked better. Somehow the bread was perfectly cooked around the La Granda and the Filetto was bloody on the inside and nicely browned on the outside. My husband loved it and with the bite I took I was quite impressed by the tenderness of the filet and the sort of magical outcome of the sandwich. My burger was seared on the outside but a bit too raw in the middle, and I agree with you that it should ooze blood! The bun should be toasted as well…I think the meat could use a little seasoning but I was grateful as anything that it came with mustard and was moist… a rare thing concerning Rome sandwiches! But the meal was 30 Euros for two takeout sandwiches. Definitely not something I will be able to justify often, considering the wait and that it is take out.

  12. Elizabeth November 29, 2010 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Katie –
    I appreciate your insights into Italian cuisine. I recently moved here and am suffering with my ILVE stove (six gas burners with an electric grill in the center, and an electric oven with convection option. The oven takes 45 minutes to an hour to heat. (And this is after three separate visits by professional service technicians who insist the ILVE is working perfectly). When the oven does reach temperature, it can not maintain a consistent temperature for baking. It is fine for roasting veggies and meats, but I am a baker and it is impossible to produce quality bread, cakes or cookies. Could any of your fans living in Italy recommend a brand of 220 electricity oven. I went to Media Markt and there are lots of tiny apartment stoves, but most of the bigger ranges have gas ovens without any broiler function.

  13. agata November 30, 2010 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    I agree with Sienna. My filet was perfect: bloody, very tender and fragrant.
    This royal “hot pocket” – as the girl at the shop window advises – has to be eaten as sooooon as possible.
    I think the Katie’s discontent has been caused by this delay (Seeing the photo you had the filet at your place, isn’t it?
    What a pity, Katie!)

  14. Katie November 30, 2010 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    @Jessica thanks so much for your comment! I think you touch on something important. it is quite confusing to gather what the place is unless you personally speak to the proprietors. sure, there is a list of services on the Ape parked out front, but in the 30 minutes we were waiting out front on Friday, a good 10 people walked by, sized the place up, then asked what the place is all about. i hope the website is launched soon so it will be easier to get info about services and hours.

    @Elizabeth I am unfortunately clueless on this matter. Anyone?

    @Agata up in the text i state the discontent. some of the dough was raw. the meat was terrific, though it certainly wasnt the most tender fillet ive ever eaten. if the dough had been cooked completely the sandwich would have been a home run. what a pity it wasnt!

    you are totally right. the sandwich should be eaten right away. and it was. i only live a 2 minute walk from Tricolore–and trust me after waiting so long for my sandwich I didnt waste a second digging into it;) it was still super hot and the part of the dough that was cooked could absorb the juices and was delicious.

  15. elisia December 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    It’s not fair to said that my note on the Papero Giallo was advertisement.
    I went the day of the opening and at lunch I have (really) a great Hamburger, with fresh and crispy salad, wonderful maionese and good meat.
    So I wrote the note the afternoon waiting the opening.
    I agree with you the prices are nonsense and really too long the time to get a sandwich.
    But, please, be careful with judgments and accuses. We can have different opinions without accuses.

  16. Elizabeth December 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    I went today and had two amazingly good sandwiches. First off, I guess they have been reading all your posts, people, since they told me so! In response they have lowered the prices a bit. I had the the Parisi Egg, which was sublime! I walked it home (3 blocks) and was glad I did, since I don’t know how I would have slurped up the oozy running yolk otherwise.
    My second was the bollito with salsa verde, which was excellent.
    Although I had to add salt to both, as some of you guys have mentioned. Weird they use no salt at all.
    No wait at all, since I got there at 12:25, before they had quite opened.
    Regarding the prices, I think that now that they have come down a bit, it is more affordable. The egg/truffle combo is definitely worth it, a real treat.
    And what no one mentions is the fact that they sell bread as well.
    As Katie says, hopefully the web site will be up soon, so all will be made clear. But the team that is running things is super talented, very accommodating and trying awfully hard to do something new, creative and talented.

  17. Elizabeth December 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    @Elizabeth I can recommend a Miele oven. They have a few different models, depending on how much you want to spend. They heat up very fast, and are very easy to control. Just go online to see who sells them in Rome.

  18. elisia December 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm - Reply


  19. Katie December 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    @Elisia thanks for your comments. I have been thinking about your post on Papero Giallo quite a bit over the past week. I read it just before the opening, as i was preparing my own post on the subject. What you wrote seemed, to me, like a premature canonization. When I wrote that it “read like a paid advertisement” I wasn’t implying that you were paid to write it or that it was actually an ad. I agree with you, that would be an unfair accusation. What I meant was that a paid ad couldn’t have been better or more complimentary.

    I think it is important for readers to be critical about what they read on blogs and question the author, consider context, and criticize content. That goes for all blogs, including my own. I hope this clears up any misunderstanding!

    @Elizabeth That Parisi egg sandwich with truffles is excellent and messy! Glad i brought mine home too, though if i had eaten it on the street i would have worn the yolk stains on my shirt proudly! I’ve been dying to check out the bollito sandwich, but ill have to wait til january when im back in rome:(

    That is excellent news that the prices have come down. I think this is a concept that can work if it is affordable. It is so easy to find cheap food (often of terrible quality) in Rome and consumers will be more likely to go for the slightly more expensive sandwich made with great ingredients if it isnt so far out of reach. Speriamo bene!

  20. Sara December 3, 2010 at 12:10 am - Reply

    “premature canonization” I LOVE IT!!! Brava Katie:)

  21. morgan December 4, 2010 at 12:01 am - Reply

    “Why don’t you go to Mc. Donald’s next time, there is one in via condotti…a good plastic Hamburgher, a lovely Coke that tastes like water and french oily fries, all for only 5.90 euros!”

    • Katie December 4, 2010 at 12:22 am - Reply

      @morgan that is a confusing use of quotes, but thank you for your comment. there is no mc donald’s on via dei condotti. it is in piazza di spagna, actually. and it is full of italians. its opening spawned Carlin’s slow food movement, as you might know. i’ve actually written about mc donald’s here. and if you took the time to read my blog instead of trolling you might have known that. i think it is shameful and shocking to support mc donald’s and i would discourage you from doing so.

  22. Jessica December 4, 2010 at 1:28 am - Reply

    Yeah for coming down on the prices! Maybe now I can afford to have a second go around 😉 And I agree, they do seem very nice and are trying to do something interesting. How are the prices for the bread?

  23. morgan December 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I was just ironic.
    I know you have written about it and I’m not trolling.
    I was just shocked about your article.
    I think they’re great, give them the time to become the best.

  24. Katie December 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    @morgan well in that case, id love to know what shocked you. i don’t think there is anything particularly controversial in the post. i also think Tricolore is great: amazing bread, teaching space, and food made with well sourced ingredients. But I also believe that good, clean, fair food should be accessible to everyone, particularly when Presidio Slow Food ingredients are being used. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

  25. […] Vorremmo diventi un momento d’incontro tra lettori, appassionati e addetti ai lavori in un locale nuovo, che ci piace e che ha riscosso già molto successo tra i “gastrofanatici” come testimoniano alcuni post che vi consigliamo di leggere anche per scoprire qualcosa in più su Tricolore: Senza Panna, The Fooders su Dissapore, Elisia Menduni su Papero Giallo, La Cucina di Calycanthus, Puntarella Rossa e Katie Parla (in English). […]

  26. The 2011 Rome Dining Guide January 4, 2011 at 11:45 am - Reply

    […] Tricolore, a bakery/gourmet sandwich shop/teaching space opened on Via Urbana in Monti in late November. You can read all about it here. […]

  27. Le Mani in Pasta with Gabriele Bonci January 21, 2011 at 10:08 am - Reply

    […] in a future post. A few hours later, I attended the first of a two-day pizza course led by Bonci at Tricolore in Monti. You can check out some photos here. Stay tuned for more. Though Bonci’s bread and pizza […]

  28. Pizza Urbana: Bonci a Tricolore January 24, 2011 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    […] di pensieri sul corso della pizza tenuto da Gabriele Bonci nel nuovissimo laboratorio di cucina Tricolore a Roma. […]

  29. Katie February 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    @jessica for two bucks you can get an awesome loaf of bread! such a bargain!

  30. […] per Roma e per il Web tra foodies e controfoodies. E invece sono già trascorsi diversi mesi. A Katie Parla e alle sue passeggiate nel quartiere Monti il merito di averci portato a conoscenza della notizia […]

  31. Rocio Haskell December 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    I had a very bad experience with Tricolore.

    I had signed up for one of their cooking classes, Fresh Pasta. I was required to pay for it ahead of time at a cost of 85 euros. 1 day before the class was to take place it was canceled by Tricolore because of illness. I was promised a refund of my 85 euros. To date (over 1 month later) no refund has been provided.

    I would not recommend this place.

    • Katie December 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      That is shameful Rocio! thanks for sharing. Don’t lose hope yet, though. italian businesses are, sadly, well known for not paying and/or refunding on time.

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