6×6: Katie Parla

14th July 2015

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

Katie Parla is a food journalist and travel writer based in Rome since 2003. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times and Condé Nast Traveler and she has a new book called Tasting Rome (co-authored with Kristina Gill) coming out in early 2016. As well as knowing all the best places to eat in Rome, Katie is also an authority on Turkish food (she has a mobile app called Katie Parla’s Istanbul) and this year she ventured down to Bodrum on the southwestern coast. Other recent food stops include London and her native New Jersey.

To continue our new 6×6 series exploring what people are eating in different parts of the world, we asked Katie to recall her six most memorable food experiences of the past six months. Here’s what she chose.


Fried things

Cesare al Casaletto, Rome, Italy


“All festive Roman meals begin with assorted fried starters, a feature of the local cuisine which, if executed poorly, can cause disastrous consequences for one’s appetite and digestive process. At Rome’s Cesare al Casaletto, the fritti (mixed fried appetizers) are winners every time, never once entering into heavy or greasy territory. Instead, they whet the appetite and ease me into the long parade of dishes at what is inevitably a long and leisurely meal. I always begin with totanetti (baby flying squid), crochette di melanzane (eggplant croquettes) and fiori di zucca (squash blossoms).”

Via del Casaletto 45, 00151, Rome, Italy; +39 06 536015



Bağarası, Bodrum, Turkey


“Turkey’s Aegean coastal cuisine is rich in seasonal produce and legumes and every proper feast showcases them in the form of flavorful vegetable-based mezes. In the summer, dishes like smoked eggplant, samphire with garlic, black eyed peas, beans simmered in olive oil and zucchini flowers stuffed with spiced rice abound, and are best when paired with a glass of chilled rakı. At Bağarası in Bodrum, these seasonal specialties are served in a leafy courtyard set between orchards and vineyards. Less photogenic, but even more delicious, is Bağarası’s famous pan fried liver with onions.”

Pınarlı Caddesi No:59, Bodrum, Turkey; +90 252 363 7693


Bowls of stone fruit

Villa Aurelia, Rome, Italy


“From May through July, stone fruits flood Rome’s market stalls. Ripe red cherries are the first to appear, followed immediately by apricots, then peaches, plums, and nectarines. Their flavours change and develop throughout the season and no summer meal in Rome, not even this elegant fundraising dinner at the opulent Villa Aurelia, is complete without a bowl of sweet, fresh stone fruit.”


Sweetbreads with peas

40 Maltby Street, London, UK


“One of the most consistently spectacular dining venues in London is situated in a cavernous railway arch south of the river in Bermondsey. There, at 40 Maltby Street (as the name would suggest), owner and wine importer Raef Hodgson pours sensational French, Italian, and Slovenian natural wines to accompany the kitchen’s simple, seasonal fare, like these buttery sweetbreads with fava beans.”

40 Maltby Street, London, SE1 3PA; +44 20 7237 9247, www.40maltbystreet.com


Thick-rimmed pizza

Razza, Jersey City, USA


“The northeastern US has a long and historic pizza tradition, but the Italian import has evolved considerably over the last century, diverging from its origins in no small way. Only a few places get it right and bake pizzas that immediately transport me to Naples or Caiazzo, Italy’s pizza capitals. Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City is one of those places. There, Dan Richer’s expertly fermented dough is baked into thick-rimmed, wood-fired pizza. Toppings, like those on this kale, speck and ricotta pizza, are culled from small farms and producers. Everything Dan makes is so good, I’m not ashamed to admit this is always my first stop when I arrive from Italy at nearby Newark airport.”

275 Grove Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302, United States; +1 201-356-9348; www.razzanj.com



Tavernaccia da Bruno, Rome, Italy


“Roman cuisine is notoriously offal-heavy. A quest for flavor, coupled with economic necessity, has led Romans to utilize every part of the animal. In the case of suckling veal, the principle extends even to their intestines. At Tavernaccia da Bruno, the intestines of milk fed veal (pajata) are prepared in the traditional Roman fashion: the intestines are bound in rings to prevent the mother’s milk from escaping, then simmered in tomato sauce. The milk turns into a surprisingly pleasant tasting ricotta-like filling. The sauce and pajata are tossed with rigatoni and dusted liberally with Pecorino Romano. ”

Via G. da Castelbolognese 63, 00153, Rome, Italy; www.latavernacciaroma.com


For more on Katie, visit www.katieparla.com or her food blog www.parlafood.com. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter

Oh, and check out her web series Katie Parla’s Rome.

Posted 14th July 2015

In 6x6


Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

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