Tucked away on a little street in a residential area, like many good finds, you will discover La Bussola, a gem of a restaurant specializing in seafood. After all, Ostia Antica is a stone’s throw away from the sea, while being convenient to the ruins of Ostia Antica and not too far from Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Three good reasons to book a lunch, or dinner, at this unpretentious restaurant, where the atmosphere is casual and the food excellent.
We decide to lunch here and what a feast it turns out to be. An array of seafood appetizers does more than please the eye and tease our appetites. They manage to nearly fill us up BEFORE we venture into the even considering what to choose for primi e secondi. Our waitress, Corrine, brings us sparkling white dishes and platters of fresh anchovies, salmon, octopus carpaccio, steamed mussels, shrimp nestled in a bird’s nest of fried vermicelli… Have I forgotten anything?
Each bite satisfies and has us realizing that we must pace ourselves. So, we decide to share our first course – spaghetti alle vongole – with a twist in that the sauce is slightly thicker and dusted with Botargo, a salted delicacy of cured fish roe, typically of grey mullet – a unique departure from the traditional. We follow this by sharing stuffed bass presented on a bed of tempura-battered vegetable fries. Superb.
For the first time ever, I have no room for dessert. We simply finish our chilled sparkling white wine, local to the area, and perfect for sealing our memories of a beautiful afternoon in Ostia Antica.