Rome's latest attraction isn't a monument, an archeological discovery or a relic of Ancient Rome. In an old city, new attractions aren't really the go around here.
Instead, Casa Fabri is a new food and social eating initiative that isn’t just for Romans but a truly unique way for visitors to experience the local Rome.
Young Roman Fabrizio "Fabri" Lupi walked away from his successful career with multinational corporates to follow a food dream called Casa Fabri. The name was born a few years ago while he was living in Amsterdam and constantly playing dinner host for friends; they affectionately gave the nickname Casa Fabri to their favorite eating haunt.
Fast forward to today, and Casa Fabri means a few things. In principle, Fabri says the motto for the business is social eating and good food.
Fabri feeds the crowd on a terrace in central Rome — Photo courtesy of Casa Fabri
The social eating concept basically sees a group of people (usually around 30) turn up to a house they've never been to before to enjoy a four- to six-course meal with people they've never met. The cost of the social eating events is €25.
At the last couple of installments – one of which was held on a terrace overlooking the "Eternal City, no less! – Fabri has whipped up things like asparagus and artichoke risotto, black rice and green chicken curry and the Roman classic of pasta and chickpeas.
While it's as much about the food as it is the suspense of not knowing what you'll be eating or who you'll meet, what social eating really promotes is community.
It's the bringing together of people who are open to expanding their personal social network in a meaningful way while also enjoying great food in a relaxed environment. And in a world increasingly concentrated on social networks of a digital kind, what Casa Fabri promotes is quite special and refreshing.
Risotto with artichokes and asparagus by Fabri — Photo courtesy of HeartRome
He also offers the services of personal chef. For visitors to Rome, this means if you're staying in a city apartment, you can have him come 'round and cook for you. Now that's a unique Rome experience if ever there was one!
Dependent on your wine selection, a four-course meal starts at €120. Guests have the option of working with Fabri to customize the meal or leave it all to chance. A meal might look like eggplant parmigiana to start, amatriciana (the classic Roman pasta dish with tomato and guanciale) as a first course, polpette (meatballs) with sides of fresh local chicory or whatever is in season for main and tiramisu to finish.
Fabri says that visitors to Rome are choosing to have a chef cook for them not for lack of dining options but to have a real local and personalized experience.
He says, "Guests get to watch me cook and perhaps learn a trick or two about the dishes I'm preparing. Plus they meet a local. I can tell them about the history, the produce, the technique. And customize the meal for them, too – like adding spice or less salt, more pepper – unlike in a restaurant."
A self-made chef and certified sommelier, he's obsessed with food and wine and cooking for people. He says three things you won't ever find missing from his kitchen include fresh chilli, good quality olive oil (preferably from Umbria, he says) and green curry powder.
Fabri's passion is actually quite infectious. A raconteur as much as he is a chef, he will draw you into his world within minutes.
So when you're next in Rome, head to a Casa Fabri social eating event or book Fabri to come and cook for you. Either are bound to be Roman holiday experiences you won't soon forget!