Filippo La Mantia
A taste of Sicily At Rome's Majestic, the hotel of the Dolce Vita.
An authentic corner of Sicily, the air laced with the unmistakable aroma of the Mediterranean, awaits those who are lucky enough to book a table in the restaurant of one of Rome's most exclusive hotels, the Majestic. It is here that, a few months ago, the Sicilian chef, Filippo La Mantia, opened his new restaurant.
The elegant eatery combines classic Liberty style interiors with innovative contemporary features, such as the entrance lobby where customers can catch a glimpse of the busy kitchen before entering the stunning fin de siècle dining room. The restaurant spills out on to a splendid terrace overlooking Via Veneto, the glamorous shopping thoroughfare which, for many, remains synonymous with the city's Dolce Vita period. La Mantia's arrival at the Majestic is part of a growing trend among Italian luxury hotels to employ world class chefs to prepare fabulous, world class cuisine for their hotel guests and, more importantly, for non-residents who might otherwise not have associated gourmet dining with the restaurant of a hotel.
Fillipo La Mantia is a self-taught genius with an adventurous past, working as a photo journalist in Palermo. Today he is a self-proclaimed patron-chef who makes no secret of his love for his native land and Sicily's age-old culinary traditions. La Mantia's cuisine is a deliciously light and refreshingly modern interpretation of these time honoured recipes. He fondly remembers meals around the family dinner table, the recipes handed down over generations and the delicious, simple taste of the food which he knew in his infancy. Mint, basil, oregano, almonds, pine nuts, capers, citrus fruit: these are the ingredients which he favors. La Mantia has outlawed the use of soffritto (the cooking base made with sautéed garlic or onion), which he declares is guilty of brutally suffocating the flavors of dishes. Featuring high on the list of the dishes which have made him famous: La Mantia's caponata, olive panelle with scabbard fish marinated in lemon, and Nebrodi suckling pig in Bronte pistachio crust, - just some of the unforgettable experiences on a gastronomic journey exploring the genuine flavors of Sicily.