A prominent deli owner from Rome opens a bistro. La Differenza, from the Stramaccioni family, arrives in San Giovanni

May 8 2024, 13:39
A new chapter for Rome's signboard, "pizzicaroli" for three generations. Two interconnected rooms, open for lunch, aperitif, and dinner, with Emanuele Cozzo from Bistrot 64 providing consultancy in the kitchen

A new life begins for San Giovanni's gastronomy, which has been a reference point for good shopping for years (here in particular for 13 years) even beyond the borders of the neighborhood. Paolo, along with his sons Luca and Mattia and his wife Sandra, has doubled the effort: alongside the deli, there is now a bistro adjoining the retail outlet where you can eat and drink for lunch, aperitif, and dinner. The logo of the house, the Greek Delta, a mathematical symbol of difference, surrounded by laurel, a symbol of peace and victory of ancient Rome, adorns the arch of the new room. On the menu are selections from the counter plus dishes from the young Micol Mariani with consultancy from Emanuele Cozzo of "Bistrot 64".

Deli owners for three generations

"I was born inside my father's shop. This job comes naturally to me: finding unknown delicacies from all over Italy, studying pairings with other excellent products, being in contact with the public. But since the advent of large-scale distribution, I thought that to continue our profession, we had to "make a difference," and that's how our shop was born, conceived, and grown." Speaking is Paolo, born in 1961, who was born and raised and learned the trade alongside his father Gilberto, founder of the retail outlet established in 1958 in Via Tommaso da Celano as a "simple" delicatessen and evolved over the years thanks to continuous research of excellences throughout the national territory.

Before behind the counter then as a distributor for retailers, Paolo acquired considerable experience traveling the Boot from end to end. And so, after the experience with his sister in a bakery-pastry shop, he decided to return to his roots and set up that activity that he has always felt his own, with the aim of promoting niche products without commercial brands. Thus was born in 2011 in Via Magnagrecia La Differenza as we know it today, managed by Paolo and his wife with the third generation, Mattia and Luca, little more than sixty years old together.

The new venue: La Differenza

In addition to the renovation of the deli, there was the doubling with another adjacent space (which at the "right" time was for sale) communicating with the shop and used as a bistro. The portal that connects the areas was designed by architect Alessandra Proietti, in charge of the works lasting about a year, like a bridge, materials and colors recall nature (earth, green, copper), the lights are warm, the tables close, the counter and the open kitchen in the center of the scene. All for 24 seats on 40 square meters plus 6 seats at the bar counter, 4 at the counter overlooking the kitchen, and 10 outside, in a "format" that also adapts to private events.

What to eat and drink at La Differenza

Micol Mariani operates the stoves, a young chef with a good curriculum behind her, and the menu and offer are conceived with the consultancy of the founder of Bistrot 64 in Flaminio, which in summer will celebrate a year since the reopening after a long restyling. In the dining room, there is the whole family and Alessio Grieco, a maître with important experiences in various hotel structures in Rome. The proposal, on a weekly variation, is divided between "delicacies" and "kitchen", completed by the daily specials on the blackboard and different between lunch and dinner. No particular schemes, the dishes are not designed to be appetizers or mains but rather tastes to share. There are no first courses but there is no lack of bread from Triticum Micropanificio Agricolo, nor of cold cuts boards (San Daniele Zanini, salami rosa, Bologna mortadella, culatello di Zibello Spigaroli, etc.) and cheese boards (pure goat cheese, Montebore, gorgonzola whipped with Champagne, Perla di Ol Sciur, i.e., gorgonzola made from goat's milk aged with rose petals and forest fruits praline in white chocolate conceived by Paolo Stramaccioni himself).

The dishes are obviously the result of synergy with the counter: beef tartare with natural gorgonzola and homemade brown stock; grilled and oven-baked artichoke (coming from preserves under the brand "La Differenza"), DOP Roman pecorino and licorice powder; homemade giardiniera and Andria burrata. Classic desserts, all homemade, such as zabaglione, panna cotta, tiramisu. The wine selection includes about 200 labels between natural and traditional, all from small Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Croatian producers, as well as a small selection of classic cocktails where the focus is on vermouths, such as the Italian "Controcorrente", the first natural vermouth in Italy.

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