Lonely Planet Writer

New Rome restaurant has gelato in every single dish

A brand-new restaurant in Rome is taking gelato beyond cup and cone.

This Roman restaurant serves gelato with every single dish
Pizza served with mortadella and pistachio gelato. Photo by: Andrea di Lorenzo

Il Gelato D’Essai da Geppy Sferra in the budding foodie district of Centocelle hopes to transform gelato from a strictly sweet treat into a serious dinner contender by showcasing it in every dish on the menu. “My goal is to converge gastronomy and gelato, presenting gelato in a way we never knew existed,” explains owner and gelatiere Geppy Sferra. “The gelato used on our restaurant menu is prepared no differently than traditional gelato; I’m just inviting people to consume it differently.”

Il Gelato D'Essai da Geppy Sferra serves ice cream with every course
Staff at Il Gelato D'Essai da Geppy Sferra. Photo by: Andrea di Lorenzo

The quirky restaurant’s menu, conceptualised alongside a classically trained chef Marco Mezzaroma, is divided into three categories. Vegetarian-friendly “Gelato and the Garden” features first courses like zucchini spaghetti, mint, lemon, toasted almonds and ricotta gelato; and seasonal vegetables with yogurt gelato. Chicken curry teams up with coconut gelato in “Gelato and the Farm”; slow cooked sweet and sour pork is served alongside pineapple sorbet; and a few Roman classics, like pizza bianca, mortadella and pistachio gelato and oxtail with pine nut gelato also make appearances. Seafood and gelato join forces, too –  in “Gelato and the Sea” Sferra proposes mackerel, sesame, and spinach with coffee gelato and salmon gravalax with grapefruit gelato. Dishes alternate with the seasons and are all carefully paired with wine.

This ne Rome restaurant serves up chicken curry with ice cream
Chicken curry and coconut gelato. Photo by: Andrea di Lorenzo

It’s no secret that Italians adore gelato; they indulge in an estimated six kilos a year per capita. The country is also home to roughly 39,000 gelaterias, 1400 of which are in Rome. “Whether we remain a quirky dining spot for true gelato lovers only remains to be seen. But I hope to inspire fellow gelato artisans who also know how much potential gelato has to take more risks and perhaps follow a similar path.”

The restaurant is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays only. For more information head to gelatodessai.it.