Experience a Roman trattoria minus the expensive airfare. Chef Marco de Rossi Handcrafts every menu item with the finest ingredients, exquisitely prepared and professionally served
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
I’m a sucker for television shows about chefs. I recently watched a Netflix series called “Chef’s Table” that featured a segment on Massimo Bottura, the Italian restaurateur of the famed three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy.
The episode covered Bottura’s part in ensuring that the 2012 earthquake that damaged more than $200 million worth of Parmigiano-Reggiano wheels in the famed factory there did not devastate his town nor the factory. He came up with a risotto cacio e pepe recipe (rice, cheese and pepper) that could make use of the cheese from damaged wheels and shared it via social media with the world. From New York to Tokyo, people fell in love with it and all 360,000 wheels were sold.
Bottura also created a dish called “Le Fasi Del Parmesan" or "The Five Different Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano” that was shown on this episode. It looked amazing, and I wanted to taste it.
And recently I did – right here in Virginia Beach at When In Rome Ristorante.
Previously called When In Rome Pasta Bar, everything here is new – from the owners to the menu to the freshly painted black ceiling and crisp white walls.
Hailing from Rome, Chef Marco de Rossi is the owner-operator of the small, open kitchen and the rather large menu of family recipes. He's working with Rob Kearney and Sommelier Don Paul, and this restaurant is one you want to know about.
But let me get back to Chef de Rossi’s interpretation of the five different ages and textures of parmesan.
The five textures were represented by a lacy, crispy cheese shell filled with solid piped cheese accompanied by whipped florets on top of a liquid smoosh and dots and an airy foam – all garnished with colorful, edible flowers. It was a gorgeous plate and delicious, too. Served with bread sticks and warm slices of bread, it made for a decadent dinner.
Actually, every dish that came out of the kitchen on the simple white dinnerware looked ready for a magazine shoot. Exquisite.
Chef de Rossi is particularly proud of his pappardelle al cinghiale or free range wild boar ragu. He marinates the meat for 24 hours in wine then roasts it for another 3 or 4 hours with a variety of spices. He uses dry pastas from Pasta di Gragnano of Naples, plus locally made pastas by Massimo Spurio.
The menu is divided into antipasti, insalate, pasta autentica, carne e pesce, contorni, or sides, and dolci, or desserts.
Food lovers could eat their way through this menu and save themselves a trip to Rome; that's how authentic if feels.
Tuesdays through Sundays; dinner is served 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; closed Mondays.
Reservations suggested, especially for parties of six or more. Seating inside accommodates 42. Once the weather permits, there will be another 30 seats on the patio.
When In Rome Ristorante, 401 N. Great Neck Road, Suite 129, Virginia Beach, 757-351-3705, wheninromevb.com.
1New ownership, new chef and new menu. The newly decorated restaurant offered the perfect ambiance for our exquisite dinner. Chef Marco has brought his families recipes from Rome and creates a fine dining experience. We started with the Salumi e Fornaggio appetizer for two' Loaded with cheeses, ham and salami. We shared the Insalata di Tonno, grilled octopus with veggies. The Octopus was tender and flavorful. For the main course I opted for their signature dish Osso Buco over roasted sweet potaatoes, and whole mushrooms in a demi-glaze with parmesan risotto. My wife chose the Orata alla Griglia which was filleted table side. Desert was tiramisu which is made in house. The wine selection is incredible and we opted for the sommelier's selection of San Marzano Primitivo. Will definitely return. Thank you Chef Marco. -Paul D.
2Since it's opening, my wife and I have ventured into this little gem no less than 4 times. From the moment we arrive until the moment we walk out the door we are treated like family. Let's talk about the food. Chef Marco never disappoints. NEVER! The plates are always picture perfect and the food is just amazing. Sure, there are many Italian places in the area, but nothing like this. This is a one of a kind experience. I personally have tried over half the menu, and I can't wait to delve into the rest. From the apps to the desserts, there is truly something for everyone. - Ryan C.
3Highly recommend trying this place!! It’s super cozy and cute!!! The food is amazing and the staff is very personable!! It’s a cute date night spot or even if you’re just looking for a quiet place with great food!!! - Nancy S.
4It’s a must! Beautiful, everything about this experience was beautiful! Your mouth waters with each taste and the wine was simply amazing. The staff made the whole experience that much more enjoyable! It was a perfect choice for our ladies night out!! I can not wait to go back. It’s more than worth the drive from North Carolina!! - Christina H.
5Went and had a spectacular dinner last night! The food, drinks and staff are all top notch!!! Chef Marco is so passionate about his food and it certainly shows...Delicioso!!!! - Tammy B.
6Incredible birthday experience! We weren’t aware there was new ownership and we were blown away! Loved the old place, overwhelmed by the new! The food was amazing - as spectacular as it looks! The service was top-notch! I know we weren’t the only customers but we were treated like we were! Don and Amber made everything perfect! Thank you! This is our new favorite restaurant! - Allison R.
When we walked in the door, we knew this place was going to be excellent! Cozy and decorated beautifully! The wine and food were amazing. It was hard to choose, so we shared several dishes. Five parmesan appetizer was to die for as was the caprese salad. Veal marsala and gluten-free vegetable pasta with shrimp were perfection! When in Virginia Beach, go to When in Rome! - Kathy S
First time dining here and will not be our last!! So glad my husband just happened to see a review posted about When in Rome because otherwise we would not have known about it. Food was excellent and fresh. The Veal Parmigiana was huge!!!! Service was excellent, atmosphere excellent as well. The deserts were to die for. I almost hesitate to write a review because I would like to keep this restaurant all to myself. Thank you for a wonderful meal! - Linda F
This is by far the best Italian food my wife and I had outside of Florence, Italy itself. It was a quaint restaurant with an amazing atmosphere and romantic candlelight and AMAZING FOOD!!! No exaggeration. You do not want to pass this place up. The Chef Marco de Rossi spoke Italian with us and great English and came out to each table personally to ensure the food and wine pairing was to our liking. BEYOND IMPRESSED!!! We are going back tonight to take our daughter before her ring dance. It is casual and classy all at the same time! Definitely a new fav!!!! - Nicholas R
Excellent restaurant! Tonight was my first visit and dining experience. This is absolutely the best restaurant in VA Beach and I predict it will be the busiest restaurant in VA Beach before the year is over! I travel a lot and eat in a lot of restaurants. This one by far is in my top 3 favorite places to eat now. I can't wait to come back in a fee months. The Octopus appetizer, salmon appetizer, veal piccata and the tiramisu, lemon marscapone cake and chocolate toffee cake was amazing. Several of us got different desserts and we all shared. Everyone enjoyed their meal! We didn't take pictures but will next time for sure. If you want a table for a particular night, call for a reservation because the place is small and has just a few tables. - Amy L
The food is amazing! We are from Massachusetts and just here for the week. We were craving Italian but weren't setting out for anything extravagant. The restaurant is small and simple looking, but when you walk in you recognize you'll be receiving impeccable service and delicious, authentic Italian meals. Don (Owner) greeted us immediately- very warmly and was engaging and welcoming. Our server, Selena, was incredibly sweet, patient, and helpful. I got the Carbonara- rich, flavorful, perfect. My daughter order the tortellini, which was beautiful presented and absolutely delicious. My 9-year-old rated his pesto as a 10/10 and my husband loved his meal as well (it was a meat sauce but we can't remember what it's called.) Every moment of the meal was enjoying. Perfect food and perfect service. This has been the best meal of our vacation and when we come back to VA we will definitely come back to When in Rome. - Gabrielle L