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Luxury, design and cuisine for Lion, a restaurant and cocktail bar in Rome

Chef and barman just over thirty for this venue owned by Andrea Girolami and the brothers Emidio and Fabrizio Pacini, designed by architect Daniela Colli

If you are looking for something special to drink in a place that is out of the ordinary, a new restaurant and cocktail bar called “Liòn” just opened in Rome a few steps from the Pantheon. From the menu to the interior design, this new venue is a pleasant surprise, an elegant, cosy and intriguing destination. It’s not just a matter of enjoying something special to eat or drink, it’s also about delighting in a place with a strong personality, bright colours and an atmosphere that recalls La Dolce Vita. The idea was conceived by Andrea Girolami and the brothers Emidio and Fabrizio Pacini, partners in the “Gruppo Tridente Collection” which owns eleven boutique hotels (ten of which are located in Rome), the corporate core business. Liòn is the only restaurant they own that is independent of their hotels, though it is located right across the street from one of them.

Taco, burrata e gambero rosso. © Aromi Creativi

The chef and barman are very young – just over the age of thirty – but they have significant experience to their name. The chef is Luca Ludovici (born in 1986): a convinced believer in teamwork, he trained and worked at “Panda” with Giulio Terrinoni, Antonio Sciullo’s “George’s”, Gualtiero Marchesi’s “Alma”, Michel Roux’s “Le Gavroche”in London, Massimiliano Alajmo’s “Le Calandre”. His philosophy is rooted in freshness, seasonal ingredients and in the quality of the raw materials for a “cuisine of substance”, as he defines it. His menu offers dishes built around duck prosciutto, fassona beef tartare, prosciutto from Bassiano, wild salmon. The vegetables are grown biodynamically. The signature dishes include three-pepper mussel “impepepata”with lime and ginger, Black garlic tonnarelli pasta with anchovy “colatura” sauce and ciambella di Carpineto, or Scallop saltimbocca with prosciutto and sage. The barman, Antonio De Meo (born in 1988), attended courses in “Bar Management” and “Bartending” at Aibes (Associazione Italiana Barmen e Sostenitori) in Rome. After completing his training, he worked in various hotels in Rome and Florence: from the “Hotel De’ Ricci (Rome) to the “Sofitel Luxury Hotels & Resorts” (Rome) the “Splendor Parthenopes Restaurant & American Bar” (Rome) and the Hotel MGallery Cerretani in Florence. One of his best-loved cocktails is Caravaggio’s Legacy, “«a ‘choral’ drink, consisting in a tasting of three small Martini Cocktails, inspired by the works that Caravaggio painted while he was in Rome», explains the barman.

The gourmet experience merges with the experience of a boldly-designed space with saturated colours, in contrast to the austerity of the historic building.

The restaurant is on two levels: the ground floor, oriented completely towards the outside thanks to the large glass windows delineated by a thick travertine frame, hosts the restaurant, while the kitchen and wine cellar are on the lower level, connected by a marble staircase with rich brass detailing. Designed by Daniela Colli, «Liòn is a universe of colours, materials and geometry blended with great formal coherence to offer the client a comprehensive experience that merges design and fine cuisine», explains the architect. The figure of the circle, the subtle arched friezes, the deep screens featuring a three-dimensional diamond pattern on the petrol-blue boiserie, the coloured glass, the large mosaic-clad columns, the bar made of turquoise blue diamond-patterned glass with a grooved brass top are the main design elements in the venue. The clients express great satisfaction for the way Colli was «able to create an absolutely intriguing situation. Not coincidentally, both our customers and the trade press are always impressed by the “theatrical” impact of a restaurant which is unique and so different from the many that constitute Rome’s nouvelle vague of restaurants».

Ingredients for 4 people

320 gr thick spaghetti, 4 gr fresh chili peppers 20 gr extra-virgin olive oil, 20 gr black garlic, 10 gr “colatura” of Cetara anchovies, 5 gr fennel seeds, 4 gr of Cetara anchovies, 20 gr ciambella di Carpineto.


Cook the spaghetti in a large amount of salted water. In a cold skillet, mix the chili pepper cut à la brunoise, the oil, the black garlic, crushed and creamed, the “colatura” of anchovies and 3 grams of chopped fennel seeds. When the pasta is ready, add the sauce then thicken with 10 grams of the grated ciambella di Carpineto, to create a dense and well-amalgamated cream. Garnish with 2 diamond shapes made with anchovy fillets, the rest of the ciambella di Carpineto and the fennel seeds.


translation by Olga Barmine

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