Top tables: Ineo

Rome is upping its fine-dining offering with this recently opened hotel restaurant

Culturally speaking, not much has changed in Rome over the past 2,000 years or so. But the capital’s hospitality scene is currently booming, and 2023 has a lot in the pipeline, with numerous five-star hotels opening in the coming months. Of note is the new Six Senses, as well as The Rome EDITION (due to launch in June) and the InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace, coming in May. Also new(ish) is the Anantara Palazzo Naiadi Rome, which was acquired by the luxury Thai hotel group (it was formerly owned by the NH Hotel Group) in late 2021. This palatial, crescent-shaped 19th-century building has been steadily undergoing changes to align more to the Anantara’s standards and aesthetics ever since. 

In order to keep up with all these prestigious newcomers, the Anantara Palazzo Naiadi has poured its heart and soul into its food and beverage offerings. Launched just in time for the busy spring-summer season is Seen by Olivier da Costa. Pitching itself as the place to see and be seen in Rome from the eponymous Portuguese chef and businessman, this eminently Instagrammable offering is a sprawling, partially covered roof terrace with in-house DJ, outdoor swimming pool, an open-plan sushi kitchen and fabulous views to boot. 

But the pièce de résistance of the hotel’s culinary output is the brand-new Ineo restaurant. Located on the ground floor, this new concept restaurant is headed up by celebrated Roman chef Heros De Agostinis. The word “Ineo” comes from the Latin for “new beginnings”, which sets the tone for the restaurant and De Agostini’s wider vision. The 28-cover restaurant is accessed via a trendy bar area, with elegant and contemporary décor that oozes fine taste: think Carrara marble and 1960s-style designer lamps and plush velvet seating. The menus have been inspired by De Agostini’s cultural heritage and his impressive 20-year career, which has seen him earn his stripes in the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo and The Lanesborough in London, where he secured the five-star hotel restaurant a Michelin star. 

De Agostini hails from the coastal Abruzzo region, east of Rome, with Eritrean heritage on his mother’s side. As such, spice plays an important role in the chef’s creative dishes at Ineo, such as the delicate yet punchy green curry risotto with raw scampi and kaffir lime. Raw seafood also pops up in the vibrant red raw Sicilian prawns with mandarin ceviche and tarragon oil, as well as the delightfully presented sea scallop carpaccio with Gorizia rose radicchio and grapefruit. Artisan spaghetti cooked in rabbit stock with nori seaweed and salmon caviar puts a contemporary spin on traditional Italian flavours, which in turn showcases De Agostini’s “métissage” cooking style, where aromas, scents and spices of territories he’s explored throughout his life and career are interwoven. The seven course “Ineo’s Journey” tasting menu with optional wine pairing is the optimum way to sample this style. And don’t worry if all the rabbit, raw seafood and veal sweetbreads aren’t your cup of tea (so to speak), vegetarians and vegans are well catered to in the “Green” version of the menu, and there is also the option to go à la carte. 

If you’re looking for something a little different and decidedly more upmarket than Rome’s usual pasta and pizza offering, Ineo is a must-visit and an exciting yet intimate newcomer in the capital’s dynamic culinary scene.

Gemma Billington is a London-based writer and editor

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.