Real Roman Reasons to Wear Elastic-Band Pants: Roswell’s Osteria Mattone brings Italian to the table

Written by Jennifer Colosimo | Photography courtesy of Iain Bagwell; Andrew Lee

Have you ever been to Rome? Anywhere in Italy, even? Do you remember the way the fresh basil and oregano subtly dominated your palate, or the way the ripe and warm, red tomatoes would explode rainbows of rich flavor in your mouth? How about the perfect way the pizza crust would crunch from tip to crust, heartily supporting its bed of crisp arugula, or dripping mozzarella cheese? These are the mementos of my own taste buds’ trip to the boot.

It’s also the way I felt with every course at Roswell’s new Italian spot, Osteria Mattone. Maybe it was the casual atmosphere that Co-owner Ryan Pernice commanded as he sat on the front steps awaiting my arrival. Maybe it was the causal banter we got to witness inside the wine room, run by his equally charismatic older brother, Dan. For sure, it has something to do with the enthusiasm that our server delivered his list of favorites from the menu before we ordered. But, mostly, this food is just really, really good.

Inspired by Pernice’s trip with his chef Ted Lahey to Rome, every dish is reminiscent of what you’d find on tables across the country’s capital. With slight influence from Montapulciano and Naples, every dish is simple and authentic – the way true Romans intend their menus to be.

We tried it all – but I can’t let you make your first reservation without mentally prepping yourself for the Burrata, a bowl of the richest Mozzarella Cheese and ripest, juiciest red and yellow tomatoes you can imagine. After that, I fell in love with the Speck E Rucola Pizza (a $13 pie of cured, thinly sliced ham, red sauce and mozzarella cheese topped with a pile of parmesan-dotted arugula) and the simple serving of what I’m now naming the ultimate in Italian comfort food, the Tonnarelli Cacio E Pepe ($15).

I left with doggie bags, pizza boxes and not one inch to spare in my belly (especially after we licked the plate, post gobbling up a hot and homemade blueberry tart). Not a crumb went back to the chef, though. I think that’s the best compliment I could give them.

1095 Canton Street, Roswell