Where to Eat in Italy Trattorie e Osterie

Dopo Lavoro Ricreativo: Frascati Welcomes Former High-End Chef to Trattoria Scene

Francesca Feresin
copertina dlr frascati

DLR in Frascati is an extraordinary trattoria that revives the traditions of old-fashioned venues, far from appearances and smoke. Here, there's agriculture and practicality.

The story

He’s more himself than ever, Jacopo Ricci, a pure and cultured chef and host, accustomed to addressing ingredients intimately. You sense it immediately when you read the menu of his DLR, Dopo Lavoro Ricreativo, a trattoria with a rustic soul made of inspirations and gastronomic innovations entrusted on the confidence of a skilled hand. We're in Frascati, in a space that takes you back in time to those 1970s signages made of wooden paneling on the walls, metal bread baskets, old tavern tables renewed with marble tops, Campari posters, green wall lamps, and vintage-modern objects, punk references, and various quotations. All to demonstrate how DLR is a one-of-a-kind place tailored to the vision of its owner.

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He has an important past behind him: Spain with Carme Ruscalleda, Alma, three years in Alto Adige at Parkhotel Laurin, over three years at Pagliaccio with Anthony Genovese, then together with colleague Piero Drago from Secondo Tradizione still at Jacopa in Trastevere. All this before returning home ready to bring innovation to a land dominated by porchetta and fraschette.

The venue

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Now Jacopo focuses on the essential, on raw and naked ingredients, handled with respect. At the heart of the project is the desire to foster social interaction and human relationships, both with the customer and with the supplier, with entities practicing natural agriculture not as a trend but as a family tradition. At DLR, the traditions of old-fashioned venues are revived, of a certain way of living and dining, far from the obsession with results and appearances, but solid, concrete, relaxed. There are also caves beneath the restaurant, cheese and cured meats aging lab, fermenting vegetables and dried fruits, as well as vinegars and bitters.

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The menu at DLR is concise and constantly evolving. Fresh ingredients are used, and a reduced number of portions are prepared to minimize waste as much as possible. In the dining area, there's also a chalkboard with the week's wines, always rotating, with a constant presence of some offbeat labels, both Italian and international.

The dishes

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Every dish bearing the DLR stamp screams talent, originality, and autonomy. There's independence in the ideas, in the preservation and cooking techniques, in the pairings, and in the sourcing of ingredients. This is immediately evident in the taste of the cabbage, fermented and roasted, served with a vibrant green sauce made from the outer leaves of the cabbage. It's complemented by homemade kefir and candied lemon. A vegetarian steak, meaty and crispy, sweet and sour, a joyful opener for an irreverent and unique lunch.

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Fingers are licked clean with the quail. In this case, Jacopo works with Sardinian animals from Sarcidano, robust, a hybrid between an Italian quail and a giant Asian one. The meat is grilled diavola-style and served with a wild peppers reduction and pak choi julienne. A masterpiece, a concentrated juice of Ricci's mastery in balancing spices, between sweet, sour, and spicy.

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At the center of the table, the pan-roasted chicken livers in cast iron with butter, sweet wine, and chicken jus cannot be missed. They're served in cocottes alongside homemade brioche, just toasted, and ancient apples to cleanse the palate. A tangible example of full and accomplished Italian cuisine that leaves room for ideas without ever losing them in the clouds. Who would have ever served whole chicken livers? Who would have ever paired them with a bold slice of ancient apple? Only a mad genius.

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The best series in the world? According to Jacopo, The Sopranos. So why not dedicate a dish to it. Here comes to the table a cast iron pot, scorching, enveloping a ziti timbale seasoned and cooked in Italian-American style with old beef ragout, peas, scamorza, buffalo mozzarella, tomato, bechamel, Parmesan, and hard-boiled eggs. Indulgence, fun, and flavor. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Lunch ends with Beef Bourguignon, better known as Boeuf bourguignon, accompanied by mashed potatoes and Polignano carrots. The beef cheek, braised and glazed, is a tender pillow to sink your face into and be pampered in the afternoon.

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There are few desserts on the menu that change continuously. The Parisian flan is good and hearty, with a crispy puff pastry, vanilla cream, and a soft heart that happily embraces any sweet-toothed customer.

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Dopo Lavoro Ricreativo

Via Nino Bixio, 1, 00044 Frascati RM

Open for dinner on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Open lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday. 

Closed on Monday and Tuesday

Phone: 06 630640

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