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Gran Caffe L'Aquila

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Get Food & Wine’s ‘best Italian food no one knows about’ at this Rittenhouse cafe

Arrosticini are as ubiquitous in Abruzzo as cheesesteaks are in Philly.

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Gran Caffe L'Aquila
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From Gran Caffe L’Aquila

In terms of popularity, the arrosticini is the veritable “cheesesteak of the Abruzzo region” just east of Rome. It is sold in kiosks and small shops from the gentle mountains of L’Aquila to the azure Adriatic shores of Pescara. Food & Wine recently called arrosticini “The Best Italian Food No One Knows About.

The arrosticini is a lamb skewer that using meat divided into fat and lean parts, which are then layered in alternating stacks. No butter or olive oil is used when cooking.

“The art is in layering fat and lean cuts.”says Gran Caffe co-owner Riccardo Longo. “The skewers are simply seared on a plancha (griddle) with a hint of salt.”

The arrosticini dish includes 8 skewers served on two slices of hearty artisanal bread, served with the classic chili pepper sauce ($15.90) or chef Stefano Biasini’s signature “long hot gelato” ($17.90).