Best Restaurants and Trattorias in the Center of Rome. Leaving aside the excellent, from Pipero to Pagliaccio, from Sanlorenzo to Roscioli, since these are already well-known and pricy, let’s try to put down the best trattorias and osterias in the center of Rome. Here is our top ten list (with a few extras).
Armando al Pantheon
One of the best family-run Roman trattorias, just two steps from the Pantheon. Specializing in updated Roman foods: faro meatballs with a truffle and gorgonzola sauce, spaghetti “Verde”, or spaghetti “Claudio” (with mushrooms and saffron). And home-made deserts, such as an ancient Rome cake. And then amatriciana and carbonara, tripe, ox tail, suckling lamb, and innards with artichoke. There is also a vegetarian menu. There are not, unfortunately, outside tables.
Armando al Pantheon, Salita de’ Crescenzi 31, Roma. Tel.0668803034. Sito
Casa Coppelle is a dependable restaurant in one of the most beautiful piazzas of Rome. The style of cooking stands out because of a strange marriage: Italian and Roman specialties partnered (and often mixed together) with french cooking. On the menu shines paccheri pasta from Gragnano filled with lamb and a puree of buffalo mozzarella with a sauce of cherry tomatoes from Pachino and basil coulis. But there is also braised wild boar. The homemade bread is incredible, the decor well-presented (including the bathrooms) and there are also tables outside. Traditional first courses from 8-9 euro and traditional second courses from 12 to 15, rising up to pork knuckle (20 euro) and tournedos of pink peppercorn tenderloin served in cognac flambe (24 euro).
Casa Coppelle, piazza delle Coppelle 49, Roma. Tel. 06-68891707. Sito
One is at home at Colline Emiliane, which has been open in the Piazza Barberini area since 1890 (with this name since 1931 and the current owners since 1967). A warm and relaxed place serving food from the Emilia Romagna region, and managed by a courteous and pleasant family. Two sisters, Paola and Anna, daughters of knight Trento Latini and Signora Onorina, took over the reigns of the restaurant (helped by their husbands Massimo and Mauro) in 1967. It became a home to artists like Federico Fellini, Paolo Poli and many others. A trattoria miles away from certain roman slums where you can eat cappelletti in broth, mortadella with pistachios, prosciutto from Langhirano (Parma), Bollito Misto (a stew of boiled meats), and their specialty Giambonetto (veal cooked in milk) accompanied by a good Lambrusco or Sangiovese wine, all without spending a fortune. Among the specialties, but not always available, is the “Engadina,” a cake of walnuts and honey with Swiss origins that Signora Paola personally prepares, and like all deserts, serves still warm from the oven. First courses cost around 13 euro, and second courses, such as the house specialty giambonetto of veal with mashed potatoes, cost around 18 euro. Recently it has been renovated and now from the street one can watch the preparation of home made pastas.
Colline Emiliane, via degli Avignonesi 22, Roma. Tel. 06/4817538
Grano offers a dinner worthy of respect. Born in 2007 from the ideas of Danilo Frisone and Saverio Crescente, the restaurant offers a Mediterranean menu. Traditional plates are re-imagined with a new perception and a few original selections. Playful oddities, such as the “Cacio and Pepe” that becomes risotto, the pasta with chickpeas and clams, and the Carbonara Risotto The menu presents combinations of meat or fish dishes with some appetizer courses that vary from roasted octopus on a bed of faro to Buffalo Mozzarella. The first courses recommended by the chef include spaghetti with guanciale, broccoli rabe (rapini) and pecorino cheese; fettuccine with veal cheek and San Marzano tomatoes; Paccheri pasta with Red Mullet fish and Porcini mushrooms; and Cacio and Pepe risotto with quail breast and artichokes. Not every dish rises to the occasion, but it is nevertheless stimulating and playful dining.
Grano, piazza Rondanini 53, Roma. Tel. 06/68192096. Sito
Tradition, nothing more than tradition. Matricianella, two steps from The Church of Saint Lawrence in Lucina, offers mountains of fried delicacies (vegetables, but also brains and suckling lamb, potato skins and a fantastic Roman Artichoke), and naturally the namesake dish, Pasta Amatriciana, is a hit. Finish up with the Jewish desert of ricotta cheese and chocolate, or a Zuppa Inglese alla Romana (trifle). There is also a small outdoor seating section. Lively and vibrant service.
Matricianella, Via del Leone 4, Roma. Tel. 06/6832100. Sito
Ba Ghetto (opened in 2009) remains one of the most interesting restaurants in the neighborhood, with some undoubtedly praise-worthy dishes and a nice atmosphere (also because it is located in front of the ancient Roman structure, Portico d’Ottavia). A few small flaws both in the cooking and service make this restaurant not always dependable, but it nevertheless deserves a visit. The Yemeni Foccacias are optimal, the Baccalà Gouloush is always good, but the artichokes “alla giudia” can be disappointedly dry and flavorless. Though sickeningly sweet, try the Kunafa (filo dough, pistachios, almonds and honey); but it is a matter of tastes, Middle Eastern deserts are like this. There are some tables outside to enjoy during the warmer months.
Ba” Ghetto, Via del Portico d’Ottavia 57, Roma. Tel. 06/68892868. Sito
Dal Cavalier Gino
Cavalier Gino is a piece of Rome that once was, and still is, two steps from Montecitorio (the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies). It is hard to get a table during lunch, but the warm and intimate atmosphere merits an attempt. Straightforward food. Numerous celebrities have set foot in the trattoria, starting with the best of them all: Sandro Pertini. Gino gladly recounts stories from the past. Amongst the specialties are Coratella (innards), skate broth Minestra, and traditional Roman pasta dishes, such as Cacio and Pepe. No outside seating.
NEW YORK STYLE
Baccano is a breath of fresh air in the middle of the chaos of its immediate surroundings (street stalls, McDonald’s, restaurants with menus with photographs and waiters on the doorsteps to attract the unfortunate…). Wood, mirrors, cream, black. And the red of the napkin-rings. A few, well-chosen colors, the relaxed atmosphere, and the calm music that lulls us from Edith Piaf to Frank Sinatra. Baccano is presented as a Parisian-style bistro, but it resembles some New York eateries. In a smart design, this restaurant fulfills the various needs of those who eat out: it is a restaurant (with Roman dishes for those who are seek the traditional), a snack bar (the menu includes fried nibbles and hamburgers), a cocktail bar, a cafeteria (with a menu dedicated to breakfast), a gelateria, and there is even a counter with high-quality cheeses and salamis. On the menu we recommend the fried sardines (9 euro), the beef tartar (16 euro), pesto and fresh salmon lasagna (13), Cacio and Pepe pasta (12), Baccalà in Guazzetto (22, a Roman specialty of cod fish with tomatoes and capers), mixed tasting of raw fish (35), beef hamburger (16), and a cheese platter (15).
Baccano, Via delle Muratte 23. Tel. 06.69941166
In the former location of Riccioli Cafè, Maxela appeared a few years back – an eatery in the namesake category of Genovesi restaurant -butcher shops, with huge pieces of meat visible from the counter at the entrance. Founded by three partners from Genova, Maxelâ (a name from the dialect of Genova that means “butcher”), focuses everything on the meat and wine. In Rome the location is in the historic Borgo Vittorio, and other branches include Genova, Milan, Livorno, Rimini, Turin and Modena. Farm-to-table meat, as is now in style, is sourced from the so-called “Costa” method, named after the Genovese butcher, Roberto Costa. There once was a small outside seating section, but some months ago it mysteriously disappeared.
Maxela, Via delle Coppelle 10-13, Roma. Tel. 06/68210313. Sito
Other Recommendations in the Center
Il Bocconcino, via Ostilia 23, tel 0677079175
Broccoletti, via Urbana 104, tel 064742772
Cucina Pepe, via Pepe 39, tel 0644340940
Il Desiderio preso per la coda, vicolo della Palomba 23, tel 0668307522
Renato e Luisa, via dei Barbieri 25, tel 06686960
Settimio al Pellegrino, via del Pellegrino 117, tel 0668801978
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