Best carbonara in Rome, five places

Best carbonara in Rome, five places

Best carbonara in Rome, five places. Choosing the best plate of carbonara in Rome can be a nerve-racking experience. It’s a taxing yet necessary undertaking. And in a city like Rome where carbonara is king, the task becomes that much harder. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it, so we’ve sampled a very slender shortlist of just five plates of carbonara. Obviously some people won’t be happy, but we doubt anyone trying one of the following dishes will be disappointed.

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CITY CENTRE

Pipero al Rex

la migliore carbonara di roma

We begin with a hotel restaurant. Though pricey and swanky, it’s a must. Here you’ll find Luciano Monosilio’s carbonara, wonderfully described by maître d’ Alessandro Pipero. Felicetti pasta (spaghetti or rigatoni), organic egg yolk and guanciale [cured pork jowl], all brought together in a steel dish to help the emulsification process. Nothing could be further away from that mishmash of pasta and omelette that you often find at the worst Roman eateries. The price is a little on the high side, but it’s in line with other Michelin-starred restaurants.

Cost: 22 euro

Pipero al Rex, via Torino 149, Rome. Tel. 06 481 5702

PINCIANO

Marzapane

carbonara marzapane

It may seem strange, but one of Rome’s best carbonaras is made by a Spaniard. Yet it’s not all that surprising when you consider that Alba Esteve Ruiz is one of the most talented chefs currently working in the Italian capital, serving up playful, original and hearty fare from her kitchen at Marzapane at the Caffè dell’Opera. Alba uses Mancini spaghetti, eggs from Livorno – bought from the Peppovo stall at the Campagna Amica Market, five-month aged Vincenzo Mancino guanciale from the Lazio region, 14-month aged Falisco Pecorino Romano cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano (aged for over 24 months). One of the chef’s secret is to use more egg yolks than egg whites, to avoid the dreaded omelette effect.

Cost: 14 euro

Marzapane, via Velletri 39, Rome. Tel. 06 6478 1692

GIUBBONARI

Roscioli

la migliore carbonara di roma

Carbonara has been on the menu at Roscioli since 2006. Nabil Hassein Hadj is the chef – though not born round these parts himself, he was lucky enough to have a fantastic tutor: Arcangelo Dandini. A favourite haunt of Rome’s foodies, Roscioli is a deli, restaurant, wine bar and now café that serves up a carbonara made using bronze die Verrigni/Roscioli pasta, Valle Imperiale guanciale, 24-month aged Pecorino Romano DOP and Paolo Parisi eggs. Its twist is to separate the yolks from the whites, using mainly the yolks and just a little of the white in the dish itself. Roscioli is also very particular about the pepper it uses: strictly Pepe Sarawak, thank you very much. You can even buy a Roscioli Carbonara Kit – it’s available online and at the place itself in Via dei Giubbonari.

Cost: 15 euro

Roscioli, Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22, Rome. Tel. 06 687 5287

ESQUILINO

Trattoria da Danilo

la migliore carbonara di roma

Danilo Valente and his mum Lina make one of the best plates of carbonara in Rome, served in a traditional osteria whose subtle charm lies in its utter lack of pretence. Expect a creamy nest of Gragnano spaghetti garnished with Bassiano pancetta, 18-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano and a twist of freshly cracked black pepper. It’s a simple, satisfying carbonara, without much in the way of frills. They keep it simple when it comes to the eggs too – one per head. Done.

Cost: 10 euro

Trattoria da Danilo, via Petrarca 13, Rome. Tel. 06 7720 0111

PRATI

L’Arcangelo

arcangelo

Arcangelo Dandini is one of the undisputed kings of the carbonara. “It’s fashionable now,” he tells us, “but once upon a time it was a dish of the masses.” Dandini’s carbonara is made unique by the absence of pepper. Some believe pepper to be an integral part of a carbonara, arguing that its name stems from the word carbone [coal], the colour of which is provided by the pepper. However, others maintain that the name was thought up by shepherds from the Abruzzo region who used charcoal [carbone a legna] to make their fires. Whatever you believe, Dandini’s carbonara is a pepper-free affair, while smoked guanciale is used to supply an extra hit of flavour. Dandini uses aged Pecorino Romano cheese and one egg yolk per person (“I was the first person in Rome to get rid of the white,” he assures us), for a dish that “should always be eaten in company”.

Cost: 15 euro

L’Arcangelo, via G. G. Belli 59, Rome. Tel. 06 321 0992

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