The best cacio e pepe in Rome, seven unmissable restaurants

The best cacio e pepe in Rome, seven unmissable restaurants

The best cacio e pepe in Rome. Cacio e pepe is the quintessential Roman pasta dish, made with simple ingredients but far from simple to prepare. There are those who like it with hand-made tonnarello, and those who prefer spaghetti. In Rome everyone knows to respect tradition, but in this case it’s not the choice of ingredients that is endlessly debated, rather the appropriate portion size and the important final step in the cooking process – the ‘mantecatura‘, when the olive oil, water from cooking the pasta, and cheese are vigorously stirred into the pasta off the heat. Cacio e pepe mustn’t ever be dry and lumpy, but soft, smooth, creamy, with a balanced mixture of flavours. Read on for the best cacio e pepe in Rome, according to Puntarella Rossa – obviously.

The best cacio e pepe in Rome

7) Flavio al Velavevodetto

In Testaccio, chef and restaurateur Flavio De Maio serves the finest specialities of Roman cuisine. Boiled meatballs, hand-made fresh pasta, and puntarella (a type of chicory). The ingredients are all carefully chosen from local producers, and the menu changes daily. But don’t worry, you’ll always be able to enjoy a plate of cacio e pepe. The recipe at Flavio’s doesn’t call for a frying pan, but for a ‘mantecatura’ off the heat with pecorino romano, black pepper, the cooking water from the pasta and a dash of olive oil (‘to ensure that when the dish cools down, the cheese mixes with the oil and adds a burst of flavour, taking the edge off the pecorino’).

Mark: 8/10

Price: 11 euros

The trick: ‘mantecatura’ off the heat

Flavio al Velavevodetto, Via di Monte Testaccio, 97. Tel. 06 5744194. Website.

6) Felice

Le migliori cacio e pepe di Roma Felice

Since Felice Trivelloni opened his osteria in 1936, the restaurant has been something of an institution – famous for Roman cuisine. Their forte is indeed the cacio e pepe, it’s plentiful and delicious and made with tonnarelli, cooking water from the pasta, pecorino, and olive oil, for an irresistible creaminess. The finishing touch is the way in which it’s served: the pasta, cooking water and pecorino are mixed directly on the customer’s plate. Once you’ve eaten it you’ll definitely need a long walk, but we promise it’s worth it.

Mark: 8/10

Price: 13 euros

The trick: ‘mantecatura’ directly on the plate

Felice, Via Mastro Giorgio, 29. Tel. 06 5746800. Website

5) Da Danilo

The cacio e pepe served at Trattoria Da Danilo in Esquillino is definitely one of the most renowned in the city. With its typical table cloths, traditional dishes of the day and family atmosphere, its reminiscent of another era. The most famous dish is, of course, the tonnarelli cacio e pepe, made with olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, cooking water from the pasta and pecorino romano. The difference here at Danilo is that the pasta is mixed together directly in the pecorino romano wheel itself. The result is a superb creaminess and an intense flavour.

Mark: 8/10

Price: 10 euros

The trick: ‘mantecatura’ inside the pecorino romano itself

Da Danilo, Via Petrarca, 13. Tel. 06 77200111. Website.

4) Da Cesare

le migliori cacio e pepe di roma

In the west of Rome, Leonardo Vignoli, a chef and a sommelier with international experience, has been running the kitchen in this family-run trattoria, for years. At Cesare, you can enjoy two versions of cacio e pepe, one with dry pasta (spaghetti, rigatoni), or fresh, hand-made tonnarelli. Vignoli explains that to make cacio e pepe you need to mix the ground black pepper with the grated pecorino romano (which should have been matured for 6 months minimum) and a little cold water, then add the al dente spaghetti and give it a first mix off the heat. You should then add a generous spoonful of cooking water from the pasta, put it back on the heat and stir it until it is creamy. Other than the cacio e pepe, we also recommend Da Cesare’s fried gnocchi and other specialties.

Mark: 8/10

Price: 9 euros

The trick: two versions, dry pasta and fresh hand-made pasta

Da Cesare, Via del Casaletto, 45. Tel. 06 536015. Website.

3) VyTa Enoteca Regionale del Lazio

At Vyta, delicious produce from Lazio and traditional Roman dishes are paired with local wines. The place itself is pretty magnificent, sprawling over two floors with a large balcony on the first floor and an open kitchen on the second. The owner, Dino De Bellis, grew up in the countryside around Rome and is therefore knowledgable about the source of the local produce. Here you can also try two versions of cacio e pepe, the classic version or the summer version: tonnarelli, pecorino romano, fresh pepper, lemon and Roman mint. It’s one of the best cacio e pepes we have tasted (even if the purists protest). The touch of freshness that the mint and lemon add is quite something. And here’s the recipe for a 500g serving: cook the tonnarelli in lots of salted water. While the pasta is still on the heat, take a spoonful of the cooking water and put it in a large saucepan. Add ground pepper to the water. Drain the pasta, put it in the pan and mix it together. Keep the pan on the heat and carry on mixing it very slowly, using 100g of pecorino and grated lemon rind. Keep stirring until there’s the creaminess of cacio e pepe. Then, add the mint leaves. Serve immediately, adding another 50g of pecorino. If you’d like to see the chef preparing his cacio e pepe, take a look at this video.

Mark: 8/10

Price: 13 euros

The trick: lemon and mint

VyTa enoteca regionale del Lazio, Via Frattina, 94,Tel. 06 47786876. Website

2) La terrazza dell’Hotel Eden

In the kitchen at one of Rome’s most exclusive hotels, the Hotel Eden in via Ludovisi, award-winning chef Fabio Ciervo, is extremely knowledgable about, and faithful to, good quality produce. One of his most famous dishes is the spaghetti cacio e pepe from Madagascar. He has reinterpreted the Roman pasta dish with thick spaghetti, chicken stock, pecorino romano, rose petals and black pepper from Madagascar. The recipe is as follows: heat the olive oil gently in a frying pan, add the ground black pepper and then the chicken stock. Begin to cook the pasta. Once it’s cooked, add the al dente pasta to the pan and turn down the heat to medium. Add the pecorino, a dash of olive oil and mix it together with a fork. Finally, add a good grind of pepper. This is without a doubt one of the best cacio e pepe in Rome, but it is very expensive in comparison to our other favourites…

Mark: 9/10

Price: 45 euros

The trick: chicken stock and rose petals

La Terrazza Hotel Eden, Via Ludovisi 49. Website.

1) Roscioli

Le migliori cacio e pepe di Roma: Roscioli

Established in 1824 and run by a family spanning four generations, Roscioli is a renowned Roman restaurant. It’s a name that brings to mind both a restaurant, a bakery, a wine club, and, since 2002, a gourmet food shop with a dining area. On the menu you can find all the classic Roman dishes, among them an excellent carbonara, but the star of the show is the cacio e pepe. And so what’s in theirs? Tonnarelli, pecorino romano, cheese from Moliterno, pecorino that has been matured in the earth from Sogliano and Malaysian pepper. It’s not such a simple list as the mix of cheeses gives the dish a special flavour. At the very end, Javan and Sarawakan pepper are ground together and then toasted as the finishing touch – it’s sensational.

Mark: 9/10

Price: 12 euros

The trick: the mix of pecorino, cheese from Moliterno and pecorino that is matured in the earth from Sogliano

Roscioli, via dei Giubbonari, 21 Tel. 06 6875287 Website


Traduzione a cura di Corinna Parker

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