Here’s a look at some typical Roman fare and the best places to enjoy it in the Eternal City.
It’s lunchtime on a Friday, and I have to write an article about Rome’s incredible cuisine.
Roman food is delicious, characterized by combinations of the simplest of ingredients to result in exuberantly flavored dishes. If I tell you that Roman food is one of my favorite things on the planet and that my fridge has nothing to offer but oranges and cottage cheese right now, you will understand why this particular Friday is growing more difficult by the second.
So, here are the Roman dishes I wish I had in front of me right now, and the some of the best places in Rome to eat them.
1.Cacio e Pepe
This is my absolute favorite dish, and also the very first one I ever cooked. In fact, it’s very simple to prepare in theory – you just need pecorino romano cheese and black pepper. However, the proportions and the quality of the products determine its success or failure. It is usually served with fresh long pasta such as spaghetti, linguine or tonnarelli. To eat some of the best cacio e pepe in Rome, go to Flavio al Velavevodetto, a charming trattoria in Testaccio.
2. Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Perhaps the world’s most famous Roman dish, as well as the subject of debates that can end the strongest of friendships and create unsurmountable tensions on Christmas Eve – even more than global warming, civil unions, and veganism. What should one use for Amatriciana? guanciale (pork cheek) or pancetta? Do you use garlic and onions or neither? Whatever your preference, head to Trattoria Al Moro, just a few steps away from the splendid Trevi Fountain.
Remember the French video on how to prepare carbonara that sparked a diplomatic incident worthy of Prince Philip’s gaffes? Those who were most outraged-and rightfully so-were the Romans because carbonara is part of their heritage. Led by chef Luciano Monosilio, La Carbonara di Pipero at Pipero al Rex, Alessandro Pipero’s one-star Michelin-rated restaurant, is pure perfection.
4. Carciofi alla Giudìa (Jewish-style Artichokes)
Not flowers, but Jewish-style artichokes. A brown and crispy bouquet of these fried artichokes can find its way into anyone’s heart. Those prepared at Nonna Betta, a kosher restaurant in Rome’s Jewish ghetto, are extraordinary, as are the other dishes that blend Jewish traditions and Roman cuisine, such as the tagliolini cacio e pepe with chicory.
5. Coda alla Vaccinara
Rome is the right place for meat lovers who are not afraid of a challenge: Coda alla Vaccinara may not be the easiest dish in Roman cuisine, but it is certainly one of the most typical and distinctive. This cucina povera dish is prepared by cooking the oxtail with tomato sauce, herbs, pine nuts, raisins, and bitter cocoa. One of the best examples in Rome can be savored just six steps (count them!) away from the Pantheon at Armando al Pantheon.
6. Pasta alla gricia
The ancestor of Amatriciana, pasta alla gricia has the flavor of Cacio e Pepe, as it’s made with pecorino romano, pepper and guanciale. At Cesare al Casaletto, you will crave seconds.
The king of street food before street food became trendy or was even called street food! These crispy giant breaded croquettes are filled with stringy mozzarella, pecorino, rice, and meat sauce. Try them at Trapizzino, Stefano Cagliari’s delightful street food joint where he also offers delicious takes on the original.
8. Roman-style pizza
Pizza is arguably the national dish of Italy! Roman pies are characterized by a delightfully thin and crispy crust, and Da Remo in Trastevere gets it right every time! If you’re curious about where to enjoy pizza–Roman-style and otherwise–in the Eternal City, check out our seven of our favorite pizzerias in Rome.