Italian food is sustainable and very efficient. Italians find a way to use every bit of a plant or animal in a meal, especially when creating their famous pasta dishes. In any restaurant in Rome you’ll find these four classic pasta dishes on the menu – cacio e pepe, spaghetti alla Carbonara, bucatiniall’ Amatriciana and pasta alla Gricia. Each is different and delicious in its own way, but they all have something in common – they take a few ingredients, and combine them to create something absolutely wonderful.
Surprisingly though, Italy has endless varieties of pasta and each region – and often, each tiny town or village too – has its own rules and recipes. In Rome, ingredients like tomatoes, eggs, cheese Pecorino Romano and guanciale (cured pig jowl) are often the main components of the city’s traditional cuisine and are featured in a wide variaty of its pasta dishes. Here are some of the best places to find classic pasta dishes in the Eternal City.
Located in the Trastevere area of Rome, Tavernaccia di Bruno is the first contender on this list for the best pasta restaurant in Rome. This family-run joint is a friendly, fun little place that has been going strong for about five decades. And, you know what they say, if somewhere can stand the test of time, then things are definitely being done right.
Via Giovanni da Castel Bolognese, 63
This small, cozy little joint, with mum in the kitchen and sons running the floor, gets everything right. There's a warmth to the place, and the food is phenomenal. The menu takes its inspiration from the Marche region of Italy, and the winning dish is definitely the Tortello al Rosso d’Uovo. This is ravioli stuffed with spinach, ricotta and egg yolk served in a beautiful tomato sauce.
Via San Vito, 13a
Here, the gnocchi is what it’s all about. Gnocchi is a popular dish all across Italy, but despite its perceived simplicity, it's difficult to get right. And, often a plate of the potato dumplings are gluey and chewy. L’Archangelo gets them right. Interestingly, for a long time gnocchi was only eaten on Thursdays. This tradition stems from the Catholic church. Don’t worry though, at L’Archangelo you can order up a plate of Gnocchi alla Matriciana any day of the week. Tomato sauce, guanciale, and pecorino bring this dish to life.
Via Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, 59
La Campana or “The Bell” has been serving up traditional Roman cuisine for 500 years. So, if our suggestions haven’t quite piqued your interest and you’re still wondering where to eat in Rome, go here. Simple as that. La Campana is a timeless trattoria that celebrates tradition, in its decor, refined food and service.
Vicolo della Campana, 18
Colline Emilane, nestled away in an unassuming corner near the Trevi fountain, is the second contender for the best pasta restaurant in Rome. Run by a Latini family who originally hails from Emilia-Romagna, Colline Emiliane first opened its doors in 1967. All the pasta served here is made by hand with the family spending hours a day rolling it themselves.
Via degli Avignonesi, 22
For those who abstain from the consuming animal products, you’re going to want to pull up a seat here. Il Margutta is, by all accounts, an upmarket vegetarian restaurant. Come here over the weekend when the menu is a la carte, and you can pick from an extensive menu. Dishes include a range of things, but the veggie-friendly pasta is what to seek out. Everything is made from fresh, organic vegetables and on Sunday’s there is a live jazz band. Prices here are a little higher than your standard trattoria, but the atmosphere more than makes up for it.
Via Margutta, 118
Here, go for the Cacio e Pepe, the pinnacle of Roman Cuisine. The head chef perfected the recipe. Cacio e Pepe is another great example of a simple Roman pasta - pecorino, parmesan, pasta water, and pepper. No more, no less - just perfection.
Via di Monte Testaccio, 97