The 10 Best Pasta Places in Rome
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, Pecorino Romano cheese and guanciale (cured pig jowl) are often the main components of the city’s traditional cuisine and are featured in simple, no-nonsense dishes, such as amatriciana, carbonara, cacio e pepe and gricia. Here are some of the best places to find the carby classics in the Eternal City.
Roscioli Salumeria comprises an elegant restaurant, wine bar and deli. There are 2,800 wines to choose from and some exceptional Italian cheeses and cured meats on offer. The restaurant menu includes classic Roman pastas, the most lauded of which is the carbonara. From the eggs collected from hens fed on goat’s milk to the aromatic Sarawak peppercorns, Roscioli sources only the most prestigious ingredients for a superior dish.
This family-run restaurant in southern Trastevere is well known for its consistently excellent dining experience. Rustic, home-style cooking from Rome and Umbria is on the menu and, what’s more, the genuinely friendly staff are happy to guide you through it too. Pasta-wise, there are dishes like pappardelle with wild boar, amatriciana, lasagna cooked in a wood-fired oven, as well as delicious seasonal specialties, such as broad bean ravioli in a cacio e pepe sauce.
Flavio al Velavevodetto is set inside Monte dei Cocci (also known as Monte Testaccio), an ancient Roman rubbish dump composed of an estimated 53 million terracotta amphorae. The remarkable setting is a beautiful backdrop to a comprehensive menu made with high-quality, seasonal ingredients, many of which come from the restaurant’s own farmland. The amatriciana, cacio e pepe, carbonara and gricia, Rome’s iconic pastas, are all, rightly, highly praised – but the ravioli, made with spinach and buffalo-milk ricotta, is an unsung pleasure.
Meal service:Lunch, Dinner
Opened in 1936, Felice is a Roman institution. Its namesake, Felice Trivelloni, had such a reputation for being grumpy with customers that it has been worked into the restaurant’s marketing spin and is even nostalgically mentioned on the website. Service can still be surly but it remains loved by locals, who come back for old-school dishes like the cacio e pepe, which is theatrically mixed at the table.
Make reservations at Da Cesare for a masterclass in Roman cuisine. They serve classic dishes using quality ingredients in an unpretentious but welcoming setting. Start with polpette di bollito (breaded meatballs) and crocchette di melanzane (aubergine croquettes) to whet the appetite, then move on to a traditional pasta, made with the pasta shape of your choice. Carbs aside, the secondi, such as the involtini di manzo (rolled beef in a tomato sauce), are both homely and refined.
This old-fashioned pasta shop is a much-needed gem among the sub-par eateries of the Spanish Steps area. Join the queue for a bargainous and generous €4 (£3.55) portion of freshly cooked pasta, which can be eaten in or taken away. There are two types of pasta to choose from – usually no-nonsense dishes like amatriciana or pesto sauce – and the deal includes a bottle of water, and, if you’re lucky enough to find a space to sit inside, a small glass of wine.
This intimate, family-run restaurant is just steps from the Pantheon but is no tourist trap. Armando al Pantheon has been serving up quintessential Roman fare from its wood-panelled dining room since 1961. Savour pasta dishes such as amatriciana, gricia, and, on Fridays, pasta e ceci (past and chickpeas), then move on to the meaty second courses and seasonal vegetable contorni, or sides. Finish with a thick, eggy tiramisu. Booking essential.
Secure reservations at Le Mani in Pasta in advance as the warm, informal atmosphere and high-quality fare make this place a firm favourite with locals. The pastas are just one of the highlights of the menu and range from classic Roman recipes to daily, seasonal specials, with seafood often taking a starring role – such as the indulgent lobster linguine. The grilled fish and shellfish secondi are also not to be missed.
Not to be confused with the aforementioned Trastevere-based restaurant, this pasta joint is located inside Testaccio Market. The name might be the same but the vibe is completely different – here shoppers can grab fresh egg pasta, sold by weight, to cook at home, or a hot dish ready to eat immediately. Check out the chalkboard menu that features recipes like tagliolini with anchovy, capers and lemon, and artichoke-stuffed ravioli, all priced at around €5–7 (£4.50–£6.20).
Meal service:Lunch, Takeaway
Da Enzo excels in wholesome Roman fare. Their classic pasta dishes, such as carbonara, amatriciana and cacio e pepe, are all excellent – as are the secondi, so be sure to save room for a main as well. The polpette (meatballs) or coda alla vaccinara (braised oxtail) are both solid choices. This tiny locale is incredibly popular so book ahead (the only time available is 7.30pm) or expect to queue.