Although Italy is a foodie paradise, Rome isn’t generally considered as one of the top culinary destinations in the Bel Paese. We think of Sicily, Naples, Bologna, and of course Tuscany…but usually not Rome.
My friend Maria Pasquale is helping to change that through her personal blog HeartRome, and the company she works for Eating Europe Tours, where she manages their PR & social media.
My first encounter with Maria was last April when I went on her Daylight Trastevere Tour. I was blown away by all the little “secret” locations in my own backyard that I never even heard of. Then in October we were both guests on a fantastic blog tour in Verona, Mantova and Lake Garda in October.
Traditional Roman Cuisine
One of the challenges to finding a good restaurant in Rome is that there are just too many options. This is especially true within the historical center where they are all fighting ferociously for every tourist Euro. And even if you successfully avoid all the tourist traps and zero-in on a few authentic Roman restaurants, then there’s the cuisine itself to consider, which isn’t always immediately appealing to the uninitiated straniero (foreigner). Second courses often feature various frattaglie (innards) and scarti (scraps) that, while delicious when prepared properly, don’t necessarily translate well on the menu.
When I decided to start doing a podcast, I knew right away that I’d want to interview Maria. And then when I read her recent article about “The Return of la Pajata” (simply “la Pajata” in Roman dialect; in Italian, “Rigatoni con la Pagliata“), I knew what I’d want to talk about.
Most folks are usually ready and willing to try the typical pasta dishes (primi piatti) like carbonara, amatriciana, and cacio e pepe. Trying the secondi often requires a bit more convincing. So where can you go to find the aforementioned la pajata and other specialties from the “quinto quarto,” such as trippa alla romana and coda alla vaccinara? In this podcast episode, Maria gives specific suggestions for great restaurants where you can taste these authentic dishes. For example:
Checchino dal 1887 in Testaccio
Mordi e Vai (sandwich stand at Testaccio Market)
Try the Colatella at Flavio al Velavevodetto (I told you so!)
Try the Coda all Vaccinara at da Enzo al 29 in Trastevere
And for aperitivo, consider these options:
Palatium Enoteca Regionale in the historical center
Freni e Frizioni in Trastevere
Porto Fluviale in Ostiense
I would like to give a big “GRAZIE” once again to Maria for generously sharing all her suggestions with me.
And click the link to check out other episodes and see my list of the best podcasts about Italy.