How can you avoid the “Tourist Trap” Restaurants and taste the authentic Roman kitchen? Come to Testaccio and avoid ugly surprises!
Tourists in Rome are often overwhelmed by the enormous number of bars, restaurants, Trattorias and Pizzerias.
How can you distinguish between a “real” Roman Trattoria and a bad copy with those corny checkered table cloths and a fiasco of a wine on the table?
When visiting the Testaccio district you will rarely be disappointed. This district is, in fact, the birthplace of the Roman cuisine. It is here that the leftovers from the slaughter, the so-called “fifth quarter” were transformed in exquisite gastronomic specialties, such as the “Coda alla Vaccinara” (an oxtail stew from veal) or the “Trippa alla Romana” (Tripe the Roman way). At the end of the 19th century the workers from the Mattatoio, the local slaughterhouse, left their workplace at night taking with them the leftovers from the slaughtered animals and had them cooked in improvised street kitchens. Today, the Romans still come here when looking for an authentic Roman meal.
Testaccio is at a short distance from the historic center and can be reached easily from the metro stop Piramide one the B-line, or by bus (No. 3, 30, 23, 130 and 176).
I have lived in this area for the past 4 years and here is my personal Top Ten:
- Da Felice – In first place for “real” Roman food. Here you will have the best “Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe” (Pasta with Pecorino Romano cheese and pepper) in the city that will be worked at your table. Can’t miss the Tiramisu. Flamboyant and informal ambience. Book your table a few days ahead.
Via Mastro Giorgio, 29
Tel. +39 06.5746800
Closing days: always open
Price: 30-40 € www.feliceatestaccio.it/indexeng.html
- Flavio al Veloavevodetto – (literally “I told you so”) The same quality as Felice (part of the staff comes from there) but less flamboyant and calmer. Real Roman food served in a very suggestive dining room carved out of the Monte dei Cocci (an artificial mound composed of broken amphorae), in which you can actually see parts of the antique Roman amphorae. You can also eat on the patio in the warmer seasons. It’s impossible to resist their Espresso-Tiramisu!
Via di Monte Testaccio, 97
Tel. +39 06.5744194 Closing days: always open
Price 30-40 €
- Checchino dal 1887 – Located right in front of the former slaughterhouse, the “mattatoio” (today actively hosting a modern art museum) is a place of real culinary cult, faithful to its history and the family who has been managing the restaurant for 5 generations. Here the traditional Roman cuisine is celebrated on a high level. Ask for a visit to the suggestive cellar carved into the Monte dei Cocci.
Via di Monte Testaccio, 30
Tel. +39 06.5746318
Closing days: Sunday and Monday
Price: 60 €
- Osteria Fernanda – If you are tired from too much “Roman” the young chef Davide Del Duca will amaze you with his creative cuisine. He has never disappointed me and I enjoy returning often. Located at a short distance to viale Trastevere. Table reservations mandatory in the evening.
Via Ettore Rolli, 1
Tel. +39 06.5894333
Closing days: Saturday for lunch and Sunday
- Tutti Frutti – A minimal informal ambience with a light Mediterranean cuisine, personally cultivated by the owner Cristiana. One of my favourite restaurants at Testaccio.
Via Luca della Robbia 3/a Tel. +39 06.5757902
Closing days: always open in the evening – lunch only Saturday and Sunday Price: 40-50 € ristorantetuttifrutti.it
- Angelina a Testaccio – If you want to have lunch or dinner outside this is the right place for you. The magnificent terrace on the upper level is located right below the Monte dei Cocci. The cuisine is typically Roman; exceptional the meat cooked on the grill and excellent the pizza cooked in the wood stove. Perfect also for an Aperitivo after 18.00h.
Via Galvani, 24/a
Tel. +39 06.57283840
Closing days: always open
Price: 35-40 €
- Oasi della Birra – With more than 500 beers from all over the world to taste the menu seems a bit like an encyclopedia! Excellent cold cuts and cheeses. Perfect for an Aperitivo with buffet for 10€.
Piazza Testaccio 41
Tel. +39 06.5746122
Closing days: always open after 16.30h
Price: 30 €
- Augustarello – Historic Trattoria with a solid and authentic Roman cuisine. Here you will taste the best “coda alla vaccinara” (oxtail stew) in the area. The ambience is small and a bit noisy, but you must breathe the atmosphere of an authentic Roman Trattoria. Great price-performance ratio. Not recommended for vegetarians 😉
Via G. Branca, 98,
Tel. +39 06.5746585
Closing days: Sunday
- Volpetti Più – Perfect for a gourmet lunch. Here you can find pizza, pasta, soups, meat, vegetables and excellent fried snacks. At only a few steps you can purchase delicious Italian specialties as souvenirs in the famous gastronomy in via Marmorata.
Via Alessandro Volta, 8
Tel. +39 06.5744306
Closing days: Sunday, open only for lunch
- Sushisen – I realize there is nothing farther from the Roman cuisine, but if you would like to try the best sushi in Rome this is where you need to go!
Via Giuseppe Giulietti, 21A
Closing day: Monday
The following restaurants, which you can sometimes find recommended in different guides, should be avoided in my opinion:
- Da Bucatino – It is supposed to be famous for its “bucatini all’amatriciana” but I found the sauce to be very much watered down L. It is becoming a restaurant for tourists.
- Pizzeria Remo – Even though some praise their Pizza as one of the best in Rome I believe they enjoy an undeserved fame. The last two times I went there my pizza was completely burned!
- Lo Scopettaro – Roman cuisine that is too “tired and heavy”, you can find better.
- Perilli – I must suspend my judgment of this historic trattoria in Testaccio. I have not tried them myself and the opinions I have collected among friends are not conclusive. If you have been here let me know what you think!
Conclusion: If you have tried some of these restaurants let me know what you think of them.
Would you add another restaurant to the list?