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text Gabrielle Bolzoni photo Valentina Stefanelli

June 14, 2019

Historic restaurants in Rome

Temples of traditional cooking that survived the inexorable passing of time

The history of Rome is also to be savored in its oldest restaurants, a cornerstone of the capital’s cultural heritage. 

We are talking about sacred, timeless temples of traditional cooking that have survived the inexorable passing of time, where the most ancient recipes have been handed down passionately from generation to generation. 

These are often simple old places, called osteria or trattoria, transformed into quite sophisticated restaurants which retain, however, the ethos of the Roman philosophy of the table, where sociability and good humor reign supreme. 

These classic places preserve, no less than museums, memories and relics of the past, which tell a story to their guests. 

Anecdotes and photos of illustrious guests complement the furnishings and attest to a glorious past. 

Moreover, the appeal of the simple, genuine flavours of time gone by is still to be found in delectable dishes, which reflect Rome at its most authentic, a truly inexhaustible source of inspiration. “A noi ce piace da magnà e beve [We love to eat and drink]” goes a popular song in dialect by Remo Remotti! Time passes, but not “Roman-ness”. 

Since 1961 the historic trattoria Da Armando al Pantheon has been serving up traditional Roman dishes a mere stone’s throw away from Piazza Navona. The chef Claudio Gargioli concocts, among other things, classic starters made with Martelli artisan pasta, originating in Pisa and created with the use of bronze dies, which assures optimal absorption of the sauce. Salita de’ Crescenzi 31, tel. 06 68803034,

In the historic heart of the city, Achilli al Parlamento, one Michelin star, has boasted since 1977 one of the most wide-ranging Italian wine cellars, but it is also the kingdom of  Chef Massimo Viglietti, a veritable artisan of cuisine, who dazzles with his unconventional, avant garde recipes.  Via dei Prefetti 15, tel. tel:+39066873446,

Opening in 1938, Pierluigi was originally a simple osteria, which morphed over time into one of the most refined and popular fish restaurants at international level. In 2010 it added a Cocktail Bar, American in its style, but Roman in its roots, combining tradition with cosmopolitan pzazz. Piazza de’ Ricci 144, tel. 06 6868717,

Since 1927 this little trattoria, Sora Margherita, has been a go-to place in the heart of the ghetto. Paper serviettes and walls plastered with comments and reviews give a glimpse of the past of this restaurant. The menu offers strictly the most traditional Roman (including Jewish) dishes. A small selection of wines from Lazio and cask wine from Velletri. Piazza delle Cinque Scole 30, tel. 06 6874216.

In the heart of  Trastevere since 1935 Da Checco er Carrettiere comprises an ancient osteria and a modern restaurant. Old photos, period frescoes and the cart with which Checco used to bring his wines from Castelli retrace the history of this magical, informal eatery. Traditional dishes are enhanced by a rich wine cellar, which winds around the basement and may be visited. Via Benedetta 10, tel. 06 5817018,

Since 1922 the Antica Pesa restaurant has been serving very traditional Roman dishes. Frequented by international celebrities and go-to place for locals, it offers exquisite culinary delights in an elegant, cozy atmosphere. 

Great classics and revisited traditional recipes have helped to spread Italian quality throughout the world. Via Garibaldi 18, tel. 06 5809236,

In the heart of the elegant Parioli district we find the sophisticated restaurant Ai Piani, which has been operating since 1982. The basis of its outstanding menu, which is enhanced by daily specialties, is a selection of the best fish caught on the Lazio coast, backed up by a wine list boasting 250 labels. Via Francesco Denza 35, tel. 06 8079704,


In this article we talked about Armando al Pantheon, Achilli al Parlamento, Pierluigi, Antica Pesa, Ai Piani

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