Centro Storico Restaurants
Piazza del Paradiso, 63/65, Centro Storico
Come for the novelty factor—the restaurant is built into what used to be the Pompeo Theater, so you’re essentially having your meal in an ancient cave (don’t worry, there’s a breezy patio if the enclosed space doesn’t sound appealing—and stay for the excellent food: An incredibly well executed menu of Roman classics like the excellent fried zucchini flowers—pending seasonal availability, of course. And trust us, don’t skip the pasta course. This is a popular spot, so make sure to call in advance.
Via Monte Dè Cenci, 9, Centro Storico
It’s blasphemous to spend any amount of time in Rome without having tried Carciofi alla Giudia, a delicious fried artichoke dish with deep roots in the Roman-Jewish community. Piperno, which has been around since the 1860’s, does it exceptionally well. It’s a fairly small space so the white-tablecloth tables spill right out onto the cobblestone square in the summer months. Another menu highlight? A fried ricotta dessert called Palle di Nonno—that’s ‘grandfather’s balls’ in English.
Via del Leone, 4, Centro Storico
A good choice if you’re looking for a low-key, delicious dining experience without dropping a fortune. The menu at this cozy, family-owned neighborhood spot (checkered tablecloths and all) is quintessentially Roman—house-made pasta loaded with truffles, gnocchi, fried artichokes—with a lengthy wine list to match and daily specials to best highlight the season’s bounty. Whatever you order, make sure to get the cacio e pepe for the table: several locals have mentioned it as some of the best in town.
Via della Rosetta, 8, Centro Storico
Chef Massimo Riccioli has spent the majority of his life in this restaurant (his parents were the original founders and owners), so his familial history and dedication is reflected on his menu of beautiful, authentic, classic seafood dishes with a few modern renditions. Go here for the Gran Misto Antipasti, a mix of lightly marinated, raw, and gently cooked fish and shellfish from the Tyrrhenian Sea.
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