Establishment neighborhood
La Matriciana
Via del Viminale, 44, Esquilino
This is an old school restaurant, in the equally old school, slightly gritty, Esquilino neighborhood. The story goes that around 1870 a lady migrated from Amatrice to Rome, and started cooking the bucatini famous to the region, on the very spot the restaurant is in today. Now run by the Crisciotti family, brothers Fabio and Mauro have stuck to the foods served in this space since the '30s. Aside from ordering the signature bucatini all'amatriciana, try something you would only ever see in Rome: puntarelle-inner stalks of Catalonian chicory, sliced super thin and tossed with anchovies and lemon juice.
Mercato Centrale
Roma Termini, Via Giovanni Giolitti, 36, Esquilino
Mirroring the original Mercato Centrale in Florence, the one at Stazione Termini (this is where you go to catch trains to the airport, Tuscany, Paris, Siena, etc.) is a welcome alternative to sad train-station food. Sprawled over two retail floors, the market is comprised of a restaurant and wine shop by Oliver Glowig, a café, and food stalls from local foodie standbys like Beppe e i suoi Formaggi cheese and street-food favorite Trapizzino. The set-up is a little ways away from the main terminals, but the promise of a good meal, plus the original Angiolo Mazzoni architecture, are worth the schlep.