Rome and Florence are easily some of my favorite cities in Italy and since I’ve seen all the tourist attractions in the past, I typically just try new restaurants or go to my favorite spots whenever I visit.
- Alfredo alla Scrofa: When Americans think of fettuccine alfredo, they imagine a pasta dish with a thick heavy sauce made from cream which is definitely not Italian. However, the birthplace of the real alfredo is Rome and I had to try it! Alfredo alla Scrofa has been around for almost 100 years and the real alfredo sauce is only made with two ingredients: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and butter.
These small fried meatballs were made with shredded beef and served on top of a creamy potato purée. The sweet dehydrated tomato and pickled red onion added a nice contrast of sweetness and tang.
Carciofi alla giudia, fried artichokes, is so simple but I absolutely love it and get it every time I visit the city.
Carciofi alla romana is another popular artichoke dish where the artichokes are stewed with garlic and herbs.
Nothing beats fresh Buffalo Mozzarella with its creamy interior. To die for!
A stunning selection of salumi which included prosciutto, capocollo, mortadella, and porchetta.
This stuffed pasta had a Pecorino cheese and black pepper filling with shaved black truffles on top. Decadent and so tasty.
The star of the show: the original fettuccine alfredo! Almost everyone at our table got this dish so they brought out a huge plate and mixed it table side and then divided the portions. The fresh egg pasta was so thin and delicate and each strand was coated in the scrumptious cheesy and buttery sauce. Simplicity at its best.
Another dish I always have to get is puntarelle salad, a type of chicory that’s dressed in an anchovy sauce.
Tender pork ribs were coated in a caramelized orange sauce, so yummy.
Tiramisu is easily one of the best Italian desserts and a perfect way to finish off a meal.
2. Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina: I visited Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina when I visited in 2021 and we loved our meal there so I had to come back. This is one of the most popular restaurants in Rome so reservations are an absolute MUST.
I had to get Buffalo Mozzarella again because I never eat it back home and the freshness is unmatched here.
This focaccia sandwich had a spreadable salami with Provolone cheese, red onions, and various greens. It might look unassuming but it was so good.
Of course I had to get amatriciana, one of my favorite Roman pasta dishes. I wish it was with bucatini pasta instead mezze maniche but that’s a personal preference. Still bomb though!
This was one of our favorite dishes when we previously visited so we had to get it again. The ravioli were stuffed with braised oxtail and Pecorino cheese served in a foie gras sauce and spicy fig reduction. Rich and luxurious.
We got the cannolo (not cannoli as that’s plural!) which we also tried at our last visit. Crispy shell, creamy Ricotta filling with pistachios, and candied fruit…a classic.
3. Romanè: A newer addition to the city is Romanè which has all your favorite Roman dishes with a slight refined touch.
These crunchy fried beef meatballs were flavored with mortadella and served with a vibrant salsa verde.
Our first carbonara of the trip and this did not disappoint. One of my favorite Roman pasta dishes and an absolute must when visiting!
I loved this pasta dish with fresh fettuccine, mortadella, prosciutto crudo, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and a touch of fresh nutmeg.
Another Roman dish is pollo alla cacciatora where chicken is braised in a wonderful sauce made with vinegar, white wine, garlic, and rosemary. The sauce makes the dish.
Both classic desserts satisfied our sweet tooth, no complaints here.
4. Emma: Since we hadn’t gotten pizza yet, we had to get Roman style pizza which is very thin unlike Neapolitan style pizza which is a little more doughier. Emma has been on my list for a few years and I finally got to try their pizzas. The restaurant is quite large with outdoor and indoor dining and since we went for an early lunch, it was relatively empty.
Supplì are a Roman snack. These pipping hot fried tomato rice balls are stuffed with Mozzarella cheese and are addicting. I also love fried zucchini flowers and traditionally they are stuffed with Mozzarella cheese and anchovies.
This was a great representation of showcasing high quality ingredients which come together to make a perfect pizza. Fresh Mozzarella cheese paired with the Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse (a particular type of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese made from the milk of red patched Reggiana breed cattle) made this pizza divine!
I had to get a classic margherita pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella and it was sooo good.
5. Santo Palato: I first learned about Santo Palato after watching an online video about the restaurant and the female chef, Sara Cicolini. It’s been on my list for several years and I finally made it.
The braised oxtail fritter was a great appetizer to start with and I loved the additional of cocoa powder on top that added a layer of richness.
My second amatriciana of the trip and I can’t get enough!
This was also my second carbonara of the trip and was equally as delicious as the first. Tommaso preferred this carbonara slightly more than the previous one we tried as the guanciale was a little softer (he thought the guanciale was too crunchy at Romanè but I didn’t mind).
Perfectly cooked pork was served with a cabbage tart that so delicate.
Dessert was my least favorite dish of the meal as it fell a bit short. I was expecting a cooked pear tart instead of the raw slices on top.
6. Colline Emiliane: The food throughout Italy changes varying on the region so what you’ll find in the south will be very different from the north so when I discovered a restaurant specializing in cuisine from Emilia-Romagna, I had to try it.
A gorgeous spread of various cured meats. My dream come true!
There’s nothing more comforting than tortellini stuffed with meat in a warm broth.
I rarely get bolognese and this was spot on. The homemade tagliatelle noodles with the ragù made for a scrumptious pasta dish.
I’ve never heard of this dish so we were both intrigued. The veal was braised in milk making it extremely tender and flavorful. Definitely recommend.
Of course I had to get myself an artichoke.
I loved this simple nut and caramel tart with a buttery pastry crust served with vanilla ice cream.
Can’t pass up tiramisu, the king of Italian desserts.
7. Pizzarium Bonci: Every time I visit Rome, I always have to visit Pizzarium for their Roman style sliced pizzas. The only annoying thing is that it’s a small shop and can get quite crowded. Also be aware that there are no tables and chairs, only a few standing tables where you can eat your slices.
8. Tavernaccia da Bruno: This was my first time dining at this trattoria where they serve Roman and Umbrian dishes.
My last Buffalo Mozzarella of the trip, so sad. The mixed bruschette had artichokes, guancia (cured pork jowl), and ciauscolo (pork sausage).
I really enjoyed the thick noodles with the wild boar ragù. Something I hadn’t eaten in a long time.
The suckling pig was crispy on the outside with a tender interior. Also who doesn’t love some fried potatoes?
Gricia is another Roman pasta dish that we rarely get but it’s quite delicious with guanciale and Pecorino cheese.
Unctuous stewed oxtails were smothered in a rich tomato sauce.
I could have easily eaten a few slices of this wonderful pistachio tart.
During our trip we also stayed in Trevignano Romano, a small city along Lake Bracciano, where Tommaso’s mom lives about 40 minutes outside of Rome. We marveled at the most exquisite sunsets here every night.
We celebrated his 30th birthday here with his family and had a lunch of pasta with ragù, fried chicken cutlets, and Russian salad.
I even bought his childhood favorite dessert, the Sacher Torte from Hotel Sacher in Vienna. He’s tried countless Sacher Tortes but he says nothing compares to the original’s flavor and texture.
On a different day we visited Tivoli, another small town about 40 minutes away from Rome where Tommaso’s half brother lives. I’ve actually never visited the town and it was so cute and quaint.
We spent the majority of the afternoon at Villa D’Este, a 16th century villa with a gorgeous Renaissance garden and various fountains.
The last few days I spent walking throughout Rome which never seems to get old as it’s such a beautiful city with so much history.
The only day trip I took was to Florence, my home away from home. It was a gloomy day but we made the best of it because the scenery is still so stunning.
We had lunch at one of our favorite sports, Ristorante Del Fagioli, where Tommaso and I used to frequent often when we lived there.
Chicken liver toast is a Tuscan dish that we always have to get whenever we visit.
I loved both pasta dishes. The cappellaci were huge stuffed pasta filled with Ricotta cheese, Pecorino cheese, and pear. The pici were dressed in a garlicky tomato sauce.
I always get the braciola whenever I come here because it’s so comforting. The meat is thinly pounded, breaded, and fried and topped with this yummy tomato sauce. They always serve it with the stewed potatoes.
I’ve never tried their osso bucco but this was also very tasty and hearty.
I really liked this pork dish with fresh sage and rosemary.
They didn’t have my favorite Ricotta and pear tart but this was also good.
After a wonderful lunch, I spent the afternoon catching up with my old friend Luca at his apartment. Hoping I can see him again soon!
By the time I left his apartment, it was already dinner time again. Before heading to the train station, I went by my favorite sandwich shop, All’Antico Vinaio. One of my old apartments was a block away from here and I would get a sandwich on the regular here. Unfortunately 10 years later this spot was blown up on social media and the lines during lunchtime are absolutely insane! They even expanded to Rome, New York, and Los Angeles. Luckily since it was late, there was no line and I was able to get a delicious panino right away.
In just a few months I’ll be back in the land of pasta and pizza and I cannot wait to visit some of my favorite restaurants and to try a few new ones too!
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