The place Rome's insider meals queen Katie Parla eats in her hometown

Getty Images Rome, Italy (Credit: Getty Images)Getty Photographs

Credit score: Getty Photographs

Meals author Katie Parla has devoted her life to Roman meals and hates vacationer meals traps. Listed here are her insider picks from consolation meals at Tram Tram to gelato at Otaleg.

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Rome: eternally lovely, eternally touristed. In 2023, a report 35 million guests trooped via the Everlasting Metropolis to see iconic sights just like the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum. Rome’s eating places aren’t any much less touristed, with traces down the traditional streets for TikTok-trending pasta alla carbonara and vacationer lure eating places with multi-language menus. Mixed with central Italy’s hovering summer season warmth, it is sufficient to make you lose your urge for food.

We spoke to Katie Parla, famend Rome-based meals author and tour information, to assist us skip the madness and discover Rome’s finest insider eats. A champion of Rome’s gritty outer quartieri (districts), Parla is “obsessed” with getting guests out of the centre. “If it’s worthwhile to eat Roman classics inside 100ft of the Pantheon, I may also help you,” she says. “If it’s worthwhile to sit within the Pantheon sq. to do it, I am not your individual.”

Regardless of her distaste for vacationer meals traps, Parla, who moved to Rome in 2003 and describes her 21-year “obsession” together with her adopted hometown as “not rational”,  is ceaselessly obsessed with its culinary scene. “We’re in such an thrilling second,” she says. “Within the period of Covid, whereas there was a little bit contraction of the restaurant world, we now have this resurgence now the place you have got pizza-by-the-slice joints [and] an unimaginable array of considerate espresso bars with nice pastry programmes that additionally do savoury issues at lunch.”

Parla loves Rome’s conventional flavours – cod, guanciale (pork jowl), fava beans, artichokes, the quinto quarto (offal) – and its traditional dishes like cacio e pepe, however encourages guests to step outdoors of the touristy centre and their culinary consolation zone. “I haven’t got time for any g*dd*mn vacationer traps and neither do you have to,” she declares. 

Listed here are Parla’s favorite insider eats in Rome.

Alamy Rigatoni alla pajata is just one of the delicious Roman comfort foods served at Tram Tram in San Lorenzo (Credit: Alamy)Alamy

Rigatoni alla pajata is simply one of many scrumptious Roman consolation meals served at Tram Tram in San Lorenzo (Credit score: Alamy)

1. Finest consolation meals: Tram Tram (San Lorenzo)

Roman meals is consolation meals, so Parla’s first choose is Tram Tram, a family-owned trattoria within the San Lorenzo neighbourhood, adjoining to Termini practice station.  “Complete bomb trattoria,” says Parla. “It is on one of many extra aesthetically challenged streets in Rome, however the meals inside is unimaginable.” 

The right way to spot a vacationer meals lure

“Touristy meals has no identification behind it. A bunch of random Italian dishes slapped on the menu responding particularly to a vacationer demand [like] Bolognese and Alfredo and pasta e fagioli and carbonara and pesto, which is what you’ll discover in an airport; not in a high quality meals place in Rome.”

Tram Tram, a San Lorenzo establishment because the Nineteen Forties, is located on a graffiti-streaked block close to a hoop highway resulting in town’s bleak outskirts. “San Lorenzo suffered in the course of the Second World Battle,” Parla factors out. “Individuals overlook that Italy misplaced the struggle.”

The trattoria, true to its identify, is discovered close to the neighbourhood’s tram tracks. “The house owners are beautiful,” says Parla. “You will discover Roman classics, like rigatoni with pajata (calf rennet) however then you definitely’ll additionally discover fave e cicoria (fava beans with chicory greens).”

Parla additionally notes that Tram Tram is vegetarian and pescatarian pleasant – a rarity in pork-rich Roman delicacies. “And it feels such as you walked into like an old-school staff’ cafeteria, decor-wise,” provides Parla. “So, it has this very unassuming, super-down-to-earth really feel, however the meals is superb and the wine record is spectacular. And it is inexpensive.”

Web site:

Tackle: By way of dei Reti, 44, 00185 Roma RM

Cellphone: +39 06 490416

Fb: Tram Tram Osteria

Alamy Pantera in Garbatella is a new pizza by the slice joint in Garbatella that serves old school slices (Credit: Alamy)Alamy

Pantera in Garbatella is a brand new pizza by the slice joint in Garbatella that serves old fashioned slices (Credit score: Alamy)

2. Finest pizza by the slice: Pantera (Garbatella)

When to go to

“Individuals sleep on visiting Italy within the winter. It is really magical and it is 65F (18C) at Christmas the previous couple of years.”

Parla’s present ultra-insider pizza by the slice tip is Pantera, present in sleepy Garbatella. “‘A traditional slicery,” she says. “They’ve the rossa (pizza with tomato sauce) with an herb oil and garlic drizzle on high. Tremendous easy.”

Pantera is owned by the Trecastelli brothers, famend for his or her Neo trattoria, Trecca, and their fashionable craft beer/pure wine bar Circoletto. However Pantera? “Old fashioned,” says Parla. “You get that ham and cheese pizza. The potato slices with rosemary; it is crispy and it is chewy and it is so satisfying. Tremendous inexpensive.” Additionally old-school are the supplì – deep-fried risotto balls that, as Parla notes, are available in simply the standard tomato-and-mozzarella selection. “There aren’t 15 totally different flavours,” says Parla. “Not hating on that; I like that. However we’re speaking about a spot that opened perhaps seven months in the past however feels prefer it’s been there for a very long time.”

Parla additionally loves the situation. “You are in strolling distance of the Garbatella public housing buildings, that are simply so gorgeous and so attribute of the structure that outlined Rome within the early twentieth Century.”

Andrea di Lorenzo A Rota in Tor Pignattara serves delicious Roman-style personal pan pizza tonda in classic and gourmet varieties (Credit: Andrea di Lorenzo)Andrea di Lorenzo

A Rota in Tor Pignattara serves scrumptious Roman-style private pan pizza tonda in traditional and connoisseur varieties (Credit score: Andrea di Lorenzo)

3. Finest sit-down pizzeria: A Rota (Tor Pignattara)

In Italy, not all pizza is created equally.

“Rome has many, many pizza kinds,” explains Parla. “The on a regular basis quick meals is bought by weight in slices; eaten standing up. However we even have wood-fired pizza spots that do spherical private pies which might be rolled flat, crushing the bubbles. They do not have the raised edge that Neapolitan pizzas do. A Rota in Tor Pignattara is so wonderful.”

A Rota is helmed by Sami el Sabawy, previously of Pizzarium. “The leavening is ideal. The toppings are scrumptious,” says Parla. “They have a fantastic vary of fritti (fried starters); in Rome, we do not begin with pizza, we eat fried issues first. I really like their fiori di zucca (zucchini blossoms) with mozzarella and anchovy inside.” She provides, “They positively do classics; you will get a capricciosa (pizza with artichokes, mushrooms, ham and olives) however additionally they do a month-to-month pizza… One thing that is not a traditional however it’s bringing you nice Italian elements and toppings on a lightweight and crispy base.”

The family-friendly spot additionally attracts “a number of {couples}”, says Parla. “It is a cute date spot as a result of they’ve a very good wine and beer choice. You possibly can carry your grandma… It is nice. All people goes.”

Ristorante da Michele Rome may not be known for its seafood, but Da Michele in San Paolo has excellent quality fresh fish dishes like its excellent fried sardines (Credit: Ristorante Da Michele)Ristorante da Michele

Rome might not be recognized for its seafood, however Da Michele in San Paolo has wonderful high quality contemporary fish dishes like its wonderful fried sardines (Credit score: Ristorante Da Michele)

4. Finest seafood: Da Michele (San Paolo)

“Not the [famous Neapolitan] pizzeria!” Parla clarifies. “We’re in San Paolo; the neighbourhood the place the St Paul’s Throughout the Partitions church is situated.” And this Da Michele is a family-owned seafood restaurant.

Seafood? In offal-obsessed Rome? “Unbelievable high quality fish,” emphasises Parla. “Which in Rome is a problem. Although we’re 13 miles from the ocean, lots of the fish will not be native or contemporary. Da Michele, I do not know who their plug is, however they’ve a wonderful purveyor of fish coming from the Lazio coast.”

Parla’s description of Da Michele’s fish dishes is a siren music: “Loopy scrumptious fried anchovies to start out,” she says. “Glorious in-season puntarelle (chicory) with alici fritte (fried anchovies); a twist on the standard salted anchovy dressing. Then there are super-simple classics like sauteed mussels; scrumptious, plump, juicy. Spaghetti with vongole veraci (carpet-shell clams) and verza croccante (crunchy Savoy cabbage); including a little bit little bit of seasonal produce right into a traditional. The frittura di paranza (fried blended catch); wonderful.”

Parla additionally champions the French-influenced wine record and the festive vibe. “Each time I am going, there’s all the time somebody celebrating their 99th birthday,” she says. “That is the place you’re taking your nice grandma. You carry a cake, you fill the place with balloons and everybody within the place finally ends up celebrating with great-grandma.”

Edoardo Iervolino Parla loves Menabó in Centocelle for its creative, contemporary takes on Italian dishes (Credit: Edoardo Iervolino)Edoardo Iervolino

Parla loves Menabó in Centocelle for its artistic, up to date takes on Italian dishes (Credit score: Edoardo Iervolino)

5. Finest for a break from carbonara: Menabó (Centocelle)

Generally you want a break from conventional Roman meals. “All of us do,” admits Parla, whose subsequent choose, Menabó, is within the rugged city sprawl of Centocelle – the previous stomping grounds of Roman culinary energy duo Marco Baccanelli and Francesca Barreca of Mazzo (now in San Lorenzo). “Menabó is the perfect for restrained up to date Italian,” says Parla, of the fashionable bistrot run by brothers Paolo and Daniele Camponeschi. “It would not serve a selected regional delicacies. They’re doing roasted pork neck with spicy caponata (eggplant and potato stew). These issues exist independently in Italy, however they’re being joined right here.”

Parla additionally cites the Menabó’s picchiapò (boiled meat) – “as a substitute of beef they do it with veal” – and their macco di fave (fava bean stew), made with chickpeas. “They do pici [pasta] with mussels with tomatoes and friggitelli (shishito peppers) and lemon zest,” says Parla. “The menu adjustments on a regular basis however not in a method that is compelled. They’re actually dialing issues in seasonally and thru repetition, they good issues. You would possibly discover some Roman affect, however what they’re actually taking a look at is all of Italy; nice elements after which bringing them collectively in scrumptious methods.”

Getty Images Cesare al Pellegrino in Rome's city centre boasts not just delicious food but its owners' signature wine list (Credit: Getty Images)Getty Photographs

Cesare al Pellegrino in Rome’s metropolis centre boasts not simply scrumptious meals however its house owners’ signature wine record (Credit score: Getty Photographs)

6. Finest old-school comeback: Cesare al Pellegrino (Roma Centro)

However as a lot as Parla loves exploring Rome’s outer quartieri, there are some eating places within the metropolis centre she believes are price wading via the crowds… and you will not need to queue. Like her subsequent choose, Cesare al Pellegrino, simply off Piazza Navona.

“It is all the time stunning to me how simple it’s to get a reservation at Cesare al Pellegrino,” says Parla. “It is on By way of Pellegrino and in a single course, you have got tons of of individuals standing in line for Osteria Fernanda and on the opposite, you have got dozens of individuals in line for Barnum. Barnum is superb, however I am not ready in line for espresso, sorry.”

“You simply stroll as much as the counter and order espresso and haven’t got to sit down down and wait!”

Cesare al Pellegrino is the present incarnation of the Thirties trattoria Settimio al Pellegrino. “It grew to become tremendous well-known when [Anthony] Bourdain went there on Components Unknown,” says Parla. “When the couple [who ran it] retired, an unimaginable couple took it over – Maria Pia and Leonardo from Cesare al Casaletto.”

The tiny tavern stays true to its pre-war pedigree and serves satisfying traditional Roman dishes like picchiapò and Roman-style cod. “What Cesare al Pellegrino offers is the dope wine record that Leonardo and Maria Pia are recognized for,” says Parla. “It isn’t a super-ambitious menu that is making an attempt to do all the pieces. They’ve retained Settimio’s meatballs, that are mainly smash burgers. Yeah, that place guidelines. It has on-line reserving, which is a sport changer.”

Getty Images Otaleg in Trastevere produces super natural and super delicious gelato (Credit: Getty Images)Getty Photographs

Otaleg in Trastevere produces tremendous pure and tremendous scrumptious gelato (Credit score: Getty Photographs)

7. Finest gelato: Otaleg (Trastevere)

“It is gelato spelled backwards,” says Parla of this teeny gelateria in lovely, tourist-flocked Trastevere alongside the banks of the Tiber River. “It is in Trastevere’s extra residential space. It is tremendous magical and all of the flavours are good, particularly the fruit sorbets. And I am normally a pistachio girl, so if I am getting fruit as a substitute of pistachio that basically says one thing.”


“I’d say with one exception – Barnum – if there is a line, it isn’t good. It is well-known on TikTok. I’ve by no means encountered a fantastic place that additionally has an extended line – but.”

Otaleg – “this slim little gap within the wall, uncovered beams” – is run by gelatiere Marco Radicioni. “His flavours are actually spectacular and the elements are so good,” says Parla. “It ought to have a line of 100 folks however there’s normally nobody even there. He makes use of a really restrained quantity of sugars, so as a substitute of blasting your palate with sugar to masks the unhealthy elements, which is what most gelato retailers do, it is the quantity of sugar that is obligatory to boost the expertise, to boost the flavour with out dropping any of the nuance.”

Parla’s problem for the “adventurous traveller”: Otaleg has a second location in Monteverde Vecchio that additionally does pastry and occasional. 

Getty Images Beautiful Trastevere is heavily touristed, but you can walk right into Parla's paninoteca pick – and have great local wine (Credit: Getty Images)Getty Photographs

Stunning Trastevere is closely touristed, however you possibly can stroll proper into Parla’s paninoteca choose – and have nice native wine (Credit score: Getty Photographs)

8. Finest panini: Trapizzino (Trastevere)

For a strong, non-social media viral Roman paninoteca expertise that will not have you ever queuing across the block, Parla recommends Trapizzino; Stefano Callegari’s barrier-smashing culinary mash up of pizza and a tramezzino (triangular bar sandwich).

“There are a number of places,” says Parla. “However there’s one in Trastevere that has desk service and likewise essentially the most insane Lazio wine record. Nobody is on level like they’re… And you may go there and have [amazing] wine after which your sandwich is a pizza pita for 5 bucks. 

Trapizzini are cones of pizza dough, filled with Roman and pan-Italian elements, like pollo alla cacciatora (hen and tomato stew) and eggplant Parmesan. “But when it’s worthwhile to dip your toe within the offal pool with out committing to a complete plate, they have tongue with parsley sauce,” says Parla. “It is only a enjoyable, intelligent Roman meals invention. Everybody needs to eat in Trastevere and actually many of the meals in Trastevere is so grim. That place is simply all the time tremendous constant [and] spot-on. Chaotic service, however should you’ve been in Rome for 5 minutes, you realize, that is the norm.”

Getty Images Yes, it is possible to get a delicious, quality meal near the Trevi Fountain (Credit: Getty Images)Getty Photographs

Sure, it’s potential to get a scrumptious, high quality meal close to the Trevi Fountain (Credit score: Getty Photographs)

9. Finest for cheeky {couples} (or individuals who cannot get a reservation at Salumeria Roscioli): Baccano (Trevi Fountain)

For those who wished to impress, you would e book a desk on the viral Salumeria Roscioli – a month upfront. Or you would waltz into Baccano across the nook from the Trevi Fountain as a substitute.

“The chef from Roscioli moved there,” says Parla. “It is this elegant house with tableside tiramisu. Fancy Romans go there. And everybody’s gonna go to the Trevi Fountain anyway; they could as properly have a very good meal whereas they’re doing it.”

Baccano’s ultra-chic menu ranges from Scottona beef burgers to a rainbow of cheese choices, in addition to chef Nabil Hassen’s signature pastas, like do-it-yourself gnocchi with pesto and calamari, or spaghetti with butter and anchovies. “The ambiance is curated, the pastas are insane,” says Parla. “You possibly can simply stroll in and eat on the bar. Generally if you’re on a date night time, you simply need to have one thing gentle and fast so that you will be attractive. So you do not have to sit down down for all of the programs however simply get a cheeky pasta, a glass of wine and be out… It has an enormous variety of covers so you possibly can normally simply stroll in.”

Other than its romance-adjacent bar, Baccano has desk seating, in and out. For individuals who aren’t in a rush.

BBC Journey’s The SpeciaList is a collection of guides to common and rising locations all over the world, as seen via the eyes of native specialists and tastemakers.

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