10 places in Rome for carbonara you won’t forget

By Maria Pasquale

Maria Pasquale is an award-winning food and travel writer and author based in Rome.

You can follow her adventures on Instagram @heartrome

 

Carbonara. Nothing gets romans more fired up than carbonara. Not even soccer. And definitely not politics. The debate varies from where to find the best one in town (the classic response is at mamma’s or nonna’s) to how many eggs or egg yolks one puts into the perfect one to whether it’s served with rigatoni or spaghetti. Quite simply, if you haven’t eaten a carbonara in Rome, you haven’t eaten a carbonara. Unfortunately it’s one of those dishes that has taken on a completely different form around the world with versions containing everything from mushrooms to peas. No, no, no, no. Roman carbonara has three ingredients and three ingredients only. Eggs, pecorino Romano (sheep’s milk cheese) and guanciale (cured pork cheek or jowl). And - under no circumstances - cream. While the classic is the best, in Rome nowadays you’ll find a few flirtatious variations and with these addresses you’re sure to sample some of the best.

 

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CLASSIC

Da Enzo

For: One of the best carbonara in Trastevere. There’s always a long line at the front which is half the fun and is an indication of how good the food is. Kick off with the burrata but don’t miss the carbonara as you fine elbow to elbow.

Da Teo

For: A quintessential roman trattoria experience. Dine inside or out on all of the Eternal City classics including the carbonara and a mean amatriciana. Their pan carasau (crispy Sardinian flat bread) with burrata and seasonal puntarelle or artichokes is to die for. 

Flavio al Velavevodetto

For: An incredible carbonara in a historic location. This local favorite is into Monte Testaccio - a mound of amphora tile pieces that date back to Ancient Rome. Hot tip - finish off with their surprise filled tiramisù.


Emma

For: A modern take on the roman trattoria. With their prized produce, the food at Emma never disappoints. They have pizza and more on the menu too, but the carbonara is a real winner.


Piperno

For: Carbonara and a fine dining experience. Piperno has one star in the prestigious Michelin guide and their classic version of the king of roman cuisine is not to be missed.

Roscioli

For: A high quality carbonara with the finest ingredients. The Roscioli name is well-known in Rome and beyond for excellence. This wine bar and salumeria books up fast but do yourself a favor and reserve in advance online.

 

PIZZA

Seu Illuminati

For: The best gourmet pizza and coolest pizzeria in town. Young Pier Daniele Seu has wowed all of Italy winning every award and each accolade is deserved. His pizzas are outstanding and the menu changes seasonally. There’s always something classic roman, sometimes including carbonara supplì or pizza itself.

 

STREET FOOD

I Supplì

For: Carbonara on the run. Their version is silky smooth and for a few euro, you can have a quick lunch, dinner or anytime snack. While their classic supplì is famous, try the carbonara one too!

Supplizio

For: A gourmet take on suppli. In addition to a delectable carbonara supplì you’ll find many other flavor combinations on the menu devised by prominent roman chef Arcangelo Dandini.

 

GLUTEN FREE

 Mama Eat

For: Those looking to avoid gluten! This place caters to celiacs with two kitchens and their entire menu (from fritti to pasta to pizza) available in gluten free format.

 

 


Marina Cacciapuoti