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Rome

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10 Restaurants

From Andrew Harper:

Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the Eternal City is its historical continuity. The Ponte Fabricio, which spans the Tiber to the Isola Tiberina, dates from 62 B.C. and remains in daily use. And 2,000 years after it was built, the Pantheon still has the world’s largest unreinforced dome. Arguably, the best introduction to the city is still “The Companion Guide to Rome” by Georgina Masson, first published in 1965. It is certainly a favorite of mine, and I have long enjoyed following its detailed walking itineraries. Rome is particularly beautiful during the so-called “ottobrate,” from mid-September to the end of October. High summer is hot and disagreeable, and the Romans themselves leave the city for the seaside. 

- Andrew Harper

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Restaurants

Husband-and-wife team Agata Parisella and Romeo Caraccio fuse contemporary cuisine with venerable Roman traditions. Dishes include ravioli filled with braised oxtail, simple yet delicious spaghetti with grated Pecorino cheese and black pepper, Mediterranean scorpion fish with a potato foam and sea urchins, and rich braised veal cheek with a parsnip purée.

Via Carlo Alberto, 45 Rome US$110 http://www.agataeromeo.it/

Situated in the former Jewish ghetto, this charming and informal spot is famous for its carciofi alla giudia (fried artichokes, “Jewish style”). Also, try any of the wonderful dishes with fresh-made pasta, the fritto misto vegetariano, and the first-rate stuffed zucchini blossoms. Tables spill out into the quiet piazza, which provides a magical setting in summer. Closed Mondays.

Via Monte de’Cenci 9 Rome US$60 http://www.ristorantepiperno.com/

This family-run trattoria offers delicious regional food and outstanding service. The seasonal menu generally features dishes such as a mixed antipasti of veal-stuffed olives, deep-fried zucchini and soft sausage. Another specialty is tortino (small flan-like cakes made with vegetables). Rabbit dishes are a specialty, and if it’s on the menu, try the luscious timballo di coniglio con potate—a casserole of rabbit with potatoes. The clientele is always well turned out, and reservations are essential.

Via di San Vito 13/A Rome US$50

Cristina Bowerman ran a catering company in Austin, Texas, before returning to her native Italy and taking over the kitchen at this handsome restaurant in the delightful Trastevere district. In a city that is notably conservative when it comes to food, Bowerman has won a reputation for inventive dishes such as her signature ravioli filled with asparagus and a cream made with Parmesan that’s been aged for 60 months, and rich risotto made with a Bagnoli blue cheese. On the often-changing menu, watch for dishes such as lamb with pumpkin sauce, shiitake mushrooms and quinoa; and lobster with aromatic salad and avocado. Excellent wine list.

Vicolo dè Cinque, 58 Rome US$140 http://www.glass-restaurant.it/

Anthony Genovese, who formerly worked at the Tokyo branch of Florence’s Enoteca Pinchiorri, is one of the most innovative chefs in Rome, and this stylish place offers an eclectic menu of Italian classics and fusion food, including shrimp with turnips, anise and peanuts; spaghetti with lentils and sea urchin; and lamb with Roman broccoli and mushrooms.

Via dei Banchi Vecchi 129a Rome US$100 http://www.ristoranteilpagliaccio.com/

Even among food-savvy Romans, this remains a bit of a secret. The interior looks like the classic trattoria, albeit a refined one, with ochre walls hung with old prints. The food is first-class, with dishes such as fresh-made chitarra pasta with marinated anchovies and fried artichokes, and main courses like a variation on the classic Roman dish of steamed salt cod with a purée of broccoli and warm ricotta infused with cocoa beans. Ask for recommendations from the interesting wine list, which is full of selections from Italy’s smaller producers.

Via Giuseppe Giaocchinio Belli 59 Rome $65 http://www.ristorantelarcangelo.com

Located just around the corner from the Campo de’ Fiori market, this is a favorite place for casual dining. The snug space is tucked away behind a gourmet grocery shop. Start with burrata, the creamy mozzarella-like cheese from Puglia, with anchovies; or squid-and-vegetable salad; then try the best spaghetti carbonara in town. If you don’t want pasta as a main course, the roasted swordfish with vegetables, and meatballs with smoked ricotta and chestnut polenta, are excellent. There is a superb assortment of cheeses and one of the city’s best wine lists.

Via dei Giubbonari 21 Rome US$60 http://www.anticofornoroscioli.com/ristorante.htm

Set on the charming piazza in front of the rococo façade of the Santa Maria Maddalena church, this lovely small restaurant offers many pleasures. Foremost is the cooking of chef Rita Colaiacomo, who draws on the traditions of Rome, Emilia-Romagna and Puglia, the land of her grandmother. Look for satisfying starters such as a cake of salt cod and potatoes with chickpea cream; pastas like the classic Roman homemade maccheroncini with tomato, bacon and sheep cheese; and main courses such as lamb chops with potatoes and rosemary.

Piazza della Maddalena, 4 Rome US$75 http://www.clementeallamaddalena.it

Finding a restaurant in Rome on Sunday night can be a challenge, which is how I discovered this delightful spot. Reputed to be the oldest trattoria in the city, it might not be the most elegant, but the food makes it a must. Pastas are excellent, as are the lamb dishes. (Nowhere does a better take on the simple cacio e pepe with just ground pepper, butter and Pecorino cheese.) The service can be perfunctory, but come on Sunday for lunch, when you will see happy Roman families enjoying every bite.

Vicolo della Campana, 18 Rome US$55 http://www.ristorantelacampana.com/index.php/it/

The three Troiani brothers temper their culinary imaginations with respect for Roman tradition. Several dining rooms (one frescoed and another hung with classical oil paintings) provide memorable settings for the refined gastronomy. Among the signature dishes are a beautiful selection of pristine raw fish in various preparations, and roasted pigeon marinated with wine, herbs and vegetables with rosemary and persimmon. Closed Sundays.

Vicolo dei Soldati 31 Rome US$100 http://www.ilconviviotroiani.com/ita/index.html

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