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Looking for great spaghetti carbonara in Rome

I'll be staying at the top of the Spanish Steps and would love to find a great local place
to eat carbonara on my arrival Thursday night.

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  1. Try Il Carbonara on the Camp di Fiori!

    1. The best carbonara we tasted during our trip to Rome was at Da Gigetto. Actually, it was the best carbonara we've ever tasted. Period.

      1. Actually, I thought "Carbonara" in Campo di Fiori was mediocre. It is a classic, but my husband put it perfectly by saying "they stopped caring long ago". We love the carbonara at Armando al Pantheon. Also, you can't go wrong at La Rampa just below the Spanish Steps. Never had the carbonara and they are a little touristy, but the food was always good. And I never had carbonara at Da Gigetto either, but I do love that restaurant so it would be worth a try. But be sure to start with the carciofi fritti (fried artichokes).

        1. One of my first stops in Rome is always "Perilli" on the Via Marmorata for their carbonara. Bring your appetite.

          8 Replies
          1. re: bropaul

            Tell me where the Via Marmorata is. I can't find it on my map's index. Thanks

            1. re: Sid Cundiff

              It runs from about the Porta San Paolo to the Tiber. If you can find the Metro station"Piramide" on your map look for the long straight street between the station and the river.

              1. re: Sid Cundiff

                supplementing Bropaul's post, its the northern border of Testaccio, along the Tiber just south of the Aventine Hill.

              2. re: bropaul

                Bropaul...did a little research on Perilli, sounds like a real gem...do you know if its open on Sundays? Another site said closed Wednesday. A stop there would round out my Rome dining itinerary in June...

                1. re: dzier

                  The info I have (ancient) also gives their closing day as Wednesday.

                  1. re: bropaul

                    Been looking for a good place open on Sunday, within reasonable distance from ancient Rome...does the staff speak English or shall I brush up on some phrases? I've read enough great reviews about the place to pencil them in for a Sunday dinner after touring Ancient Rome...thanks for the info...can't wait!

              3. Carbonara is so dicey -- it's so easy to ruin. What you want is a cook with a sure touch who's been making it for 20+ years, and that's getting very hard to find. Hostaria Nerone has good carbonara, made by the owner's sister, who has a real gift for it. And I hate to say it, but Al Moro can usually guarantee a good carbonara. "Spaghetti al moro" is carbonara with red instead of black pepper, and they do have a good touch. Up in the rarefied Trinità dei Monti, where you'll be, I can't think of anyplace traditional enough.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mbfant

                  mbfant...will they make it with black pepper also? My wife isn't much for the heat of red pepper ...

                  Also...another site calls it a "light" carbonarra ... and says the chef likes to cook with salt. Your opinion?

                  1. re: dzier

                    I'm sure they would make it with black pepper, though the red is not overwhelming and it is not the friendliest place. I suppose you could call it light, though light carbonara is something of an oxymoron. I haven't had the dish in a number of years. As for salt, I can't say about this specific case, but I do know that traditional Roman restaurants in general have a heavier hand with the salt than many visitors are used to.

                2. Fiaschetteria Beltrame on Via della Croce should make a good carbonara. They make an excellent gricia and a very serviceable amatriciana. It's a casual place and an easy walk from where you are staying. Go down the Spanish Steps and take a right, then the ladt left before exiting the Piazza di Spagna on via del Babuino. It will be on your left, about 2 blocks down the street.

                  1. Just got back from Italy on what my husband called the "Carbonara Tour". While he didn't get to eat it as much as he wanted, here are our favorites: Perilli's (as mentioned in another reply) was pretty good -- it was our first time there and enjoyed the food. I had the lamb cooked in vinegar and hubby had the involtini. The place was packed with locals and luckily we had a reservation because everyone who came in without one was turned away -- prices very reasonable -- 67 Euros for dinner for two with wine (albeit house wine, but most house wines are better than some $10-20 bottles here in the states) -- antipasti, primi, secondi and dessert. Perilli's is closed on Wednesdays. A number of buses stop right in front of the place. Second favorite carbonara was at Abruzzi off the Piazza SS. Apostoli off the Corso (closed Saturday). Lots of locals here, too. The pancetta seemed different. They do great fish there as well. Lunch for two with primi, secondi, wine and cafe -- 47 Euros. Our favorite place for carbonara is also in Testaccio, just around the corner from Perilli's and that is Trattoria Da Oio a Casa Mia on the Via Galvani. It is eggier and pepperier (made up words, but fitting) than any other carbonara we've ever had -- it is delicious -- and filling. Hubby was able to eat a secondo (stracchetti with rocket) and I had a puntarella salad. Save room for dessert -- the panna cotta and torta di nonna were delicious. Lunch for 2 with wine was 58 Euros. Be sure to make a reservation if you go there for dinner; for lunch get there early (1:00) because it fills up fast. Buon Appetito!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mastack

                      Mastack...thanks for the information. Good stuff.

                      How far in advance did you make your reservations for both places, do you remember? And would you have any recommendations in terms of how to dress in both restaurants (Perilli, Trattoria)? My biggest fear is walking into a place after spending the day touring sites in my casual attire and having the staff and guests look at us funny. As an American, I don't want to stick out any more than I can get away with.

                      1. re: dzier

                        We made our reservations for dinner at Perilli earlier the same day and had no reservations for lunch at Da Oio or Abruzzi -- but we did get there between 1-1:15 (seemingly early at these establishments). As far as dress goes, "Italian" casual is fine. I make this distinction because jeans are perfectly fine with a nice shirt and/or jacket. Just no tennis shoes and sweat shirts (my opinion). I love to notice how the Italians put themselves together -- take their lead and you won't go wrong. Enjoy!

                      2. re: mastack

                        Was there an English menu or english translation of their menu at Perilli's? Just want to know how much Italian I need to study up on...

                      3. My Roman friend says the best carbonara he has had was in Meo Patacca in Trastevere. I will have to add Perilli's to my list for our next visit - I only wish I had read these posts a month ago and I would have been able to try these places. So far, the best carbonara I've ever had wasn't in Rome.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: diamond_skies

                          I'm surprised to hear a Roman recommending Da Meo Patacca, it's an absolute tourist trap. I'm glad that mastack had a good experience at Da Oio, I'm always hesitant to recommend it because I find the staff a bit gruff - and I speak Italian.

                          1. re: bropaul

                            Gruff at Da Oio? I rather say that the timbre is "brassy". For the wife of the owner -- if you like your women to blow blow the trumpets and bag bag the brasses, is a delight, of her rodomontade the tonality done by Stravinsky, the orchestration by Berlioz. My meal there back in March 2006 as quite good, first the Carbonara, then some tripe: lamb's organs in stew. Mighty fine eatin', y'all.

                            1. re: Sid Cundiff

                              Here is the website: http://www.ristorantedameopatacca.com...

                              I was surprised when I saw it - it does look very touristy and appears to be owned by an ex-pat American. Hopefully, the chef is Italian!

                              You can also try i Buon Amici, near San Giovanni in Laterano. It is a small osteria, just far enough away from all the main sites to be good. I had the carbonara there last month and it was good but I think they put the parmesan in at the end, rather than mix it with the egg. I like it mixed in with the egg so it melts more before serving.