Category Archives: Amatriciana

When in Rome-Our Favorite Restautants

Michele and I rented an apartment in Rome again in February.IMG_9834

We have decided that for us it is better than a winter vacation to Florida, Mexico or the Caribbean. While it may not be as warm, the food is much better and Rome is Rome and we love it. These are the restaurants that Michele and I go back to every time we are in Rome.IMG_9708

Trattoria da Giggetto– Michele and I always go to the same place for lunch when we arrive in Rome.  We drop off our bags and walk to Da Giggetto (39-066861 05) at Portico D’Ottavia 21/A-22 in the Jewish ghetto.

I do not need to look at the menu because I always order the same things: fiori di zucca ripieni con mozzarella e alici.  The flowers were small and crunchy and very good.IMG_9710

I also get carciofi alla giudia  (fried artichoke) and spaghetti con vongole veraci.

IMG_9711The tiny clams were tender and seasoned with just the right amount of parsley, garlic, olive oil and a hint of hot pepper.  Michele had carciofi alla romana, braised artichoke and fettuccine with ragu. We drank the Passerina del Fruisnate IGT 2014 from Feudi Del Sole. It went very well with the food even with the fried artichoke.

Trattoria Armando al Pantheon-Salita de’ Crescenzi 21 This is one of Michele’s favorite restaurants in Rome and one of the restaurants that you have to make a reservation for lunch or dinner. We only started going here a few years ago and have been going there ever since.IMG_9694

I started with grilled bread Roman style with butter and anchovies,  while Michele had Buffalo mozzarella with braised Roan artichoke.

IMG_9701Then we had spaghetti alla Matriciana, chicken in white wine with peppers, and grilled sausages with lentils.IMG_9696

We drank Ghemme 2005 “Collis Brechema” Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo

IL Martriciano Via dei Gracchi, 55    06 32 13 040-06 32 12 327

Michele and I have been coming here for the last 35 years and nothing changes, the owners, the waiters and the menu are the same. I started as usual with a carciofo romano, fried zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies and of course bucatini matriciana

IMG_9765 I had the roasted baccala with potatoes in a tomato and onion sauce, which was delicious.IMG_9764

Michele had Vignarola, peas, artichokes and fava beans.

And for dessertIMG_9766

Ristorante Ar Galletto Piazza Farnese 104   06 686 1714

Michele likes to come here when the weather is warm so we can sit outside because the restaurant is in the Piazza Farnese and she loves the view.IMG_9771

We had fiori di zucca, fried artichoke, spaghetti with fresh anchovies and pecorino.IMG_9775

and crostata for dessert.IMG_9768

We drank Offida Pecorino 2014 “Merlettale” from Ciú Ciú.

Checchino Dal 1887 (, Via  Monte 30 Testaccio.IMG_9789

The Mariani family has owned the restaurant since 1887. Francesco Mariani takes care of the front of the house while his brother Elio is in the kitchen.

Michele and I have been coming here since 1981. It is the restaurant where I drank Fiorano Rosso for the first time. The vintage was 1961IMG_9786

We went with friends that live in Rome and they were surprised when the Francesco came over and the first thing he said was, “I have one bottle of Fiorano Rosso left, the 1983, do you want it?” That was a trick question. Of course I wanted it!IMG_9791

Considering the wine and the food, it is the best restaurant in Rome with over six hundred wines from Italy and all over the world. The wine cellar is dug into Monte Testaccio, a hill made from broken amphorae, which date back to Ancient Rome. Francesco gave us a tour of the cellar that holds over 600 wines.IMG_9856

The slaughterhouses of Rome used to be located here and the restaurant still specializes in the so-called quinto quarto, the fifth quarter, or innards and other spare parts.IMG_9781

We ate Artichoke alla RomanaIMG_9783

Bucatini all’AmatricianaIMG_9897

Fegato di Vitello ai ferri, and grilled baby lamb chops.

For dessertIMG_9898

We also drank a Cesanese 2013 “Amarasco” Principe Pallavicini.





Filed under Amatriciana, Cantalupo, Checchino dal 1887, Ciu Ciu Pecorino, Da Giggetto, Fiorano Rosso, Il Matriciano, Restaurant Checchino 1887, Ristorante Ar Galletto, Roman restaurants, Rome, Torre Ercolana, Trattoria Armando al Pantheon

Eating and Drinking in Rome

If I were a rich man I would have and apartment in Rome and a house on the Amalfi Coast.  While I cannot buy a house on the Amalfi coast, I can rent one for a vacation and on the way, why not spend a few days in Rome?

We always go to the same place for lunch when we arrive in Rome.  We drop off our bags and walk to Da Giggetto(39-066861 05) at Portico D’Ottavia 12A, in the Jewish ghetto.  The afternoon was sunny and too hot to dine outside so we sat in a newly opened room with big glass windows onto the Portico D’Ottavia and the synagogue.

Fiori di Zucca e Carciofi

I do not need to look at the menu because I always order the same things: fiori di zucca ripieni con mozzarella e alici The flowers were small and crunchy and very good.  I also get carciofi alla giudia  (fried artichokes) and spaghetti con vongole veraci. The tiny clams were tender and seasoned with just the right amount of parsley, garlic, olive oil and a hint of hot pepper. Michele had il filetto di baccala (she loves the way the Romans fry) and the puntarelle in salsa d’ alici, her favorite salad, a type of chicory.  It was a relaxing start to our trip.
For a number of years now we have been trying to go restaurant Armando al Pantheon but somehow never get there because it is always booked up.  This time, Michele made a reservation on line from NYC.  We started off with what I always order in a traditional Roman restaurant:   zucchini flowers, bucatini alla matriciana and abbacchio arrosto. The dessert was a strawberry crostata with a lattice top.    Michele really loved the food here.  The wine was the 2005 Montepulciano D’Abruzza, from Emidio Pepeit was less than 40 euro–a real bargain in a restaurant. The wine was big but with a lot of fruit and not as tannic as I would have expected. Most of my experiences with these wines are ones that are 25 years and older. The wine prices in Rome, especially for non-local wines, were better than on the Amalfi coast.

At Checchino dal 1887  V (, Via  Monte 30 Testaccio, Francesco Mariani takes care of the front of the house while his brother Elio is in the kitchen. A number of years ago Francesco did us a big favor by getting us on a train to Genoa during a train strike.   Aside from that, it is in my opinion that with over six hundred wines from Italy and all over the world, this is the best restaurant in Rome for both wine and food. I always have long conversations with Francesco about Italian wine and which wine I should order with what I am eating.  Every time I go, Francesco remembers the wine I ordered the last time I was there.  This time he recommended a wine from Lazio, Cesanese del Piglio 2005 DOC  from Azienda Agricola Marcella Guliano. They no longer have any Fiorano Rosso or older vintages of Colle Picchione “Vigna dal Vassallo”.  They still have a number of vintages of the Fiorano Bianco, but serve it as a dessert wine.

Traditional Amatriciana

Once again I ordered the tasting menu because it had all of my favorite foods. I started with a tortino of eggs, peppers and tomato; this was followed by pasta alla Matriciana (yes again).  It could not have been better.  Then rabbit (coniglio alla olive di Gaeta con rughetta and pomodoro) followed by torta de mele (apple tart).

Checchino is still a member of L’ Unione di Ristoranti del Buon Ricordo, a group of restaurants that give you a plate if you order their signature dish or tasting menu. Since we both ordered the tasting menu we were given two plates.  We have almost 100 of these plates and eight are from Checchino.

Pierliugi(39-06-6861 302) Michele loves to sit al fresco at this seafood restaurant, which is in the charming Piazza dè Ricci but it was close to 95 degrees so we opted to do what all the Italians were doing- -eat inside and enjoy the air conditioning.

Amatriciana with Shellfish

We started with the stuffed fried zucchini flowers, and then I had bocconcini di polenta con baccala, polenta bites with salt cod.  Michele had the very Roman cacio e pepe.  They have their own version of pasta all’amatriciana made with paccheri, a wide pasta tube.  The sauce includes shellfish and of course I had to order it. It was very good but I would have enjoyed it more if there were less pecorino cheese, which seemed a bit much for the shellfish. For the main course I had scampi (langoustine) and large shrimp on the grill. The waiter was very good and we had a long discussion about wine.  I ordered the Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2009 made from 100% Fiano from Guido Marsella.  Pierluigi’s wine prices were higher than any restaurant we visited in Rome on this trip.  When we told the waiter we were from NYC he told us that the owner might want to speak with us since he is opening a restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After we finished lunch the owner, Lorenzo Lisi, came over and told us all about his plans for the new restaurant and that it would open in September.


Roscioli Salumeria Vineria con Cucina – Via dei Giubbonari 21-22. This is not only a restaurant but also a salumeria, a shop specializing in salumi and


cheese. Michele likes the restaurant because she believes it has the best carbonara in Rome. It also has some very creative items like the hamburger di bufala with grilled ham and a balsamic drizzle, and the burrata e alici, both of which we ordered along with the carbonara. I usually order the matriciana but Michele is right, the carbonara was terrific.  The wine was the 2003 Cerasuolo (Rosè) 100% Montepulciano d’Abuzzo from Eduardo Valentini. It was less than 40 Euro. For more on Rome see Wine in Rome a great blog by Tom Maresca.


Filed under Amatriciana, CarbonareRestaurant Da Giggetto, Italian Red Wine, Italian Restaurants, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Restaurant Armando al Pantheon, Restaurant Checchino 1887, Restaurant Pierliugi, Roman Restaurants, Rome, Roscio Salumeria Vineria con Cucina

Costiera Amalfitana: Praiano-Amalfi-Cetara

Describing the views in Praiano is just about impossible. No matter where you are — from our rented house, the piazza in front of the church, our favorite Bar del Sole and the restaurants and hotels, you can see Capri in the distance and nearby Positano.  The hotels San Pietro and Tritone are visible and built into the cliffside overhanging the water. At night the sun sets on the mountain behind Positano. And of course there is the sea.

The first and last restaurant we always go to in Praiano is La Brace, a local trattoria.  We first discovered it in 1983.  Like just about everything in the town, the restaurant is up a flight of stairs.  This was the beginning of my “Alici Period.”  Alici, for the uninitiated, is another word for acciughe, or anchovies.  These were fresh caught, not preserved, and have a rich flavor that is quite different from the kind in tins.

Spaghetti con Alici

I had spaghetti con alici and tomato followed by perfectly fried alici which were so good I almost ordered more.  Instead I ate some of Michele’s.  We drank Falanghina del Sannio 2011 from Cantina Taburno and on the second visit Greco di Tufo 2010 from Mastroberardino.  We also had fried alici on the second visit. Michlele ordered octopus (polpo) salad- she would order it often in different preparations on the trip. She also had the spaghetti with zucchini, a local specialty.

La Taverna del Leone

This may have become our new favorite restaurant. It is outside Positano and we decided to walk.  The road offers  great views that you do not see from the bus or a car and you can stop and admire them.  However it is over 2km, there are no sidewalks and the road is narrow, and most of it is uphill.  We took the bus back and both ways the second time we went.

Chitarrine Amatriciana

Michele had the insalata polpo, octopus salad here also, followed by ravioli with baccala.  I saw on the menu chitarrine amatriciana with smoked guanciale from Sauris, a town in Friuli renowned for its smoked meats, and fish.  I just had to order it.  Michele explained that chitarrine are homemade spaghetti made on a device known as a chitarra, which uses guitar-like strings to cut the pasta.  This version was better than the amatriciana I have eaten in most places in Rome.  In fact it was so good I ordered it the second time that we ate here, along with the baccala in tempura batter.  Light and puffy, this was a great main course.

Both times we ate at La Taverna del Leone, we had the same wine Pompeiano Bianco IGTKarà “ 2010 100% Catalanesca from Societa Agricola Cantine Olivella.Cannoli

For dessert we had the cannoli filled with bufala ricotta.  They were so good; I ordered them both times, too.

Lido Azzurro is a very nice restaurant on the water overlooking the port in Amalfi.

Alici Fritti

We sat outside and I ordered the alici fritti con ripiene di provola fume, fresh anchovies stuffed with smoked mozzarella, spaghetti alle vongole, with clams, and scampi e gamberoni sulla griglia, grilled shrimp and langoustines. We drank the 2008 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo from Eduardo Valentini. I should have had them decant the wine, as it was still too young.

Ristorante al Convento

Alici Fritti

Is located in Cetara, a beach town just outside Salerno.  It is famous for its alici!  The restaurant has a nice outside terrace overlooking a small square with the town rising in the background. The menu features alici in a number of different preparations. I started with a misto of alici, followed by pasta puttanesca di alici and then alici fritti con cipolla. Michele’s first two courses were alici but she said basta alici and for the main course and had seppie arrosta.  I ordered a sparking Falanghina but they did not have it so I ordered Biancolella Ischia DOC 2011 Made from 85% Biancolella and 15% Forastera, San Lunardo and Uva Rilla Casa D’Ambra.

We liked the alici so much that we stopped in a store and brought 2 jars to take home.

Trattoria dei Cartari is a very unpretentious restaurant in Amalfi. We had eaten here before but this time it looked a little run down. All of the customers were tourists ordering pizza with beer or with cappuccino.  We almost did not go in. When the waiter came over to take our order he almost did not understand what we wanted. He kept on making suggestions and he could not believe that we knew what we wanted and were ordering a full meal. When he realized this he took away the paper napkins and utensils and replaced them with cloth napkins and better utensils!Alici

I started with fried alici, moved on to pasta with seafood, grilled langoustine, and for dessert a lemon cake topped with pine nuts. The wine was Falanghina “Serrocielo” 2011 from Feudi di San Gregorio.

La Caravella

This is a Michelin one star restaurant located just after the entrance to Amalfi. We have been here a number of times The and the same waiter is always there. It is an elegant restaurant with perfect service. We always order the tasting menu

There were many courses, but highlights included a tiny fried alici stuffed with provolain an anchovy and basil sauce.  Michele said she could have eaten 5 or 6 of those.

Pasta with two sauces

Squid ink ravioli with lobster filling, and pasta with 2 sauces, one spicy and the other with seafood also stood out.  As a palate cleanser, they served a creamy lemon sorbet drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.  The wine was Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2000 100% Verdicchio Bucci. This is a great wine!



Filed under acciughe, Alici, Amalifi Coast, Amatriciana, anchovies, Cetara, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, La Taverna del Leone- Positano, Praiano, Restaurant La Brace- Praiano, Restaurant La Caranella- Amalfi, Restaurant Lido Azzurro-Amalfi, Ristorante al Convento-Cetara, Trattoria dei Cartari- Amalfi