Checchino Dal 1887 is one of the world's great restaurants for unreconstructed, perfectly executed offal-heavy Roman cooking, traditional ambience and superb wine.If one's tastes are towards the bawdy and gutsy rather than the refined and elegant it is unmissable.
Just back from Rome where we explored recommendations by the forum(and others):
1 - First night, walked to Cecchino dal 1887 south of Aventino hill where we had our hotel (San Anselmo)...and, indeed, it is as described by Tom (I actually had been there over 5 years ago but did not remember...). Wanting to go long on offals, etc.. I asked for advice and the maitre d'hotel was kind enough to offer me to take 50/50s, e.g.
- starter: half Veal head cold "stuff" (I would say fromage de tete in French) and half warm deboned veal feet
- Main dish: half tripe alla Romana and half small intestine dish
These were all quite an experience and I was grateful for the suggestion as Isabelle was not too keen on sharing these dishes and ordered her own choice
2 - First lunch was very satisfying (via dei capuccini close to Barberini/spagnard/villa Medicis) in the restaurant of an hotel claiming quality food at good price which was indeed the case
3 - Dinner at Ditirambo Piazza della cancelleria 74-75 (easy to miss but great)with a really great wine list and superb food (a bit like Ragno d'Oro). Amazing Italian wine list but also great French wines (Chassagne 1er cru Fontaine Gagnard,Chambolle Combe d'Orveaux Clavelier 2009 150€, Fourrier GC Combe aux moines 2009 190€, Ross Trapet GC 2010 etc..., Pichon Baron and Lalande to quote a few). We went with great recommendation of an Etna white wine with minerality (and a bit of fruit). Starter was a trittico ditirambo (zucchini flower, tartare, smoked ham of goose), main dish superb seafood (polpo) and very fine desert (millefeuille with strawberries). Bill very reasonable. Food and wine excellent Home
4 - Lunch at Ragno d'Oro as advised by Dan also did meet all expectations and is highly recommended (similar budget as Ditirambo... except for the wine if you wish to drink well at Ditirambo).
Last meals were less commendable so I will not give adresses. All in all a great trip to Rome (we also stayed at the bar of the Villa Medicis, great venue to take a rest)
Just back from a very short break in Rome (principally for the rugby) so thought I'd add some thoughts/experiences to this thread. On the wine front I wanted to be tasting new things rather than seeking out tried and tested favourites. Didn't get to try any Frascati either although I didn't see it on any wine list in the places visited.
II Pentagrappolo (Via Celimontana; very near to the Colosseum): Operates as Natural Wine / Jazz Bar. Really nice vibe here. Food wise focus is on Cured meats / Cheese which were very good. Wine wise (owner's recommendation) we opted for the 2014 Cantina Marco Merli "Tristo" (a 100% Sangiovese from Umbria); very elegant in style with a focus on fruit puirty rather than a lot of oak. This was followed by a 2015 Cantine Olivella "Vipt" Vesuvio Rosso (100% Piedirosso); much wilder than the Sangiovese; tannic, chewy, black fruited and very savoury. Prices here were very reasonable indeed. Would love to come back here when they have a live Jazz performance on.
Armando al Pantheon (Salita dei Crescenzi; just round the corner from the Pantheon): Firstly thanks to Filippo for the recommendation (this was exactly the sort of place I wanted to find in Rome). Small, cosy trattoria (35 to 40 covers) with dark wood pannelling around the walls of the dining room adorned with a wide variety of paintings/pictures on the walls. We didn't have a reservation but the waiter very kindly accommodated us which was lucky as during the course of the lunch they turned away at least 40 people (who hadn't booked). Another unexpected pleasure was the company of the actress Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones fame) on the table opposite; certainly got the fellow diners in the restaurant all excited! The food here was excellent especially the spelt and chickpea soup and the Pork sausages with sauteed chicory; it was unfussy, nicely presented and damn tasty fare! Dessert wise the "Torta Antica Roma" is a must have; cake made with ricotta cheese, strawberry jam and fresh strawberries was moreish.
The wine list here was very comprehensive (all across Italy) and very well priced with options from Passopisciaro, Girolamo Russo, Selvapiana, Felsina, Mastroberandino etc. I wanted something on the lighter end of the scale so chose the 2013 Marion Valpolicella Superiore which was superb, delicious fruit weight, soft tannins all underpinned by this amazing acidic bite. The back label said its was 14% alcohol but you could not taste it whatsoever! I would definitely return to this restaurant although I would book a table in advance next time.
Litro (Via Fratelli Bonnet) I really wanted to go somewhere a little way off the beaten track and found this place up in the Monteverde Vecchio area which is up the hill from the Trastevere area. This was a great find especially if you like your Natural Wines (DC; this place would be right up your street) although some of the prices were a little on the ambitious side. Fancied something from the region so went for an old favourite which was the 2015 Le Coste Bianchetto (a skin contacted blend of Procanico, Malvasia and Moscato), clean, refreshing and light. Was tempted by a Pet Nat Grignolino but ended up with the 2012 Podere Pradarolo "Libens" (100% Croatina) from Emilia Romagna; all blackcurrant fruit and lots of tannin. Food was great here especially the Paprika Prawns on toast and vibrant fennel, orange and chilli salad.
Roscioli, a two minute walk. Really great deli with a small attached restaurant using excellent produce, fantastic wine list, plenty of gems to suit all budgets. Cacio e Pepe considered to be one of the best in Rome, great salumi, and try anything with egg there (google Paolo Parisi eggs). My favourite place in Rome!