Virtuoso Life - March/April 2018 - 108
Clockwise from top: Classic
conveyance, Aroma's mackerel
confit with baby vegetables, and
centuries-old La Campana.
Al Moro: An old-school find near Trevi Fountain, wood-paneled Al Moro specializes in osso buco and
other classics and has an excellent wine list. Vicolo delle Bollette 13; ristorantealmororoma.com.
Aroma: Palazzo Manfredi's dreamy rooftop restaurant pairs quintessential Roman dishes with colossal
views. Via Labicana 125; aromarestaurant.it.
La Campana: Steps from the Tiber River, this open-plan trattoria with a 500-year history serves delicious
antipasti, pasta, and meats. Vicolo della Campana 18; ristorantelacampana.com.
L'Osteria de Memmo: Shh! Don't tell the tourists. Locals full of personality love this hidden spot in the old
part of town for cacio e pepe, veal, and atmosphere. Via dei Soldati 22/23; osteriadememmo.it.
V I RT U O S O L I F E
By "they," I mean the dinner party of 18
Americans in front of you at the "authentic" trattoria your guidebook mentioned.
Here's how to avoid that gridlock.
Eat late, first of all. Romans lunch
between 1:30 and 3 pm and eat dinner no
earlier than 8. La Campana is an untouristy favorite not far from Piazza Navona.
The menu doesn't come in four languages
or have laminated color photos, and the
waiters can be gruff (at first), but the
tonnarelli cacio e pepe - the classic Roman
pasta specialty with a sauce of cheese and
black pepper - is outstanding, and the
antipasti table is a meal unto itself. "Go
for lunch on the weekend and you'll see
families who've had the same table for
generations," King says. Dinner reservations are a must.
Getting (nearly) lost helps as well.
L'Osteria de Memmo, also in the old city
center, is hidden on an obscure side street
that helps keep the place a secret. Specialties include roasted suckling pig and
cacio e pepe, but take heed: The portions
are enormous. Closer to Trevi Fountain,
family-run Al Moro is an old standby
packed with charismatic neighborhood
types - if you don't go too early for dinner. Waitstaff prepare the spaghetti Al
Moro (carbonara, essentially) tableside,
delicately mixing the egg in upon presentation. You won't get that at the nearby
Even places you'd think would be
overrun can feel like escapes if you time
things right. My wife and I sipped Aperol
spritzes for an hour at dusk at a café table
opposite the Pantheon, our son happily
mesmerized by the human parade passing through Piazza della Rotonda. On
Palazzo Manfredi's rooftop overlooking
the Colosseum, Aroma is popular with
out-of-towners, but even locals can't
resist the backdrop. King was there for a
late lunch a few years ago and noticed the
mayor of Rome entertaining the mayor
of London. "Guess which mayor knew the
seat to take for the best view in the entire
city?" King asks. One guess, and it wasn't
the mayor of London. I have the table
memorized for our next visit, though I
must say, we did pretty well ourselves, in
a veni, vidi, vici sort of way.