Blog:  Best Carbonara, Amatriciana and Cacio e pepe pasta in Rome

Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in General | 3 comments


We are not lovers of charts and Top 5/10 lists, especially when talking about food. Too many different elements contribute to the evaluation of a restaurant and of  a single dish either. This is why from time to time we leave to our Italian blog readers the scouting of the “best” (it would be better to say the most popular) Roman delicacies with doing a web contest. Of course we do not intend to be absolute, but since votes received are not few the results can be very helpful. And we are used to list the most popular venues in a “pocket” (pdf file) free to download.

We already did web contests for Cornetto, Gelato and Supplì (click the links to download the pdf files) and today we have just closed an amazing pasta contest! We have selected three Roman pasta recipes among the most appreciated by locals and visitors, we created a list of 12 restaurants among our favorites for each type and allowed everybody to vote for one week, leaving the possibility to add any not listed restaurants with blog comments.

Below you’ll discover the top 5 restaurants for each dish with the percentage of votes received in the contest, but you’ll also know something more about their preparations according to “grandmother” traditions thanks to the great recommendations written by Giovanna “Burro e Alici“. She is president of a cultural association, educational teacher, food blogger and food guide in our Trionfale Food Market and Romane Cuisine Food Tour (and not only). Let Giovanna “speak”…


“Roman pasta recipes are based on so simple ingredients that everybody thinks they can make a very good pasta…BIG MISTAKE! It is not as easy as it seems, and I, a self-proclaimed judge, am not willing to let go on a few rules which are THE rules. Do not dare put parmesan on the carbonara, forget about olive oil on the “cacio e pepe” and, please, do not even think you can use pancetta for the “amatriciana”!!!

If you really want to be sure you are really eating high-quality pasta, you need to be aware of a number of things: but first of all pasta must be al dente, and I mean it!”

“The CARBONARA must show a perfectly creamy yellow sauce (neither overcooked pieces nor over fluid sauces), it should be prepared with the “guanciale” (but if the “pancetta” is good quality I could let it pass) and needs to be served with black pepper and Roman pecorino (remember this is very different from Tuscany type such as Siena’s pecorino). Most of all, a good carbonara shall keep its taste till the end: if instead, as you eat, it gets dry and hard to eat, that means it was not so good (or else you are indeed a slow eater!). Spaghetti or rigatoni? It does not really matter, if it stays good!
P.S. I do not even mention cream, butter or onions or other ingredients… as far as I am concerned, this would not qualify as carbonara at all.”


  1. Salotto Culinario 25%
  2. Roscioli 22%
  3. Flavio al Velavevodetto 13%
  4. L’Arcangelo 10%
  5. Pipero al Rex 7%

“When it comes to AMATRICIANA make no mistake: it is the guanciale which makes this recipe a masterpiece! The guanciale (it is imperative you never use pancetta!) must be cut into small stripes (not in cubes) so that each piece would have a fat as well as a lean part. If the guanciale is hard, it means that it has been cooked with oil too hot or too cold! Bad… Many restaurants use rigatoni for amatriciana… it can pass but either big spaghetti or “bucatini” are the real thing. Also for the amatriciana using pecorino is a must, along with just a little of red pepper (not too much as the pasta needs to be tasty not spicy) and pay attention to the sauce: if no piece of tomato is visible that means it has been made with squeezed tomato sauce, another breach to the rules!”


  1. Flavio al Velavevodetto 16%
  2. Roscioli 15%
  3. Osteria Fernanda 14%
  4. Da Cesare al Casaletto 12%
  5. Armando al Pantheon 11%

“The CACIO E PEPE is the simplest of them all but, according to me, the tastiest. Spaghetti (or rigatoni if you really insist…), pecorino and a lot of black pepper. No olive oil at all. Many restaurants use olive oil to avoid that precooked pasta get sticky. However the real cacio e pepe is made only by using cooking water to create the typical pecorino cream. So, it is necessary to cook everything at the same time including the pasta. Pecorino needs to be high quality and well matured… watch out: if you find thickened pecorino on the bottom of the dish we are very far from the real thing! In this case it means the pecorino was not matured long enough and too much water was poured onto it. A good cacio e pepe needs to perfectly mix pecorino and cooking water which, forming a creamy sauce, provides pasta with a black- dotted white cover. Just one recommendation: this pasta needs to be eaten rather fast, the cream does not stand for long!”.


  1. Felice a Testaccio 43%
  2. Roscioli 13%
  3. Flavio al Velavevodetto 9%
  4. Armando al Pantheon 7%
  5. Vino e Camino 6%

Congratulations to the contest winners and thank you to all the blog readers that have participated with their vote.

Click here to download our pocket Best Pasta restaurants in Rome, including the above and the other most loved places for our blog readers.

Enjoy Rome and its amazing pasta!

Italian version

Images intend to be representative and not associated to hihlighted restaurants.

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Rome's bloggers and Food Tours organizers. For those living in Rome and for those who want to live and eat the way the Romans do.


  1. 10-16-2012

    Thanks for this – I can’t wait to try these out when I’m in Rome later this year.

    I smiled at Giovonna’s comments – love how passionate Italians are about food. Happy to read that she is the guide of the market tour I have booked in December!

  2. 10-22-2012

    Yum! I’ve got your pdf file and I want to try some of these restaurants when I’ll be in Rome next year.

  3. 12-12-2013

    I also’d like to suggest Tanto pè Magnà (in the Garbatella district) for the cacio e pepe. It is really delightful (and low-cost, that is a plus), check our pics and review:

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