Real Roman Trattoria

decor floors

We have been discussing what real Rome is and what real Romans eat, lately. Here is my “how to tell if you are in a real Roman trattoria” check list.

decor wooden panels 2 decor tablecloth 2 decor plastic knives 2

If a trattoria looks like your grandparents’ home they built/moved into/refurbished in the 50s

If the people serving you the food look like your nonno

If the kitchen is tiny and a woman who looks like your nonna is toiling away in it, with an apron over her house-dress, and a darker-than-italian-looking guy helping


If the pasta is overcooked because nonna’s teeth are not the best anymore and the amatriciana not spicy because that gives nonno heartburn, but your plate gets piled up with it because you need the energy to get through the afternoon (working in the fields)

carciofo cicoria
If the vegetable is seasonal but cooked to death or a bit burnt and dry because that was the cicoria contorno for yesterday’s roast and of course the leftovers will get heated up today and what if it gets forgotten in the oven for a couple minutes too long, this is your nonna after all and where were you yesterday when everything was fresh, you gone astray child?


If the wine is from Zio Pepe or from the neighbor back home in the hills, and comes by the liter


If you desperately need the amaro after lunch, colored with caramel, not the herbs that nonno claims it is made of, to silence your stomach

If you see cheap business suits (during the week) and old men (weekends) looking for the home cooked meals of wives or mamme long gone

Then you are eating real Roman food in a real Roman trattoria. You will get a better meal for the same price at, say, the cool/modern-looking, non-Roman, L’Asino D’Oro, but the experience you remember longer might be the one here. Ottima cucina, everyone will tell you.

ottima cucina

The trattoria in this post is

Via San Martino della Battaglia 17
closed wednesdays

but there are hundreds like it all over Rome, inside and outside the GRA.

One Response to “Real Roman Trattoria”

  1. Christine

    I knew from the first picture that this was going to be a good list!