Tag Archives: Roman cuisine

Trattoria Armando al Pantheon – the art of la cucina romana

Trattoria Trattoria Armando al PantheonArmando al Pantheon
Salita dei Crescenzi, 31
00186 Rome
Owners: Fabrizio & Claudio Gargioli


When a family can claim a Roman ancestry that goes back to the 1700’s, and said family loves to cook – they are bound to have mastered the art of “la cucina romana.”  Armando Gargioli established this popular restaurant, located in the shadow of the Pantheon, in 1961, when friends encouraged him to take on an older establishment that was failing.  Under Armando’s direction, the trattoria was an immediate success with the locals and remains so today.

Armando’s two sons, Fabrizio and Claudio, are the reason why one is well-advised to reserve a table at this quaint trattoria.  These two brothers grew up in old Rome and tenaciously cling to the traditions of old Roman recipes, to the delight of the locals and enlightened travelers.  In an area, hemmed in by “tourist” eateries, Claudio, the cook, goes about the business of dishing up authentic fare that caters only to the standards that he sets for himself, replicating the dishes that his family and neighbors have enjoyed for generations.

Fabrizio knows people and his wines, blending his passion for both in welcoming and guiding his guests in selecting the best wine to accompany their meals.  Claudio’s daughter, Fabiana, has also mastered the sommelier art and now works side by side with her uncle.  So, what does one order from the kitchen?  We let Fabrizio take over – very wise of us – and we sampled two different primi, both Roman specialties – Bucatini all’Amatriciana with a zesty tomato sauce flavored just right with guanciale and pecorino and Pasta e Ceci, the chickpeas golden and velvety smooth, drizzled with a peppery green-gold olive oil.  Claudio’s bollita di manzo was simply divine, slices of tender beef stewed in a delicate tomato sauce.  We ended with Torta Antica Roma – a cake made with a filling of ricotta cheese and strawberry preserves.

Auguri, Claudio and Fabrizio, don’t change a thing!!!


A Roman Restaurant with a history

Da PancrazioDa Pancrazio
Piazza del Biscione, 92
00186 Rome
Owners: Paolo & Laura Macchione

In the heart of old Rome – built above the ancient ruins of Rome’s first theater – Da Pancrazio can claim one of the most historical settings in the city.  Dedicated in 55 B.C., the theater of Pompey was the first permanent theater to be constructed of marble in ancient Rome.  Attached to it was a large Curia used for Senatorial assemblies and it was here that Julius Caesar was assassinated.

People who come to Da Pancrazio to dine are no doubt intrigued by this history and are invited to descend into the lower levels of the restaurant to feel its unique 2000-year-old atmosphere.  It is an awesome experience, but what makes dining here most memorable are not its cellars, but its kitchen.  Pancrazio Macchione opened the restaurant in 1922 and today it is under the careful direction of his grandson, Paolo.  In fact, the fourth generation of Pancrazio’s family are now involved in continuing a tradition of Roman cooking that has no parallel.  Adjacent to the historic market square, Campo de’ Fiori, the restaurant need not go far to seek the freshest ingredients.  When carefully selected and prepared masterfully by their chefs, these same ingredients are transformed into Roman dishes, pure and simple, some would say divine!

The cannelloni, with its delicate filling and rich tomato/béchamel sauce, is a dish fit for the gods.  But so are the paglia e fieno and the saltimbocca.  Indeed, the gods and we mortals have many choices here and we can fill our drinking vessels with the delightful house wine or choose from a list of many prestigious labels.  Da Pancrazio is a restaurant that one returns to time and time again.  Second to having the good fortune of living in this picturesque neighborhood, would be discovering this restaurant at the beginning of your visit to the eternal city, so that you can repeat what is truly a most gratifying experience.

Read more about my books featuring this and other lovely restaurants and hotels, Rooms with a View and Italian Wanderlust, by clicking on their covers:

Rooms cover      italian wanderlust 2

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