The Best in Rome
Rome Restaurants: SAN LORENZO
text and photography by Malvina Nissim
Uno e Bino
Under the sign "Vini e Olii" you'll discover one the best kept secrets in San Lorenzo. It's hard to guess that behind what appears to be a closed entrance to a shop, a tiny restaurant is hidden. The best traditional Roman dishes are served here, along with a touch of nouvelle cuisine, all prepared with especially selected organic ingredients. A quick look at the menu and you'll realize you've found an extraordinary place. Main courses include a special "variazioni di piccione" (variations on pigeon), and among desserts you cannot help but be amazed at the idea of a tobacco mousse on a rum-flavoured jelly with a coffee-based sauce and chocolate flakes, or a yogurt foam in a sablé basket on a citrus jelly and licorice toffee. And don't forget the rich cheese tray. The wine list offers about two hundred bottles, including several independent and rare Italian labels, with an exceptional quality/price ratio The tables seat only 34, so reservations are recommended. €€
Via degli Equi 58. Tel: 06 4460702. Dinner only. Closed Mondays.
This is the neighborhood's vegetarian option. But it's more than that. This Rome restaurant not only offers a varied menu and a large wine selection, but entertains its customers with live music on the first three Mondays of every month. The fourth Monday is devoted to a guided wine tasting. The name refers to the planet earth (seen as a blue orange by the first explorers on the moon). €€
Via dei Latini, 55/65. tel. 06 445 4105. Open every evening.
iI you are game for game, this Rome restaurant is for you! The same holds if you appreciate entrails: apparently, there are only a few places where you can taste a better "pajata". Although the food is of great quality, you might be put off by the setting, starring pink tablecloths. Il Pommidoro used to be a favorite of Rome's intellectuals, including the famous writer and film director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who dined here the night he was murdered. The outside veranda makes it an attractive choice on warmer days. €€
Piazza dei Sanniti, 44. Tel: 06 445 2692. Closed Sundays.
Da Franco ar Vicoletto
The magic phrase at this Rome restaurant is "Up to you". Let Franco decide what you're going to eat (it will be a fish meal, in any case) and you won't be disappointed. The atmosphere is a bit chaotic, but very characteristic; food is excellent, and so is the quality/price ratio. €€
Via dei Falisci,1 tel 06 495 7675.
You wouldn't expect to find anything but the tram in Via dei Reti. So Tram Tram (well, what else?) is a pleasant surprise on this otherwise dull street. Your best bet here is fish, which is nicely combined with porcini or eggplant . And to finish, don't let the simplicity of the zabaione custard put you off. Try it! And make sure you don't miss the authentic historic Roman tram at the entrance. €€€
Via dei Reti, 44/46 tel 06 490416. Closed Sundays.
This amazingly crowded place is characterized by a surprising combination of superlatives: it is probably the scruffiest, the most popular, and the cheapest pizzeria in central Rome. And it is surely one of the tastiest. Located at the bottom of lively via degli Equi, Formula Uno is always full, so whatever the day, prepare to queue outside: give your name and the size of your party, and they'll call you as soon as a table is free (typically within fifteen minutes). Do not be put off by the simple interior decorated with pictures of Niki Lauda and colleagues, hanging on mildew-covered walls. The rough and local atmosphere and quality of the pizza are worth it all. The menu is printed on paper place mats, and comprises fried starters such as "fiori" and "supplì", pizzas, and sweets. It's common practice to order 66cl bottle of beer to share across the table, and if you feel like an "amaro" at the end of your meal, they might just bring you the whole bottle. Drinks, a pizza and a starter are likely to cost you not more than 10 euros. €
Via degli Equi, 13. Tel: 064453866. Closed Sundays.
Who said that cornetti are only to be eaten with a cappuccino in the morning? And who said they always have to be the same size? If you feel peckish after a night out make sure you try a giant cornetto at Dolce Notte and make sure you have some friends along to share it. They are big. You can have them empty or stuffed with one or more fillings, choosing between the standard custard (crema), Nutella, a finger-licking hazelnut sauce, jam, and the like. Standard-sized cornetti are also available.
Via dei Volsci. Open late.
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