This week, I updated my list of recommend restaurants in Rome and some readers were surprised to find L’Arcangelo made the list. They rightfully pointed out that a lunch in May had been disastrous and that a dinner in September wasn’t perfect, either. However, my conclusion after both of those meals (and another two in the past week) is that when you go to L’Arcangelo you have to order specific things. If you get the suppli’, cacio e unto (essentially la gricia, pictured above), and l’amatricana you won’t want to eat them anywhere else. I would encourage any visitor to Rome to order those dishes and I would discourage them from delving into other parts of the menu, simply because Arcangelo’s classic dishes of the cucina romana are that good.

This discussion brings up an interesting topic, which I will explore in a blog post next week. In Rome, as elsewhere, you have to know what to order at restaurants in order to be fully satisfied. It is a widely accepted notion that not everything on the menu has to be flawless and of equal quality for the restaurant to be considered great. While I don’t fully embrace this idea (I think everything on a menu, especially at restaurants of a certain caliber, should be well executed and conceived), I do know that in Rome many places do some things exceptionally well and others not so well or very very badly. So I go to certain places for certain dishes, and know if I randomly order off the menu I might be disappointed. In general, if you know what to order at each restaurant you can save yourself a lot of grief and improve your dining experiences considerably. Check back Monday for my suggestions of what to eat in my favorite Roman restaurants.