/Recommending Roscioli, With Reservations

Recommending Roscioli, With Reservations

carbonara roscioli

No single venue earns me more love letters and hate mail than Roscioli, the family-owned gourmet food shop/wine bar/restaurant in Rome’s historic center. I get it. The place is not for beginners and most of its menu items are superfluous. If you’re looking for a Roman trattoria with simple food and quaint atmosphere, this ain’t it. But if you’re after a great wine list, spectacular cheeses and cured meats, a handful of satisfying pasta dishes and an impressive selection of spirits, this is your place–especially if you aren’t on a budget.

Roscioli is mostly amazing. That’s why regulars–the city’s (and the world’s) leading chefs and food experts–place it firmly at the top of their list of places to eat in town. But here, as elsewhere, a good experience is all about ordering properly and managing expectations. Here’s how to make the most of Roscioli. Deviate and you will be disappointed.

burrata roscioli

-Start with burrata and order it with semi-sun dried tomatoes, which provide a sweet and tangy counterpoint to the creamy cheese.

-If you like fresh cheeses, get some mozzarella di bufala, too.

-Order the mortadella with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s exactly ten times as delicious as it is treif. The salumi plates are great, too, and if you’re down for a splurge, there’s jamón ibérico de bellota.

-Don’t skip the Cantabrian anchovies and butter starter just because they are Spanish and French, respectively. The anchovy-butter combo is totally Roman circa the 1980s, but the high quality European ingredients make it so much better than the original. Butter curls and anchovy filets are served with pane di Lariano, Antico Forno Roscioli’s sourdough bread. The butter comes in two flavors, salted and vanilla. I vacillate between finding the vanilla butter magical and vile, depending on the day. The spaghettone with anchovies and butter, on the pasta menu, is one of the best pasta dishes in town.

-Stick to the primi. The gnocchi, amatriciana and carbonara are ususally great. The cacio e pepe ranges from superlative to inedible.

-Skip the mains and desserts. They are a mess. You’ll get ciambelline with chocolate sauce at the end of your meal, anyway, and if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth after lunch, go directly to Pasticceria Andrea de Bellis. After dinner, Gelateria del Teatro and Carapina are a short stroll away. But regardless of what meal you eat, don’t leave Roscioli before perusing the spirits list.

-The wine list is fantastic (except the offensive presence of Bressan’s wines) and there are some real steals, especially if you steer clear of Tuscany and Piedmont (and resist your server’s attempts to up-sell wines from these regions). The wine lists (Italian and foreign) are online.

-Book well in advance for lunch or dinner. But you can walk in for aperitivo (6-8PM), though you will likely be advised you have to give up the table at a designated time. The benefits of booking a table at lunch or an early dinner? Warm slices of pizza bianca from the family’s bakery down the street.

-Roscioli’s kitchen stays open for lunch rather late by Rome standards, so if you can’t snag a reservation, try swinging by at 3ish and you might get lucky.

-None if the seating is particularly appealing, but the tables near the entrance are horrific. Downstairs can feel claustrophobic. Ask to be seated upstairs near the back for the best case scenario.

-Be prepared for service that ranges from completely chaotic to supremely attentive. The place is too expensive to have such radically inconsistent service, but it is what it is.

prosciutto roscioli

salumi roscioli

bresaola roscioli

jamon roscioli

pizza bianca roscioli

cacio e pepe roscioli

2017-02-17T15:16:30+00:00 March 1st, 2014|Categories: Food & Wine, Restaurants, Restaurants in Rome, Rome & Lazio, Wine & Spirits|Tags: |37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Ciao Chow Linda March 1, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Katie – What great recommendations. I have long enjoyed their pizza bianca but never sat down to eat at the bar/restaurant/take out place. Next time I’m in Rome, I will – and order what you ordered. Top of the list is that burrata – it’s making my mouth water. That prosciutto (or is it culatello) looks divine too.

  2. Henry S March 1, 2014 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    I quite enjoyed the last time i was there, sitting in front of the cheese case, while people look over us to get their provisions. The carbonara though is spectacular, and i have to have it every time i’m in Rome.

  3. Judy Lyness March 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    When I was in Rome I followed your advise and was not disappointed EVER. The burrata is beyond words. People would be foolish not to follow your suggestions.

  4. semsaD March 1, 2014 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Roscioli rocks!

  5. Biduline March 2, 2014 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    Hi Katie,

    After 7 years in Rome, I guess I should know but I don’t… so tell me the place you are talking about has nothing to do with the Roscioli around the corner from Pza Vittorio?!
    I now live close by and I often get bread there and saw there are some tables too but am wondering whether it is worth anything?

    PS: I have just been to Istanbul for a few days for work and used and highly appreciated your App! Thanks!

  6. Amanda @ Farsickness March 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    I completely agree with this. I went here in December per your recommendation and while the burrata was divine (I still think about it), the cacio e pepe was only so-so and the service was atrocious. Even for Italian standards.

    I’ll definitely be back for the burrata, carbonara, and other things recommended on this list the next time I’m in Rome.

  7. Jennifer Brandt May 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Katie, this post is so helpful. My husband and I are visiting Rome on our Honeymoon in June. With only 3 nights and 2 full days, we want to make sure we eat / hit the right spots. Would you recommend dinner at Roscioli or Armando al Pantheon for our first night in Rome? We arrive on a Thursday and Leave sunday; Our first full day is a Friday and we are visiting Vatican in the morning. Seems like the perfect lunch is Pizzarium afterward. Do you have recommendations for Saturday lunch near the Colosseum/ Pantheon area (It appears Armando Al Pantheon is closed on saturdays unless I’m mistaken?) Thank you!

    • Katie May 9, 2014 at 11:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Jennifer, I do recommend Roscioli for dinner and Armando for lunch; Armando is open for lunch saturdays. For all my other recomendaitons (including restaurant opening times) check out my app Katie Parla’s Rome!

      • Brett May 10, 2017 at 10:02 pm - Reply

        Hi Katie,
        I’m heading to Rome mid July for my honeymoon (after Puglia). I’m really excited for the food scene as I’ve already been there for touring a long time ago (my fiance has never, so still touring). I would like to plan a solid food day and am thinking of lunch and dinner options (mixed with snacks and desert). We’ll also only be there 2 full days, so historic touring one day and food another (or combo). Would you do breakfast pastries at Regoli Pasticceria, lunch at Cesare al Casaletto, dinner at Roscioli and gelato at any one of your favorites? Or do you have better options? Many thanks.

        btw…I love how detailed you get in each breakdown. It shows how truly passionate you are. Cheers.

        • Katie Parla May 22, 2017 at 11:01 pm - Reply

          that itinerary seems delicious but it might be pushing it to do cesare at lunch and dinner at roscioli…unless you have a hollow leg or something!!! I’d do cesare at lunch 1 day (fyi the place is closed wednesdays) and Litro 1 night, then pizzarium for lunch 1 day and roscioli for din.

          • Rachel April 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm

            Hi Katie. Roscioli does a wine tasting / dinner. Do you recommend it or stick with dinner so you can order on your own?

  8. Constantino November 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Roscioli is THE place for amazng italian food!
    When i m thinking of Rome, i m thinking of Roscioli’s beyond reality carbonara and buratta con truffa.
    Simply.

    Ps. I d love to sit by the window of cheeses and dreaming of all tastes around!

  9. Phip Herrick November 29, 2014 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Thanks for the honest review.
    Over the years I have come to really dislike this place for the simple reason that the brothers Roscioli are now so full of themselves and so arrogant that they are no longer recognizable. Yes, their fame has gone to their head and not to the improvement of this once very agreeable place. As it is just down the street from where we live I have watched the transformation over the last 3 decades. My Italian husband refuses to set foot in the place. The Forno Roscioli still remains excellent.

  10. Cate | Chez CateyLou May 18, 2015 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    I am going to Rome this summer and am absolutely loving all of your recommendations! This is a fabulous write-up. So informative and helpful. We’re still debating if we should go, but I’m leaving toward yes. We went the the market part a few years ago and loved everything that we got to take away. Thanks again and love your blog!

  11. […] there’s L’Arcangelo, while Roscioli blends innovation and tradition (though be sure to plan ahead). If you prefer traditional cucina romana at moderate prices, Armando al Pantheon, Flavio al […]

  12. Bob israel September 28, 2015 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Katie, we ate here for dinner 9/7/15 and had a great meal. We followed your advice and had salami, carbonara, burrara and a very good wine from Lazio. Fine service but table next to us less so! I would definitely go back. St in back not downstairs.

  13. Bar Roscioli Coming Soon | Parla Food December 30, 2015 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    […] space on Piazza Benedetto Cairoli. It’s just a few doors down from their restaurant-wine bar Salumeria Roscioli and around the corner from their historic bakery Antico Forno Roscioli. Inauguration is scheduled […]

  14. […] If you are looking for fine dining, check out Metamorfosi. Il Sanlorenzo and Tempio di Iside are wonderful for upscale fish. For refined traditional Roman cuisine, there’s L’Arcangelo (stick to the supplizio starter, gnocchi, and trippa), while Roscioli and Mazzo blend innovation and tradition (though be sure to plan your trip to Roscioli ahead). […]

  15. Beirutibrit July 23, 2016 at 7:08 am - Reply

    HI Katie – looking forward to visiting next month! I seem to recall you writing about the Gricia somewhere – would you recommend that or stick to the cacio e pepe? Loving your app!!

    • Katie Parla July 24, 2016 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      do the gricia!!!

  16. Arthur Hochstein September 19, 2016 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    HI Katie,

    My wife and I just returned from Tuscany and four days in Rome, and I appreciate all you have put into guiding travelers to the best places in Rome. I used your Bon Appétit “Best Pastas in Rome” article as a guide, with mixed results. We ditched Felice in Testaccio for Flavio, and had, based on high expectations, one of the worst meals of our lives—including the highly touted cacio e pepe. The involtini al sugo was practically inedible cafeteria food, overcooked beef studded with so many toothpicks that eating it practically required a pair of needle-nose pliers. And of course we were seated in the tourist zone outside, and except for a friendly floor manager, the service was the bare minimum. (The best cacio e pepe we had was our first night, at Impiccetta in Trastevere—it was bold, peppery rustic and expressive, and served in an edible cheese bowl to boot! The crowd looked like they’d be comfortable in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the couple who own the place were charming and welcoming.)

    At the other end of the spectrum from Flavio was the next night at Roscioli—we deviated and we were not disappointed: We were seated at the bar (with other Americans, of course) but we love eating at bars anyway. Three courses (octopus, carbonara and lamb rib chops were all perfectly executed, as were the tomato soup with prawns and the artichoke salad. Plus a basket of terrific artisanal breads. Service was attentive, and incredibly knowledgeable, and wine pairings were spot-on. Even the traditional dishes such as carbonara were made with elegance and a light touch. They came through were it counts—on the plate. Anyway, keep up the good work—your enthusiasm and knowledge are really assets to travelers.

    • Katie Parla September 20, 2016 at 2:11 pm - Reply

      oh jeez, sorry about the Flavio experience. my blog post on the place notes negative feedback. such bummer. the pastas there can be so great. or, as you note, the opposite of great. glad Roscioli is a hit. id eat there everyday if i could snag a table;)

  17. Broc Smith July 25, 2017 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    If I tried to make a reservation at Roscioli late last week for the end of August and haven’t heard back, am I out of luck?

    What’s a good back up for the same type of experience?

  18. Broc Smith July 25, 2017 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Nevermind, apparently they updated their system for making reservations or I was doing it wrong before. Got a reservation for Aug. 28!

    • Katie Parla July 26, 2017 at 1:49 am - Reply

      yay!

  19. Fatima August 10, 2017 at 4:34 am - Reply

    Hi Katie,
    I’m going to Rome at the end of August with my husband. I like your review but I also saw the option of doing a wine and food tasting option at Rimessa Roscioli. We’d just sign up on line for a set price which includes tasting 8 wines, meats, cheeses, some pasta and a dessert. It just seems like a simple plan but have you had any experience or heard any reviews of the wine and food tasting. Would you recommend this? or just stick with your well laid plan?
    Kind Regards,

    • Katie Parla August 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      id go to roscioli for dinner and do a vino roma wine tasting!

  20. Ming October 17, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    At Roscioli right now and they don’t have the Burro E Acciughe anymore. So got the burrata and anchovy apps, and the carbonara.

  21. […] developing the pizza dough recipe. If you go to the restaurant/deli, Katie Parla has some great advice on navigating the menu […]

  22. […] developing the pizza dough recipe. If you go to the restaurant/deli, Katie Parla has some great advice on navigating the menu […]

  23. Heejae January 23, 2018 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Katie enjoyed your posts in planning our trip and wanted to share our experience.
    We went to Roscioli in late January and had a great experience though our views on the dishes are a bit different.
    The waiter recommended zucchini flowers which were the winners for us other than the divine burrata. Oysters from Breton were also fab but that’s probably seasonal.
    We weren’t too taken by mortadella. Also anchovies were underwhelming. Very few tinned anchovies blow us away and unfortunately these didn’t. Far too salty. Also couldn’t taste vanilla in the butter.

  24. David March 21, 2018 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Always loved Roscioli, but got a bad report from friends who ate there last Fall. I have the sense just from their Web presence that they are becoming an international commercial brand and that the restaurant itself may be going downhill as a result. Will find out in June when I’m there. As long as that rigatoni with three kind of parmigiano is still there I’ll be happy.

    • Katie Parla March 24, 2018 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      if you stick to my recommended order you’ll be all good. no doubt they have expanded but they remain consistently good. if they go downhill you’ll hear it here first:)

  25. Roscioli – ROME BY MOUTH May 3, 2018 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    […] Katie Parla (2014) says Roscioli is “not for beginners and most of its menu items are superfluous. If you’re looking for a Roman trattoria with simple food and quaint atmosphere, this ain’t it. But if you’re after a great wine list, spectacular cheeses and cured meats, a handful of satisfying pasta dishes and an impressive selection of spirits, this is your place–especially if you aren’t on a budget.” She recommends ordering the burrata with semi-dried tomatoes, the mozzarella di bufala, the Cantabrian anchovies with French butter, mortadella, and the pastas. “The gnocchi, amatriciana and carbonara are ususally great. The cacio e pepe ranges from superlative to inedible.” […]

  26. Lois Ree May 9, 2018 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Hi Katie ,

    What is the best time to book for dinner in roscioli?

    • Katie Parla May 18, 2018 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      i like to go to the second seating

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