Where to eat the best carbonara in Rome, in all its variations
It’s a symbol of Rome known around the world. When one thinks of spaghetti and rigatoni, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t pesto, or ragù, or mussels — it’s carbonara.
Here’s our carefully curated list of the best carbonara in Rome. This classic Roman specialty has inspired a myriad of interpretations: some innovative places on this list have fashioned carbonara into fries or a pizza topping. However, the core ingredients remain steadfast: eggs, cheese, and guanciale, delivering that distinctive and timeless taste.
Via G. da Empoli, 5 (Piramide)
Tommaso Pennestri, chef and namesake of this trattoria in Piramide, offers a killer carbonara. His rigatoni, from the artisanal Lagano pasta factory, are prepared al dente and wrapped in a generous blanket of creamy Pecorino Romano and eggs from Peppovo. The thick-cut guanciale from Salumificio Sano is toasted in the pan. The pecorino finishes the plate for one last blast of flavor.
Menabò Vino e Cucina
Via delle Palme, 44d (Centocelle)
At Centocelle, brothers Daniele and Paolo Camponeschi have opened a bistro which offers a simple counter-to-table kitchen full of flavor, best accompanied by a good glass of wine. The carbonara, like other Roman first courses, isn’t always there, but when it’s there… Whether it’s the long, rectangular spaghetti from La fabbrica della pasta di Gragnano or the short, ribbed rigatoni, the carbonara from Menabò wins all the points. They add an entire egg plus a yolk, 70% Pecorino Romano DOP and 30% parmesan, guanciale from Casale Nibbi, ground black pepper and another dash of grated pecorino, and the plate is finished. It’s incredibly creamy, tempting you to do a scarpetta.
Roscioli Ristorante e Salumeria
Via dei Giubbonari, 21 (Center)
Since 2002, a few meters from the Campo de’ Fiori, Alessandro and Pierluigi Roscioli have transformed the family delicatessen into a multipurpose shop and kitchen, accompanied by a cantina with over 2,800 wines, both Italian and international. The Chef offers delicious plates made from high-quality ingredients. He pays careful attention to his selection of ingredients for the preparation of the spaghetti alla carbonara, a historic symbol of the city.
The spaghetti, eggs and pecorino are all produced in the Roman countryside. The guanciale is from Paolo Emiliani, a small producer who prepares a guanciale matured for 45 to 50 days. The pepper is a blend of three different types of pepper: Indonesian, Vietnamese and Sarawak from Malaysia. The taste of Roscioli’s carbonara is extremely creamy and refined with a savory boost from the crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside guanciale.
Trecca – Cucina di Mercato
Via A. Severo, 222 (Ostiense)
In southern Rome, brothers Manuel and Nicolò Treccastelli have curated a kitchen and dining room in Trecca, a contemporary trattoria which unites true Roman tradition with a new approach to agriculture and environmental sustainability. Their carbonara has enchanted all of Rome: tasty, creamy, rich in guanciale and so perfectly al dente you can’t not love it. The rigatoni comes from the pasta maker Lagano; the eggs, from chickens raised on an organic farm; the guanciale, from Porchetteria Giorgini; and the pecorino romano, from the cheese maker Deroma. The pecorino together with the pepper finishes the pasta before gracing the table.
Da Cesare al Casaletto
Via del Casaletto, 45 (Gianicolense)
Da Cesare al Casaletto is the historical restaurant of Leonardo Vignoli. While it’s famous for its cacio e pepe, antipasti and selection of natural wines, Cesare al Casaletto’s version of carbonara shouldn’t be forgotten, either. Mancini spaghetti, yolks and whole eggs, Pecorino Romano DOP in a blend with parmigiano, guanciale in thick, short slices and there you have it: a delicate carbonara with a glossy texture that won’t weigh you down.
Osteria i Fratelli Mori
Via dei Conciatori, 10 (Piramide)
A few steps from the Pyramid, the osteria run by brothers Alessandro and Francesco Mori offers classic Roman cuisine. After a board of cold cuts and cheeses, the carbonara is a must. Here, the spaghetti is cooked al dente, sautéed in a pan with the guanciale’s rich fat, diluted by a drop of water. The guanciale, thinly sliced, joins the ensemble, accompanied by an entire egg and Pecorino Romano DOP di Cibaria. Black pepper and pecorino finish the plate.
Flavio al Velavevodetto
Via di Monte Testaccio, 97 (Testaccio)
The historic Flavio al Velavevodetto in Rome’s Testaccio neighborhood offers an excellent carbonara with short ribbed pasta, usually rigatoni but sometimes mezze maniche (“half-sleeves”), guanciale from Antica Macelleria Falorni, white wine and a whole egg. Abundant pepper and the exquisite pecorino romano DOP elevate the flavors to perfection.
Your Guide To Eating Like A Local In Rome
Armando al Pantheon
Salita de’ Crescenzi, 31 (Center)
Fabrizio and Claudio Gargioli are the owners of Armando al Pantheon, among the most historic restaurants in Rome. Among the few others which offer authentic cooking, Armando and his chef churn out hundreds of carbonaras throughout the week. The spaghetti comes from the pasta maker Martelli, the guanciale from a small producer from Viterbo, the eggs from San Bartolomeo, the pecorino from the dairy maker Lopez with a small percentage of parmesan and toasted and coarsely crumbled black pepper. The pasta is prepared in the pan, and an abundance of pecorino is then served on the platter.
Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo, 18 (Center)
Luciano Monosilio is a symbol of carbonara in Rome. The restaurant, which is just a few steps from Campo de’ Fiori, uses the method of low-temperature cooking for the carbonara’s sauce, yielding a creamy result. The spaghetti from Felicetti finds itself enveloped in a luscious cream made from pasteurized egg yolks, Pecorino Romano DOP from Sardinia and a selected and refined guanciale directly from Luciano, cut into thick cubes.
Via Tarquinia, 4a (San Giovanni)
Abruzzese by birth and Roman by choice, Sarah Cicolini is a chef at SantoPalato, which offers dynamic and contemporary cooking with emphasis on highlighting Rome, the Roman “fifth quarter”, and slow cooking. For its carbonara, the trattoria uses spaghetti from pasta-maker Lagano, Pecorino Romano DOP from Deroma, eggs from L’uovo e la Canapa, Apulian guanciale from Fratelli Roccia and Tellicherry black pepper. The pasta isn’t al dente but rather al chiodo (literally, “to the nail”). The giant cubes of guanciale make this carbonara one of the best in the city.
Via G. G. Belli, 59 (Prati)
Arcangelo Dandini, host and chef at L’Arcangelo in the Prati neighborhood, opts for rigatoni di Gragnano in his carbonara rendition. The dish, marked by its simplicity and delicacy, skips the use of black pepper. Although slightly on the pricier side, the hand-grated Pecorino Romano DOP becomes infused with the richness of egg yolks, enveloping the entire dish. The taste of the guanciale’s browning adds an extra layer of depth to the dish.
PIZZA AND FRIED FOODS
Seu Pizza Illuminati
Via Angelo Bargoni, 10 – 18 (Trastevere)
06 588 3384
Pier Daniele Seu and his wife Valeria Zuppardo run Seu Pizza Illuminati, which offers an exceptional pizza carbonara. The carefully sourced ingredients include guanciale from the Salumeria dell’Abbazia di Chiaravalle in Marche, aged for a minimum of five months, Pecorino Romano from Caseificio Fulvi in Nepi, aged for a minimum of 12 months, and locally sourced eggs from Lazio. This unique creation is baked in a wood-fired oven, resulting in a culinary masterpiece, topped with flakes of pecorino, pepper and sliced guanciale.
Best Pizza In Rome
La Gatta Mangiona
Via Federico Ozanam, 30-32 (Monteverde Vecchio)
06 534 6702
Since 1999, Giancarlo Casa has run La Gatta Mangiona, offering high-quality pizza with select ingredients. Among their menu items is the pizza Ri-Cotta alla Carbonara, a pizza similar to a focaccia filled with egg and pecorino cream, fior di latte, black pepper and crispy guanciale, closed in a crescent shape, re-cooked in the oven, cut into wedges and served with an extra sprinkle of Pecorino Romano DOP. A true flavor bomb, this is an excellent dinner to share with friends and family.
Via Siria, 1
What is a carbonara supplì? You can find out at Sbanco, where Stefano Callegari curates a menu that pays homage to these Roman delights. The carbonara supplì is extra-extra large with impressive breading, rice and a gooey egg yolk heart. Callegari doesn’t just limit himself to supplis—he also offers a carbonara pizza with an exceptional sauce made with egg, pecorino and crispy guanciale.
Per Me Giulio Terrinoni
Vicolo del Malpasso, 9 (Center)
06 687 7365
Since 2006, the Michelin-star chef Giulio Terrinoni has curated the menu at Per Me, which offers a Superspaghettone alla Carbonara di Mare (literally, super large sea carbonara spaghetti). Many have tried to create a seafood carbonara with little success, but Terrinoni’s version truly deserves the title of Carbonara with a capital C: it’s flavorful, glossy and al dente, just like tradition. The fresh fish roe, sea bass, and sole, mullet or mackerel (depending on the season) are cooked with garlic and white wine in the pan used to cook the pasta. The mullet bottarga, a signature “Per Me product,” comes cut into strips, crisped up in the pan and finally added to the pasta with black pepper and parmesan.
La Pergola – Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101 (Monte Mario)
06 3509 215
Heinz Beck, the three-Michelin-star chef at La Pergola, presents a captivating reinterpretation of carbonara featuring stuffed pasta. The carbonara sauce then becomes the filling: egg yolks, pecorino and white pepper are expertly blended and integrated into a whipped cream. The strategic use of whipped cream is essential, ensuring that the yolk isn’t overcooked in the boiling water, achieving a creamy consistency. The bundled pasta, reminiscent of ravioli, is crafted with egg yolks and a touch of durum wheat flour. The guanciale undergoes a delightful transformation, crisping up and acquiring a smoky essence through the infusion of white wine. Combined with Roman zucchini and veal stock, it becomes a condiment for the pasta, which must be eaten in one bite so that the filling can truly burst in your mouth.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 250 (Center)
This starred restaurant by Alessandro Pipero is famous for its carbonara, now available as a meal kit for at-home assembly. The chef Ciro Scamardella creates an exceptional carbonara that seamlessly integrates into the restaurant’s high-quality menu. The core elements of this elite carbonara include mezze maniche rigate from Graziano, guanciale from Re Norcino, egg yolks, and Pecorino Romano DOP blended with 30% parmesan. This dish achieves a luxurious silkiness through a bain-marie cooking process–the cream envelops and permeates the pasta dough.
Osterie and Trattorie To Try