by Kate Krader and Richard Vines
Pasta is having a powerful moment. From New York and Singapore to London and Austin, Texas, top kitchens are highlighting freshly milled grains and nifty tools to create beautiful strands and curious
shapes that thrill diners.
Yet no city can rival Rome for its beloved, soul-satisfying pastas.
The city’s history with it goes deep. Pasta is commonly believed to have arrived in Italy from China via Marco Polo in the second half of the 13th century. Others will argue that its European history is even longer, that it first arrived via the North Africans in Sicily, where long strands of dough were known as itriyaa. “Cacio e pepe, carbonara, and amatriciana are synonymous with the Italian capital,” says Rome-based writer and cookbook author Katie Parla (Food of the Italian South, out March 2019). Her food tours have attracted a major following among chefs. “Travelers from other parts of Italy and the world prioritize these dishes when they dine in the city.” (So much so, we included cacio e pepe twice below.)
The recommendations here come from some of the world’s foremost Italian experts, chefs and restauranteurs in Italy and abroad. That much of Rome’s dining options are bad, or increasingly, anonymous fast-casual joints, make this list even more essential.
“The city continues to lead the world’s pasta game,” says James Beard-winning chef Sarah Grueneberg, of Chicago’s Monteverde, who picked an uber traditional rigatoni. “It’s a must visit even if you have only a passing interest.”Which, when it comes to chewy bits of sauce-soaked carbs, includes just about everybody.
Of all the standout restaurants in Rome, Roscioli is even more renowned as a deluxe gourmet store with precisely sourced olive oils, wines, and a packed display case of cheeses and charcuterie. The best place to sit is in front among the groceries. Massimo Bottura, chef and owner of Osteria Francescana, the No. 1 restaurant on the World’s 50 Best list (again) shouts out the cacio e pepe as his favorite in the city. “The quality of the ingredients and the technique in the preparation of the noodles, plus the degree to which it’s cooked, is unrivaled in Rome. And I’ve eaten a lot of pasta in Rome,” he says.
Recommended by Massimo Bottura, chef/owner of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy