Roma Sparita is an absolutely delicious, well-known, yet casual, restaurant in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome that frequently tops “best place to eat in Rome” lists. It doesn’t hurt that Anthony Bourdain LOVED this restaurant, so much that he would never disclose its name (although it was pretty easy to uncover). And, as some of you may know, Dan and I lived in Trastevere for a summer in law school and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Bourdain! Obviously, when we were in Rome over the New Year, I just had to have a meal at Roma Sparita and made a dinner reservation our first night.
As mentioned, Roma Sparita is located in the Trastevere neighborhood, across the Tiber from Rome’s most famous attractions. While away from the tourist hot spots, Roma Sparita still borders on the touristy part of Trastevere and is not quite as far into Trastevere as where we lived (we went real local, i.e. cheap, when we lived in Rome). We ended up walking from our hotel near the Vatican and it took about an hour.
Roma Sparita is a bit hard to find, especially without Google Maps. But, in any case, we arrived on time and the restaurant had our reservation. We were promptly seated and given the menu, which serves a lot of traditional Roman – yes, Roman and not generally Italian – dishes! When in Rome, we had to start with a bottle of fancy Montepulciano!
For food, we started with what is probably Roma Sparita’s most popular dish – Cacio e Pepe. Cacio e Pepe is a traditional Roman dish consisting of pasta, cheese, and pepper. This dish is a fat bomb and 100% AMAZING (if you read my blog, you’ll know we tried several Cacio e Pepes on our trip…). Do not come to Rome without trying it (its served almost everywhere). Roma Sparita’s is special because its served in a cheese bowl! While I had planned to eat this for my main dish, it was plenty to split between Dan and me as an appetizer.
For main courses, I, clearly, went with a sausage pizza! No one does pizza like the Italians, especially in Rome, and this one did not disappoint! My pizza was served with cheese, tomato sauce, and the most delicious, DELICIOUS pork sausage. I mean, it was AMAZING (yes, it was that tasty)! I am drooling writing this… The pizza was standard size for Rome, but could easily have been shared as an appetizer. Dan had a few slices…
For Dan’s main course, he ordered the tripe. And if you do not know what that is, look it up. Spoiler alert – its not pasta. Rome is famous for its tripe (called tripa) and this was served Roman style – with red sauce and pecorino. Dan is somewhat of a tripe conniosseur and he said that this tripa was excellent. He also ordered a side of bitter greens at our waiter’s suggestion. The greens were a good compliment to the tripa and it was nice to add a bit of green to my carbo load.
After dinner, we were completely and totally stuffed, BUT, we just had to order dessert since our meal was so damn delicious. Accordingly, we ordered Panna Cotta with chocolate and pistachios. As with everything else, this was amazing and a perfect cap to our meal.
In sum, Roma Sparita was so, so good and I don’t think I will be able to visit Rome again without coming here. Thanks, Anthony! If you are visiting Rome, I recommend making a reservation in advance, as the tables to book up! Have you been to Rome? What are your favorite restaurants? I would love to know!