Dan and I were super excited to return to Rome in September, because (1) we LOVE Rome and (2) we LOVE to eat all of the delicious Roman food! As such, I plan our Roman meals meticulously, especially on short trips, like our recent one. We had one lunch spot open and Dan, unexpectedly, suggested a causal restaurant in Trastevere called Caramella. We ate there on our last trip to Rome and apparently, Dan liked it a lot more than I remember. Done, added to the list.
Caramella, which means “candy” in Italian, is a casual restaurant serving “pizza and good beer” according to its sign. However, it has a much broader menu featuring good cocktails, wine, beer, excellent pasta, Italian classics like meat and cheese plates, supplì, and, good for Americans missing home, a few well done American dishes, like its hamburger and salads (while I have not tried them, the chicken cutlet in the salads looked properly American if that’s what you’re looking for). Being in Trastevere, Caramella sees a lot of students and young people, the atmosphere is quite casual, and the prices are reasonable. Oh, and keeping with the candy theme, there is a little jar of candy on each table.
On this trip, I knew I wanted pizza (I LOVE pizza and we were not having it for dinner) and I went out on a limb and ordered the Guglielmo: tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, sausage, and sun dried tomatoes. And I have to say, this ranks as one of the best pizzas I have ever enjoyed, and the sausage possibly the best ever. No joke. I ended up eating all but one tiny slice, which I begrudgingly gave to Dan.
While I went pizza, Dan ordered the Carbonara, a classic Roman spaghetti made with eggs, bacon, sheep’s milk cheese, and black pepper. Carbonara is one of Rome’s famous pasta dishes that can be found throughout the city made with these exact ingredients. This one, however, was incredible and ranked right up there with some of our favorite pasta dishes. We were honestly a bit blown away. After the pizza and pasta, we added Caramella as a necessity to our return trip to Rome in November.
We also had cocktails with our lunch. I forgot to take a picture of Dan’s but my Spritz was classically Roman and just what I wanted for our last lunch.
And for those curious what we had on our prior visit that inspired Dan to return, we both ordered pizza! I remember it being delicious, but not as good as mine from Roma Sparita. I now dispute this. We also tried a supplì, which are fried rice balls stuffed with something such as meat or cheese. Supplì are popular street food in Rome and can be found throughout the city, and especially in student-friendly Trastevere. Caramella’s have a unique spin, and this one was a Cacio e Pepe (another Roman dish, similar to Carbonara but without meat) flavor. It was a fun try, but not as good as the real dish. I also drank a Negroni, which was great.
If you are visiting soon, Caramella took COVID seriously. There are many, many outdoor tables. We ended up eating inside because it was hot. The waiter checked our COVID-19 vaccine cards before letting us sit down. We were the only people inside the restaurant. Staff all wore masks. No issues.
STEAL OUR LUNCH
Caramella: Vicolo Del Cinque, 31 – 00153 – Rome. Open daily 10 – 2h. Casual pizzeria in Trastevere. Lots of young people and students. You probably don’t need a reservation (we’ve never made one), but they can be easily made online (there is a link of their Facebook profile).
ON A BUDGET
Caramella is budget friendly for the quality of food you receive. If you’re on a shoestring, there are plenty of take away spots in Trastevere that are less expensive.