Late last Spring, Dan and I found ourselves in Rome unexpectedly. This gave us an opportunity to try new restaurants that we otherwise may have missed (i.e., with more time to make reservations). Dan decided that he wanted tripe, which is a Rome delicacy (at least to some), so I set out on the world wide web to find fantastic tripe in Rome. Not surprisingly, a restaurant in Testaccio came up multiple times, which is an area well-known of its offal based cuisine. I called and made a same day reservation.
Rome in the Spring.
We taxied from our hotel, the Cavalieri, and arrived at Checchino dal 1887 about 20 minutes later, where we were greated with our reserved table. I suspected Checchino dal 1887 was old-school due to its location and description online, but I underestimated how old school. Checchino dal 1887’s dining room is a true blast from the past, with a domed ceiling and wood paneled walls lining the restaurant. Old Rome drawings, advertisements, announcements, certificates, books and paintings line the wall, and there is a real fire place in the restaurant. Our friend Jenna, who joined us for dinner, described it as as “so old school, there are even cobwebs on the lamps.” LOL, this was actually true, but in the best way possible.
An adorable table at Checchino dal 1887.
As part of our big family trip to Italy in November 2021, Dan and I signed everyone up for an evening food tour through Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood. We did this for three reasons: (1) several of us on this tour love a good food tour, (2) Dan and I lived in Trastevere when we studied in Rome wayyyy back in 2008 and we wanted our families to see the area, and (3) we previously did a food tour through Testaccio and really loved it! We booked our tour with Eating Italy Food Tours for our first evening in Rome, meeting on Tiber Island around 5:00 PM. Unfortunately, we got hit with an insane rain storm en route to the meeting point and we all got soaked… In any case, the tour went on! Due to the rain, we quickly moved to our first location in Trastevere, which I was verrrrry excited about!
En route back from our food tour, without rain!
Stop 1: Trattoria Da Enzo al 29
Yes, you read that correctly. Our first stop was at the famous Trattoria Da Enzo al 29. Da Enzo is a well known Roman trattoria that is very, very popular. You will frequently find it on “best food in Rome” lists. Da Enzo does not take reservations and there is almost always a wait. As such, our group actually got in before the restaurant opened to the public, something we never could have pulled off on our own! Our group and another couple on the tour were seated between two tables dressed in red checkered tablecloths. Classic southern Italy. Our guide poured everyone a glass of Prosecco and out came the food. First, the famous carciofi alla giudìa (or Jewish fried artichokes). These artichokes are famous Rome and not difficult to find when in season, but tough to find elsewhere in Italy. Basically, this is a deep fried artichoke topped with quality sea salt. Very simple, yet incredibly good. On the table was also Italian bread, burrata, tomatoes, and olive oil, which were suggested together as a type of little bruschetta. I loved the burrata and actually preferred it to the artichoke. Stop 1 was off to a good start.
The famous Carciofi alla Giudìa.
If you’ve been following along, you know that Dan and I went to Italy with our immediate families over Thanksgiving in 2021. Our trip ended with 72 hours in Rome, after visiting Alba for its White Truffle Festival and Venice. Normally I would not have included Rome on a Northern Italy focused trip, but we love Rome and our last 72 hours ended up being some of the best of the trip! Here is our itinerary if you are considering a similar trip for yourself.
I love Rome!
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL VIA FRECCIAROSSA & A FOOD TOUR OF TRASTEVERE
We arrived in Rome via a 3.45 hour train ride from Venice’s Santa Lucia train station on Trenitalia’s fast Frecciarossa train. The ride was easy enough – we brought snacks and drinks and the wifi worked really well (a happy surprise!).
As some of you may know, one of Dan and my recent trips was a trip to Italy with 6 of our family members – my parents, Dan’s parents, and Dan’s siblings – for about 10 days. Yes, 8 people in Italy for 10 days. It was a wild ride and I’ll be writing more about specific bits of our trip later, but here is a summary for those interested in doing something similar!
DAYS 1 – 2: ALBA, ITALY
After an overnight flight from New York, we landed in Milan early in the morning. A van was waiting for us and drove us 2 hours to Alba in the Piedmont region. We checked into our hotel and promptly hit the streets to explore Alba’s famous International White Truffle Festival. We spent two days in Alba, largely at the truffle festival. We also checked out some delicious Piedmontese restaurants!
Gorgeous white truffles.
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.