Duane McLaughlin

Where to Eat Pasta all'amatriciana in Testaccio: Rome's Foodie Neighborhood

Discover Testaccio, the heart of Rome's food scene, and its best spots for the classic Pasta all'amatriciana.

Testaccio Food
A plate of Pasta all'amatriciana in Testaccio, Rome's bustling culinary district

Testaccio, often referred to as the foodie heart of Rome, is a neighborhood where traditional Roman cuisine and contemporary food culture converge. Among its many gastronomic treasures, Pasta all'amatriciana shines brightly as a quintessential Roman dish. This pasta, with its hearty tomato sauce, rich guanciale, and sharp Pecorino cheese, represents the soul of Roman cooking.

In Testaccio, every corner and piazza seems to tell a story, often related to food. This district, with its historical market and numerous trattorias, offers a unique setting to enjoy authentic Roman cuisine.

My 3 Favorite Places for Pasta all'amatriciana in Testaccio: 

Flavio al Velavevodetto: Tucked into Monte Testaccio, this restaurant offers a Pasta all'amatriciana that is a perfect balance of flavors, served in a setting rich with Roman history.
Da Felice a Testaccio: A long-standing establishment in Testaccio, Da Felice serves a legendary Pasta all'amatriciana, known for its perfect al dente pasta and flavorful sauce.
Angelina a Testaccio: A blend of modern ambiance and traditional cuisine, Angelina a Testaccio offers a unique take on Pasta all'amatriciana, combining classic ingredients with a contemporary twist.

Each of these restaurants in Testaccio offers an exceptional Pasta all'amatriciana experience, showcasing the versatility and timelessness of this beloved dish. Whether you're in the mood for a classic rendition or a modern interpretation, Testaccio has it all.

So next time you're in Rome, make sure to venture into Testaccio. It's not just a neighborhood; it's a culinary adventure, with Pasta all'amatriciana as one of its most delicious chapters.

A Brief History of Pasta all'amatriciana

Pasta all'amatriciana is an iconic Italian pasta that has its origins in the town of Amatrice, in the province of Rieti. The dish dates back to the 18th century, when tomatoes were introduced to Europe from the Americas. Before that, the dish was known as pasta alla gricia or griscia, and it was made with only guanciale (cured pork cheek) and pecorino cheese. The name gricia comes from either the village of Grisciano or the Swiss canton of Grigioni, where many shepherds came from.  

The addition of tomato sauce transformed the dish into amatriciana, named after Amatrice. The dish became popular in Rome over the 19th and early 20th centuries, due to the close connection between Rome and Amatrice.  Some variations of the dish include onion, garlic, olive oil or pancetta. The traditional pasta used for amatriciana is spaghetti or bucatini, but rigatoni or other types of pasta can also be used. 

Pasta all'amatriciana is a simple but delicious dish that reflects the history and culture of Italy. It is one of the most famous pastas in the world and a staple of Roman cuisine.