If you consider yourself to be an adventurous tourist (and if you enjoy really really good Roman Italian food), Cesare al Casaletto is a necessary addition to your Rome itinerary. Located deep in the Monteverde neighborhood, this classic trattoria is about as local as it gets, packed daily and nightly with Romans and passionate foodies. It’s a bit of a trek from the city center, but well worth the journey (which is half the fun anyway).Though most items on Cesare’s menu are fantastic, there are a few standout options that will give you a sense of the exquisite simplicity of la cucina Romana. I recommend coming to Cesare with only the emptiest of stomachs! Antipasto is a must here, and few places offer up the excellent quality fritti misti that Cesare does. Truthfully, anything off the fried menu will blow your mind, but my favorites to date were the mixed seafood and polpette di melanzane (eggplant croquettes).The primi menu consists of a choice of fresh pastas tossed in your choice of sauce, so you can mix and match to your preferences. They offer up excellent versions of all the classic Roman pastas, including carbonara, cacio e pepe, amatriciana, and gricia. If you’ve had enough traditional pasta order tonnarelli pasta with baccala, pecorino cheese and mint.
Despite the fact that you’ve probably had to unbutton your jeans by this point, you absolutely CANNOT miss out on the secondi. The main dishes are some of the best items that Cesare has to offer, and include coda alla vaccinara (oxtail), abbacchio a scottadito (lamb chops), and the infamous trippa alla romana (tripe in a delicious tomato and mint sauce).
And no meal is complete without a little sweetness. Try the creme caramel, crostata and home-made peanut brittle.There’s still one minor detail missing from your Roman lunch or dinner date: the wine. And if there’s one thing the Italians can teach you, it is to NEVER neglect the wine! Cesare has taken this principle to heart, offering a stellar list of natural and organic wines hand-picked by owner Leonardo Vignoli and offered at very affordable prices.
A casual, friendly atmosphere and outstanding food and wine make Cesare al Casaletto a mecca for anyone in pursuit of the perfect Roman meal, and the epitome of “do as the Romans do!”
How to get there… Just hop on the 8 tram towards Casaletto at Piazza Venezia. Enjoy the 25 minute ride through Trastevere (one of the city’s oldest residential boroughs) and Monteverde Nuovo. Get off at the last stop and just a few steps away on Via del Casaletto lies Cesare, with a beautifully trellised outdoor patio and cozy, intimate interior space.
Address: Via del Casaletto 45; be sure to call +39 06 536015 for reservations.