Top on our list, and seemingly everyone else’s, was Tonnarello, an iconic restaurant dating back to 1876, in the Trastevere (Trest-ever-ay) area of Roma. On first glance, you may think it’s a touristy place, but there were equal numbers of Italians and tourists. It seems everyone loves Tonnarello.
With 4.7/5 stars and over 49k (!) reviews, the expectations were high. Tonnarello doesn’t take reservations, and there is usually a line, especially at peak meal times. We intentionally went at an odd time (around 3 pm) and the line looked long but the host said the wait was only about 25 minutes. And he was spot on. There were two lines, one for parties of two, and one for parties bigger than two.
Tonnarello is very misleading in size. You think it’s the corner with the Tonnarello sign, but it’s much more than that! They have basically that whole little piazza. They have tons of indoor and outdoor seating and they are extremely efficient. A meal won’t take hours like dinner in a small local place will, but it is still more relaxed than a usual US meal, making the efficiency extra impressive.
A table was available inside first when we got to the front of the line, so we took it. We were seated in a building to across from the main building. It was charming and festive and perfectly Roman.
We started with the bruschetta. It comes with three pieces: one traditional pomodoro, one with anchovies, and one with Parma ham. The ones with anchovies and Parma had melted Buffalo mozzarella and it was a great addition. I loved the anchovy and The Husband loved the Parma. The traditional tomato was also good.
I had to order cacio e pepe. I’ve had it almost every single day since we’ve been here, and theirs has great reviews. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was the best cacio e pepe I’ve had yet! The noodles were perfect, fresh and not too chewy. The ratio of cacio and pepe was perfect, as was the noodle water to combine it. It was creamy but not thick, and none of the flavors overwhelmed. I could eat it every single day.
The Husband ordered pinsa. He accidentally ordered one with chicory, a leafy green Italian veggie. If you’ve been following along, you know that he doesn’t eat most vegetables. But he was able to remove most of it and still really liked it.
Despite being full, I had to order the tiramisu. Nearly every table around us had ordered it and it looked incredible. And it was. It’s hands down the best tiramisu we’ve ever had (sorry for bumping you so soon, Mr. 100 Tiramisu).
We also split a bottle of Prosecco with our meal, and the whole meal was only €52. That’s a fantastic value, especially considering how amazing it was and how popular it is.
Don’t be intimidated by the line when you come to Tonnarello in Rome. It’s worth the wait, which goes by faster than you would expect. This is a can’t miss when you visit.