When a family can claim a Roman ancestry that goes back to the 1700’s, and said family loves to cook – they are bound to have mastered the art of “la cucina romana.” Armando Gargioli established this popular restaurant, located in the shadow of the Pantheon, in 1961, when friends encouraged him to take on an older establishment that was failing. Under Armando’s direction, the trattoria was an immediate success with the locals and remains so today.
Armando’s two sons, Fabrizio and Claudio, are the reason why one is well-advised to reserve a table at this quaint trattoria. These two brothers grew up in old Rome and tenaciously cling to the traditions of old Roman recipes, to the delight of the locals and enlightened travelers. In an area, hemmed in by “tourist” eateries, Claudio, the cook, goes about the business of dishing up authentic fare that caters only to the standards that he sets for himself, replicating the dishes that his family and neighbors have enjoyed for generations.
Fabrizio knows people and his wines, blending his passion for both in welcoming and guiding his guests in selecting the best wine to accompany their meals. Claudio’s daughter, Fabiana, has also mastered the sommelier art and now works side by side with her uncle. So, what does one order from the kitchen? We let Fabrizio take over – very wise of us – and we sampled two different primi, both Roman specialties – Bucatini all’Amatriciana with a zesty tomato sauce flavored just right with guanciale and pecorino and Pasta e Ceci, the chickpeas golden and velvety smooth, drizzled with a peppery green-gold olive oil. Claudio’s bollita di manzo was simply divine, slices of tender beef stewed in a delicate tomato sauce. We ended with Torta Antica Roma – a cake made with a filling of ricotta cheese and strawberry preserves.