Certain places you hesitate to tell the world about, for fear that it becomes impossible to make reservations the next time you want to go!
Our very favorite restaurant in Rome is Checchino dal 1887, one of the few restaurants in town that combines all the principles near and dear to our heart: true history and tradition, fabulous food, friendly and dedicated service, and a relaxed and homely atmosphere, all in one place.
Checchino is the oldest restaurant of Rome still run by the same family. The restaurant is not just historically ‘owned’ by the same family, it is still ‘operated’ by the descendants of the original founders, with one brother in charge of the kitchen and the other one in charge of the dining room, offering advice about the food and wine.
In the owners’ family since 1870, the eating place started as an osteria where wine was served with uncooked dishes. In 1887, the official ‘birth year’ of the restaurant, the founders Lorenzo and Clorinda obtained the license to expand their eatery into an osteria con cucina. “Checchino” is the diminutive of Francesco, grandson of the founders and grandfather of the current owners. He revamped the eating house in 1927 into a culinary institution frequented by politicians, well-to-do Romans and business men. So much about history.
Located in the rione Testaccio, close to the Mattatoio (slaughterhouse), which opened in 1890 and remained in practice until 1975, the restaurant served the typical quinto quarto (fifth quarter) cuisine, prepared with the leftovers of the slaughterhouse that are not part of the four quarters of the animal (head, tail, interiors and feet). The most humble workers at the slaughterhouse, the scortichini and vaccinari, were often paid in kind, receiving these leftovers, which they brought with them to the eating places close to the slaughterhouse and had them cooked there. This tradition formed the basis from which Checchino developed its typical, traditional Roman cuisine. It doesn’t get any more tradition-rich than that, does it? …Did I mention tradition?
One of Rome’s most typical dishes, the Coda alla Vaccinara (ox-tail stewed in tomato sauce with celery, pine nuts and other ingredients) was invented at Checchino. As are many other dishes based on the quinto quarto.
Typical primi include: Bucatini all’Amatriciana, thick rod shaped pasta with spicy tomato and pancetta sauce; Spaghetti alla Carbonara, spaghetti with guanciale (cured pork cheek), eggs and Pecorino Romano; Bucatini alla gricia, bucatini pasta with sheep’s milk cheese, cured pork cheek and black pepper.
The wide and refined choice of Roman and Italian cheeses, as well as the desserts with pairing wine (by the glass) are absolutely worth a try. The carrello dei formaggi offers an exceptional selection of cheeses, including some very rare ones, such as the Bettelmat cheese. There is also an all-encompassing and exclusive collection of grappa.
Price range is about 60 Euro/person for a three-course, à-la-carte meal without wine, depending on what you choose. If you want to pair your meal with some wine, don’t forget to ask for the separate wine-list with over 500 wines from Italy, France, California, Spain, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Portugal. Reservation is recommended, especially on weekends, but walk-ins are always welcome.
Checchino dal 1887
via di Monte Testaccio, 30
tel 0039 065743816
tel 0039 065746318