Who doesn’t love carbonara? This Roman pasta sauce has become so popular that you can find many alternative versions alongside the classic. If you are looking for the best carbonara in Rome, you have landed in the right place.
While the most famous specialty pasta types in Rome are three, the true classics that Romans adore are in fact four: carbonara, cacio e pepe, amatriciana, and gricia. All four classic Roman pasta dishes are simple and made with variations of the same ingredients.
For example, our carbonara uses guanciale (cured pork cheek) with egg and Roman pecorino cheese, while cacio e pepe‘s only ingredients are pecorino cacio cheese and black pepper. What about the amatriciana sauce? Only guanciale, tomato, and pecorino cheese, while the gricia is simply amatriciana without the tomato sauce.
The classic recipe purists uses strictly only guanciale (cured pork cheek), not to be confused with pancetta (cured pork belly), the cheese needs to be Roman pecorino, using only yolks is to be preferred instead of the whole egg, and cream, garlic, and onion are banned.
Today, however, the offer is so large that many restaurants in Rome propose their own version of the classic, either changing the cooking style but sticking with the same ingredients or adding their own creative touch.
Our guide will help you navigate in the exciting scene of the best carbonara in Rome that includes both classic and innovative versions.
Map of the restaurants with the best carbonara in Rome
L’Arcangelo – Top carbonara near the Vatican (Prati)
L’Arcangelo has been one of the best restaurants near the Vatican for quite some time. Founder of Supplizio, one of Rome’s most famous street food places, Arcangelo Dandini has his own take on the carbonara.
At L’Arcangelo, one of the best restaurants in Prati, you will inevitably notice a stronger yellow shade than your usual carbonara. This is because chef Dandini uses only the yolk of the egg, one per person, and leaves the white out.
This gives his carbonara a very hearty flavor and a thicker texture. And this is also what has earned him a place in the list of the best carbonara in Rome. What tells Dandini’s carbonara apart from most of the same recipe you will find in Rome is the absence of black pepper.
- Where: Via Giuseppe Gioachino Belli 59.
- When: Monday to Saturday for aperitif 5-7.15 pm and dinner 7.15-10.45 pm. Sunday closed.
EGGS – 14 versions of carbonara (Trastevere)
With such a name, could this restaurant possibly miss carbonara on its menu? With a list entirely focused on eggs, any egg, from chicken to quail to fish like bottarga and caviar, at Eggs you are going to find not one, not two, but 14 versions of carbonara nonetheless.
I have visited Eggs twice so far and both times loved their creations. Served inside a glass jar, their carbonara remains creamy and warm all the way. Along with two classics, including the first official version published in 1954 in La Cucina Italiana magazine, Eggs offers creative options such as the classic carbonara with guanciale and the addition of other ingredients that are usually not in the original recipe.
These can include caramelized red onion, porcini mushrooms, artichokes, black truffle, a very hearty one with stracciatella fresh cheese and ‘nduja spicy sausage, one with saffron threads, and more.
For those who don’t eat meat, they have two options, one with Mazara del Vallo’s red prawns and pistachio, and one with herb-infused pumpkin cream, sun-dried tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts. Vegetarians, don’t worry, over at Eggs they thought about you too. In fact, they offer to prepare their carbonara pastas with seasonal veggies if you don’t either eat meat or fish.
The pasta is served very much al dente which gives a perfect contrast with the creaminess of the sauce. However, if you prefer your pasta more cooked, remember to tell the waiter, because once it’s mixed with the egg and plated, it can’t be stirred back in the pan.
- Where: Via Natale del Grande 52.
- When: Every day 12-11 pm.
Armando al Pantheon – Traditional carbonara in Rome (Centro Storico)
Armando al Pantheon is an institution among Rome’s top restaurants because the Gargioli family has made it a point to never really stray away from tradition. This obviously applies also to the carbonara.
What you will eat at Armando’s is the classic 4-ingredient carbonara inclusive of black pepper. Here, the choice goes to the spaghetti, as the original dish suggests. Armando is really one of the most popular restaurants in the city center, and its position right next to the Pantheon makes it one of the busiest. This is to say that if you don’t book a few days ahead, there is no way you are going to find a table.
- Where: Salita de’ Crescenzi 31.
- When: Monday to Saturday 12.30 pm and 7-11 pm. Sunday closed.
Pipero – Luxury carbonara near famous Rome landmarks (Piazza Navona)
The version of Michelin-starred Pipero restaurant sees one of the best carbonara in Rome’s city center near Piazza Navona served with short mezze maniche type of pasta instead of the common spaghetti. Chef Ciro Scamardella over at Pipero has suggested his own version of carbonara adding a 30% of parmigiano to the pecorino romano Dop for a creamier and smoother texture.
Pipero also uses only the egg yolks as the classic tradition suggests, and this gives it its strong yellow hue. The procedure to make this carbonara is simple and really sticks to the old classic, but each step is performed how it should be giving the right time to each of the ingredients that the result is gratifying and well worth the wait.
- Where: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 250
- When: Tuesday to Friday 12-3 pm and 7-11 pm, Monday and Saturday only 7-11 pm. Sunday closed.
Da Enzo al 29 – Original recipe of Roman carbonara (Trastevere)
Da Enzo al 29 is one of the best restaurants in Trastevere and one of the most historic eateries in Rome. All the recipe they dish out loyal to the local gastronomy and their experience makes them outstanding. Being a traditional Roman restaurant, they serve all the local classics, so carbonara couldn’t possibly miss.
If you are curious about the classic carbonara, you couldn’t find a better place to try it in the touristy Trastevere. The essential guanciale comes from Amatrice and is made crunchy enough before being mixed with the eggs. The result is velvety and satisfying.
- Where: Via dei Vascellari 29.
- When: Monday to Saturday 12.15-3 pm and 7-11 pm. Sunday closed.
Baccano – Carbonara near the Trevi Fountain (Trevi/Centro Storico)
Baccano has been for a while one of our favorite restaurants near the Trevi Fountain, especially with the takeover of former Roscioli’s chef Nabil Hassen. Theirs is one of the best carbonara in Rome near important landmarks in what is creamy just enough and crunchy just enough to make a perfect version of one of Rome’s most iconic dishes.
The cheese used for this Roman carbonara has a creamier result because, similarly to Pipero, the pecorino is mixed with a small percentage of Parmigiano Reggiano.
We recently went with some friends and Baccano’s carbonara really impressed them. And so did their artisan beer!
- Where: Via delle Muratte 23.
- When: Every day 12 pm-12 am.
Per Me – Giulio Terrinoni – Seafood carbonara in Rome (Campo de’ Fiori)
The chef and founder of this contemporary Rome restaurant created his own carbonara where he still employs eggs but not what we might think of. The eggs of Michelin-starred chef Giulio Terrinoni are fish eggs used to replace the chicken ones and guanciale pork cheek is replaced with flakes of Sardinian bottarga mullet roe.
The bottarga is made crunchy by toasting it on the pan and the fresh fish eggs are also quickly browned in the pan with a bit of olive oil. The experience is different from your ordinary carbonara in Rome but no less satisfying and definitely gourmet.
- Where: Vicolo del Malpasso 9.
- When: Every day 12.30-3 pm and 7-10 pm.
Il Convivio Troiani – Traditional carbonara recipe in Rome’s Centro Storico
The guanciale used to make their carbonara is cut in thin strips and no other fat is added, so no olive oil on the pan but only the fat released by browing the pork cheek. Like this, it becomes crunchy but still tender and easier to digest.
The al dente pasta is added to the pan where the black pepper was left to shortly cook and release its scent, and the egg is added to slightly thicken without becoming scrambled.
- Where: Vicolo dei Soldai 31.
- When: Monday to Saturday 7.30-10.30 pm. Sunday closed.
Hosteria Grappolo D’Oro – One of the best carbonara in Rome city center (Campo de’ Fiori)
The one of Hosteria Grappolo D’Oro is considered one of the best carbonara in Rome because of the top quality of the guanciale and the pecorino cheese used.
Their version has it with spaghetti and the al dente pasta is placed on the pan to mix with the chunks of guanciale crunchy enough, the cheese, and the egg yolks. This carbonara is served with a final addition of grated Roman pecorino and little black pepper.
- Where: Piazza della Cancelleria 80.
- When: Every day 12.30-3 pm and 7-11 pm, Wednesday only 7-11 pm.
Checchino dal 1887 for a traditional authentic carbonara in Rome (Testaccio)
Genuine and hearty, the carbonara of historic Checchino dal 1887 restaurant in the Testaccio neighborhood offers a gluttony genuine experience. One of the best restaurants in Testaccio and one of Rome’s oldest, Checchino is always a guarantee if you are looking for traditional flavors.
In this authentic, working-class neighborhood, the Mariani brothers claim to be reproducing the original carbonara as it was first created. Their Italian durum wheat spaghetti carbonara employs guanciale, eggs, and only pecorino romano with no parmesan addition. Despite using only pecorino, Checchino’s carbonara has a perfectly balanced flavor without being too salty, which is the risk when only the Roman cheese is used.
At Checchino’s, you are going to find this famous dish but also many other dishes of the Roman tradition, also those that many are gradually abandoning such as rigatoni pasta with pajata offal, and the veal’s head.
- Where: Via di Monte Testaccio 30.
- When: Wednesday to Sunday 12.30-3 pm and 7.30-11 pm. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Don’t miss our guide to the best things to do in Testaccio.