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Cesare al Casaletto

We were pretty skeptical about the existence of the prefect trattoria before Maria Pia Cicconi and Leonardo Vignoli took over Cesare al Casaletto in 2009. After years in fine dining, the couple was ready for something simpler and more genuine, so they transformed the long-established neighborhood spot into Rome’s most satisfying trattoria, delivering traditional food paired with a thoughtful (mostly natural) wine list. It’s best to go in a group so you can indulge in the full array of fried starters: eggplant croquettes, shredded beef meatballs, baby squid, anchovies, potato gnocchi, and mozzarella-stuffed squash blossoms. Follow these up with items from the canon of classic Roman pastas —the gricia, a savory sauce of cured pork jowl, Pecorino Romano, and black pepper is especially good—and save room for fried lamb chops, grilled pig’s liver, or tripe simmered in tomato sauce. Choose millefoglie for a sweet finale and don’t overlook the digestif selection from the Veneto’s Capovilla distillery.