Taxi drivers in Rome have a terrible reputation for being cheats, liars and maniacal drivers. So what happened when I asked them about their favorite places to eat?
In short, I ate better than I ever have in five trips to Rome.
If you’re traveling to Italy this summer and would like to taste what I’m talking about, here are six of the best cabby-recommended restaurants in the Eternal City:
A 75-year-old pizzeria considered among the best in town, where locals get loud and every pizza is baked to order. Pizza bianca con fiori di zucca (€7.50) is especially good.
• Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice, 44, Testaccio (0039 6 574 6270), dinner only. Closed Sun
La Fraschetta del Pesce
This is where ex-fisherman Marco Magliozzi applies a light touch to the seafood his son delivers daily from their home port of Anzio. The Wednesday €13 crudo and pasta special is a great value, but the €20, €30 or €40 menus will give you a better taste of his way with fish.
• Via E d’Arborea, 40-42, Nomentano (0039 6 4424 4818; lafraschettadelpesce.it), lunch and dinner. Closed Mon
La Tavernaccia da Bruno
Sisters Paula and Patrizia Persiani took over this trattoria from their parents in 1991. Chef Giuseppe Ruzzeto (Patrizia’s husband) frequently leaves the kitchen to take compliments on his rigatoni alla carbonara (€9) and trippa alla romana (tripe in a delicate tomato sauce, €12).
• Via Panfilo Castaldi, 12, Trastevere (0039 6 581 2792; latavernacciaroma.com), lunch and dinner. Closed Wed
La Nuova Cantinetta
A definitive Roman trattoria nestled between two apartment buildings in the Rococo-inspired Garbatella quarter. Owner Paolo Sanna keeps prices low and tassisti coming back for classics such as rigatoni alla pajata (€6).
• Via Basilio Brollo, 7, Garbatella (0039 6 513 5809), lunch and dinner. Closed Sun
Seafood dishes here – such as tassista Cinzia Perroni’s favourite risotto alla crema di scampi (€7) – are solid and reasonably priced, but it is their affogato (home-made custard ice cream drizzled with espresso, €6) that merits a cross-town cab ride.
• Via Arezzo, 11, Nomentano (0039 6 4423 6808), lunch and dinner. Closed Mon
A favorite of former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni and taxi driver Laura Piccolo, where rigatoni alla carbonara (€13) and abbacchio (Roman spring lamb, €14) are a bit pricey but pitch-perfect.
• Via Marmorata, 39, Testaccio (0039 6 574 2415), lunch and dinner. Closed Wed
If you’d like to read the full story about the taxi adventures in Rome in The Guardian, including photos by TaxiBerlin, click here. And if you have a chance to try any of these places, I’d love to hear what you think!