Taverna Trilussa: Pasta Done Right, but for a Price

Review of the restaurant Taverna Trilussa, a well-known pasta restaurant in Trastevere in Rome, Italy.

Taverna Trilussa, restaurant in Rome

I'd heard many good things about Taverna Trilussa, tucked just behind Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere, before I went. Even from discussion boards on one of Rome's pickier, and (to chefs) more forboding, foodie sites.

I wasn't disappointed. Taverna Trilussa's pasta truly is traditional Roman, done the best it can be. But there's a price to pay.

First, there's the actual price. For a restaurant that touts itself as being "traditional Roman," the prices sure aren't. A pasta amatriciana, easily found elsewhere for €8, costs you €14 here. A bottle of wine, two pastas, and a secondo of oxtail, all on the cheaper-to-moderate side of the menu, rang the tab for two up to €73. That's without antipasti, dessert, or even coffee.

Second, there's the issue of atmosphere. This isn't a problem if you reserve a table outdoors: The large patio area is draped with ivy, romantically-lit, and a lovely spot for a summer meal. The interior, though, isn't nearly as charming. Big enough that its size seems warranted more for a cafeteria than a Roman taverna, its lighting was the real issue. It's not as bad as some Roman restaurants that seem to think flood-lighting and American 90s pop music are the keys to a Zagat-rated ambiance. But I did find myself squinting after coming in from outside, not the best introduction to a restaurant's interior.

Finally, there's the service. I was there on a relatively quiet Thursday night during ferragosto, and although the waiter took our order promptly, he didn't return for another half an hour. Neither did any of our food.  Coda alla vaccinara at Taverna Trilussa.

But if you don't get bogged down by the details,  the reward can be worth it. After our tummy- rumblingly-long wait, the pasta that emerged, brought out in the metal pans in which it was cooked (a little hokey, but hey, shows it's freshly made), was very good. I had pasta amatriciana, one of the restaurant's specialties. The sauce was just-right (not undersalted! yay!), with fresh, plump tomatoes and perfectly al dente pasta. My dining companion had the restaurant's apparently much-renowned ravioli mimosa. It was also yummy, although we had to laugh at how the menu had made it sound like it had a top-secret ingredient — really, it's just egg in the sauce. (Well. I think.) By the time our coda alla vaccinara (oxtail) came, piping-hot and falling off the bone, we were so stuffed we had to force ourselves to partake. Somehow, though, we managed. 

Taverna Trilussa. Via del Politeama 23, in Trastevere. For a map, click here.

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2 comments

  1. Waiting half an hour for your food to be served is normal in Rome. The whole point of eating out is to enjoy the experience. For some reason, Americans prefer to rush through meals.

  2. Hi Labellaroma,

    You’re absolutely right. When it comes to my experience at Taverna, though, the issue wasn’t that the food didn’t come for 30 minutes — it’s that the waiter didn’t reappear at all (meaning with water, wine, bread, or anything else). Even in Rome, that’s pushing it! I’ve been back a couple of times since, and the service has been similar. Still, a good place regardless!

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