Ristorante La Regola, a restaurant in the centre of Rome, offers al fresco dining in a timeless Roman piazza practically all year round, with a refreshing menu that elegantly captures Roman traditions.
After a recent change of ownership, Ristorante La Regola now offers a menu finely balanced between Roman recipes, original ideas, and gourmet dining. In its latest incarnation, Roman-born chef Massimo Baroni and director Fabrizio Ferraioli have combined a love of seasonal ingredients with creative flair.
But the restaurant’s old-world charms remain in a pretty piazza in central Rome, a few minutes’ walk from busy Campo de’ Fiori and the Jewish Ghetto, yet encased in sleepy silence.
With patio heaters making this a good al fresco dining option at lunch or dinner nearly all year round, you can also make the most of this wonderful corner of Rome – whatever the weather.
We ordered a la carte, but the pasta dishes came in slightly smaller portions, so I could try more dishes for the purpose of this review. (Full prices for all dishes are given in brackets). We dined outside at Ristorante La Regola, with the aid of patio heaters one autumn evening. Dinner started with a lightly battered poached egg, topped with truffle pearls, and encased in pecorino cream. (€10). Perfect comfort food!
We also tried another finely balanced starter, this beautifully presented dish of whole foie gras liver with green apple and caramelised onion (€14) . Again, texture, flavour and aspect combined perfectly. Delicious!
Next, on to the first course menu. These wonderful cappellacci were stuffed with a traditional local ‘cheap’ fish arzilla, which achieves cult status in typical Roman soups. It’s incredibly tasty but rather unexploited beyond the capital, translating loosely as hornback skate. Topped with Roman broccoli and served on a light vegetable and cheese foam, this was an homage to Roman traditions, whipped into a delicate and fragrant dish (€14).
I’m going to let you into a secret which will probably get me cast out beyond the city walls of Rome (and will definitely mean I have to renounce my Testaccio passport). I don’t really like cacio e pepe, the classic Roman dish combining strident pecorino romano with lashings of black pepper. In most restaurants, I find it loud and salty, a one-note number with little to recommend it.
At Ristorante La Regola I tried the best cacio e pepe (€12) I’ve ever had in Rome – made with five kinds of black pepper and 14-16 month-aged pecorino romano. This silky combination of high-quality fragrant cheese, sweetly spiked with pink pepper, was a mouth-madrigal of spice-islands exoticism, balanced with mellow pecorino notes. Just excellent!
The all-Roman team at Ristorante La Regola really know what they’re doing. My favourite wine of the night was this Lazio classic from Marco Carpineti. You can drink good Lazio wines, you just need to surround yourself with the right experts.
For the second course, we moved on to these creamy Iberian lamb chops (€24), full of crisp flavour with a luxurious finish. Combined with a julienne of fresh fennel, the fat evaporated on the palate.
We closed with a classic tiramisu, often a badge of competence – although we were already convinced by Ristorante La Regola at this stage of the proceedings. It wasn’t my favourite tiramisu ever but was executed with acceptable balance.
Overall, Ristorante La Regola was a delicious surprise in a pretty touristy area of Rome, enhanced by the wonderful option of al fresco dining, even out of season. If you’re looking for other tips for the chillier months, don’t miss my ultimate guide to Rome in winter.
Highly recommended for the price point too – representing excellent value, especially for this part of town. If you do go – don’t forget to say that Testaccina sent you!
Testaccina was a guest of Ristorante La Regola
Ristorante La Regola | Piazza San Paolo alla Regola, 40 | Rome | Tel 0039 06 6600 6852