In Rome, “cacio e pepe” is less a dish and more a member of the family. Eaten and adored in virtually every household, the city has a high standard when it comes to cooking what is a deceptively simple dinner. To make a popular cacio e pepe in Rome, you need to bring your A-game to the kitchen table.
While there are literally hundreds of cacio e pepe peddlers dotted around the city, one restaurant has developed a seriously cheesy way to stand out from the crowd. Set back from the banks of the Tiber, Roma Sparita cuts out the crockery middle man and serves its cacio e pepe in a solid bowl of parmesan. It certainly puts the “cheese” back into “cacio”.
The restaurant initially rose to fame back in 2011 after it was featured by the late great Anthony Bourdain as part of his No Reservations docuseries. However, there’s much more to the menu than camera-friendly gimmicks.
Check out our recipe for a Pasta Stuffed Chicken Parm Bowl:
Roma Sparita continues to prove a popular choice with both locals and visitors alike, and has successfully distanced itself from the city centre’s many infamous tourist traps. Recent reviews on sites such as Tripadvisor and Yelp describe the famous cacio e pepe as “delicious”, while Culture Trip claims that the restaurant “has one of the most lauded bowls of cacio e pepe in the city”.
Unsurprisingly, the dish is also a popular fixture on Instagram, where the warped parmesan bowls are more likeable than a triple-decker cheeseburger, grilled by Tom Hanks. On the surface, it might seem strange that one of the city’s most social media savvy dishes is a beige tangle of just three different ingredients. But, once you’ve caught sight of a parmesan pasta bowl, it’s hard to care about anything else.