I’m going to be 100% honest when I say that we included a night in Rome during our honeymoon just so we could eat at Le Mani in Pasta, finally, after having discovered it in 2010 and not being able to eat here at that time. I wrote about our evening in Trastevere right here. To say that we had high expectations after 4 years of anticipation would be a gross understatement.
This time, we were taking no chances on eating here. We had our hotel (the Abitart) make a reservation for us immediately upon our arrival and headed to the Trastevere neighborhood early to have a quick glass of wine nearby before dinner.
We arrived to the unassuming, bustling restaurant five minutes prior to our reservation time and they were getting our table ready. To pass the time, we busied ourselves with reading the menu and planning our attack. Do not let the fact that the font is in Comic Sans fool you. They’re serious about food.
We then were shown to our table, and walked approximately 5 steps inside the venue and took our seats, sitting just inside the front windows. Our cheerful server greeted us with menus and the wine list, and our Roman culinary adventure commenced.
We brought our appetites that night. Our first real meal since our wedding reception night (which, as many of you married folks know, is usually not a night where you actually get to eat a lot – being insanely busy), we threw down on some serious Italian and Roman specialties. It was the survival of the fittest. You’ll see why.
To start, our waiter recommended a bottle of Italian Carmenère-Merlot blend, which was a really cool, different wine than you’d normally expect (usually, I think of a great Super Tuscan, or a Barbera d’Albi, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo… an Italian varietal, at least!). But the Carmenere Più by Inama, from Veneto hit the spot. A ruby-red blendof 70% Carmenère and 30% Merlot, it held up to our antipasti as well as the amazing meat we had later in the meal.
I generally have a rule when it comes to ordering apps. If there’s burrata on the menu, then Imma eat it. It’s a simple rule, but I am a simple gal in search of simple pleasures.
This particular burrata came with some friends: prosciutto, mortadella, salame.
Then, it was time to get seriously medieval on some pasta.
Okay, again, gonna be totally honest. I had been looking forward to the pasta the most. In particular, I wanted Tagliolini Cacio e Pepe – which is a Roman specialty. The name “cacio e pepe” comes from the Roman words for cheese (cacio is Pecorino cheese in the Roman dialect) and pepper (pepe is black pepper – also from the Roman dialect), and shepherds have made this dish for hundreds of years (if not thousands), since the ingredients are easily preserved and portable. This simple dish is one of the easiest things to make, but, in my opinion, the hardest things to master. But Le Mani in Pasta? They’ve mastered it.
But let’s not forget the savory Rigatoni Amatriciana. Made from thinner rigatoni than we’re used to, this tomato-pecorino cheese-guanciale (like bacon – this cured meat comes from the cheeks of the pork) sauce smothers perfectly-cooked, al dente pasta and a few spoonfuls of freshly grated pamesan cheese finishes it off beautifully.
We were stuffed.
Maybe it was the wine talking, or the fabulous waiter, but we actually ordered a second course – a special that day – grilled, sliced steak with fresh porcini mushrooms.
Let me preface this by saying that I only started eating steak about ten years ago and I still order my steaks at medium temperature, or even medium-plus when in the mood. So when the meat showed up this red/rare, I was a little apprehensive.
But sweet Holy Mother of God, what an amazing steak it was. It was so simply prepared – grilled and seared on the outside, sliced thin and rubbed with some kosher salt, but nothing else. Then finished with some sliced, sautéed porcini mushrooms which we were told were picked that day. That’s it. And it was so tender, juicy and amazing. Although I could barely move after a slice or two, it was totally worth the pain.
I didn’t photograph our dessert, but we had a delicious Tiramisu. Sorry, folks. I am impressed I was even able to walk out of there, so taking a photo was probably not even possible at that point.
In sum, the entire dinner was amazing and really cheap. For ALL of the above, our bill came in at approximately $100 USD, including bottled sparkling water. It still is one of the best meals I’ve ever had, and Le Mani in Pasta has made my short list for restaurants I would absolutely go eat at again when traveling abroad.
How to get to Le Mani in Pasta
Take a taxi or walk over to the neighborhood of Trastevere, and follow the winding streets to Via dei Genovesi:
Le Mani in Pasta
Via dei Genovesi 37, 00153
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 12:30pm-3pm, 7:30pm-11:30pm
Closed on Mondays
What’s your favorite Roman dish? Got a place to recommend for our next Roman holiday? Leave a comment!