First lunch in Italy: Rome

We are in Italy. Landed, bus to Termini, found and checked into our hotel, and off to lunch. Today it is at Felice a Testaccio. I am not always sure how Jay finds these places, but I’m glad he does… we also incidentally had our first Metro experience in Rome while trying to find this place, and we survived.

This restaurant is known for it’s “cacio e pepe” (translation: cheese and <black> pepper). This is a very classic Roman pasta dish, sort of like an amazing macaroni and cheese. Here the servers brought the dish to the table covered in a layer of pecorino cheese and tossed it up right there for us. It looked like everyone was there for the cacio e pepe – just about every table in the packed restaurant had at least one order!


We had another pasta dish with guanciale (bacon made from the pork cheeks), as well as some delicious grilled lamb with potatoes. It was tender and falling off the bone. Jay ordered a bottle of Cesanese wine, a red grape grown in Lazio, and a common table wine here in Rome. In addition, we ordered a special of marrow bones. (With a name like that, why wouldn’t you order it?) They were veal bones, with plenty of meat and smothered in peas, and I got my bone marrow fix.


As a side, we had an artichoke, and a bowl of chicory dressed in an anchovy garlic dressing. Roman chicory is an interesting green, bitter and crunchy. It was my first time trying it, and although the bitterness put me off a little at first, I found myself going back for more throughout the meal. I don’t know how to describe why other than to say it feels good when you eat it. It is a burst of crispy grassy freshness that balances out the bitter flavor, and cleanses your palate.


A little tiramisu (only because our waiter assured us it was the best in Rome, and it was really very good, perhaps not as good as he was a salesman…), some espresso, and lunch was done.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the colosseum and the ruins of the Roman forum, which were spectacular. It is absolutely mind blowing to me to stand in and among structures that were built in the 1st century. Unfortunately (or maybe not) my phone died from using it to find our way around so I only took real pictures there – on film.

Rome is amazing. My feet are tired, and I am hungry for dinner.


8 thoughts on “First lunch in Italy: Rome

  1. This sounds amazing C. I want cacio e pepe! And I love that you finished that with you are hungry for dinner. That’s my girl.

  2. Thank you lady for bringing us “smart phone travellers” along with you through this blog. I appreciate you sharing your experiences …I feel like I’m experiencing at least a fraction of them with you! Have fun!

  3. Oh… now I see where the food pictures are! I will be checking in daily on my own personal visit to Italy. You really are an amazing person Celeste! Thanks so much for sharing.

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