hen the Carbonara Club speaks, listen. The Rome-based club’s carbonara prompt is dead-on when it comes to Parioli’s Ciccia Bomba (which roughly means “plump cutie.”) The staple spaghetti dish swims in unabashed pecorino and mouthwatering bacon, served up supremely al dente and delightfully peppery — to the point of seeming spicy and Mexican-tinged. Don’t stop there. The equally-convincing amatriciana, simple enough to make, prickles in its own right, ample noodles foraging for more space at the edge of the plate.
This pasta bonanza honestly seems a little off-kilter, since northern Rome’s Parioli district, chock with fashionable places, is far from the hardcore culinary bastions. All of which makes CB (on the 53 and 217 bus lines) a refreshing find. The stylish inside dining room is two steps down from street level but surrounded by plants, keeping what little traffic there is at bay. There’s also an small strip of outdoor tables you’re better off booking in advance.
Aside from Rome pasta staples (including arrabiata, gricia, cacio e pepe and gnocchi on Thursday) you also get a nice lineup of fish-oriented appetizers and a well-balanced list of meat-and-fish main courses (on the meat side, go for involtini alla Romana or the tagliata, with rosemary and balsamic). Fish is fresh and vegetable dishes (including plenty of eggplant) readily available. There’s also a lunch buffet and a very drinkable house Frascati, which means you can bypass the wine list if you’re not picky. A no-nonsense, unpretentious place, rare these chic-tricked Roman days. Expect to pay €20-30 a head, more if you go for upscale wine.
Don’t confuse this eatery with the Via del Governo Vecchio’s Ciccia Bomba, located near Piazza Navona. That’s more of a meat-eaters den.
— Ciccia Bomba ai Parioli. Via Ruggiero Fauro, 2, Rome. Visa and bank cards (no Amex). Closed Sunday. Tel. 06.8069.2020