February 27, 2024 | Rome, Italy

Da Lucia, davvero

By |2018-05-04T18:54:21+02:00February 15th, 2009|Food & Wine Archive|
Go for spaghetti alla gricia.

never tire of this little, no-credit cards Roman trattoria in the heart of Trastevere. With all the trendy enoteche and eateries that have cropped up in recent years, it’s comforting to find places that still serve up classic Roman fare at moderate prices. Not only that, they’re thriving.

Da Lucia has been feeding hungry Romani since 1938, when the formidable Lucia Antonangeli heard her calling and decided to cook for the masses. Here you’ll find dishes straight from the canons of Roman cookery. There’s spaghetti con cacio e pepe (spaghetti topped with a snowy mound of local sheep’s milk cheese and a generous grinding of cracked black pepper) and spaghetti alla gricia (basically a tomato-less amatriciana made with pancetta and pecorino).

The trippa alla Romana (beef tripe braised in a rich tomato sauce seasoned with mint) is one of the best I’ve ever eaten, and the baccalà alla Romana (salt cod in a fragrant tomato sauce with white raisins) is still only served on Friday — a throwback to the days of yore when the Church instituted the day as one of abstinence from meat.

Romans are big vegetable eaters, so a good mix of seasonal veggies are always offered such as puntarelle con le alici (a popular winter salad of local endive that’s dressed with a vinaigrette of extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, anchovies and garlic), or vignarola (a springtime favorite dish of stewed fava beans, peas, baby artichokes and guanciale — cured pork jowl).

The house wines are very good, but if you want to spend more the wine list features local and regional selections.

The homey desserts (in particular, the ethereal mousse al cioccolato) perfectly punctuate this honest cooking. Lucia is no longer with us, but the new proprietor (her grandson, Renato Bizzarri), shares her philosophy and continues to serve some of the most authentic and delicious food in Rome.

Outdoor seating is available when the weather’s good. As for prices, the average

Antipasto runs €6.50, with primi at €8.50, secondi €10, contorni €4.50 and dolci €5. A carafe of house white and red puts you out €6.

Trattoria da Lucia, Vicolo del Mattonato, 2, Rome (Trastevere). Closed Monday. No credit cards. Tel. 06 580.3601.

About the Author:

Brette graduated from NYU with a degree in Art History. After a stint in the art world, she attended Peter Kump's "New York Cooking School" (now "The Institute of Culinary Education"). She later worked at several restaurants and catering kitchens in New York City, and as an assistant freelance food-stylist and recipe developer for culinary publications such as "Martha Stewart Living" and "Food and Wine." Succumbing to her wanderlust, she and her husband moved to France where she accepted a job running the kitchen for the La Napoule Art Foundation in Mandelieu-La Napoule. While in Italy, she apprenticed at Florence's Cibrèo and Modena's Hosteria Giusti. She and her husband are currently living in Rome.