Perilli - Rome

This old favorite was as good as ever, in fact better as now there’s no smoking.

We both ordered the rigatoni alla carbonara (€13 x 2), so as is their practice they brought both orders in a single bowl, served half on a plate, and gave the other person the bowl. This is still my gold standard: al dente, guanciale ranging from chewy to crunchy, salty and creamy sauce.

Abacchio alla cacciatora (€13 or €14): gamy lamb shoulder sautéed with vinegar, garlic, and rosemary. Looks like a lot but minus the bones it’s a very modest portion, which is perfect after a big helping of pasta. My companion got the scottadito, which I wasn’t crazy about (maybe not the best place for grilling).

They had run out of puntarelle so I got the romanesco in olive oil and lemon. Nice foil to the fatty lamb.

If you want the old-school Roman dishes, I don’t think you can do better than this. Might not be a good place for tourists who don’t speak Italian or know the local restaurant etiquette. Two pastas, two secondi, a liter of Pellegrino, a liter of pleasant house red, one dessert, Averna, pane e coperto, total came to €86, a serious bargain compared with what a similar meal would cost at home.

Lunch and dinner, closed Wednesdays.


One of our favorite places to eat when we’re in Rome. Of course, my wife won’t touch my order of pajata, while I pick at her carbonara. Our last time there, we actually got them to be friendly. My wife’s Italian must be improving.

They’ve apparently enhanced their name to “Perilli a Testaccio dal 1911,” presumably inspired by Checchino. Now open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for lunch only.

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Perilli redecorated a couple of years ago. Lots more light. Glad to say the food’s as good as ever.

Nervetti were underseasoned.

Carciofo all romana was good.

Carbonara is still my gold standard. Perfectly balanced, not oversauced, guanciale crisp. Only complaint is I think my wife got more than half the guanciale (they bring multiple orders in a single bowl, serve from that at the table, and give one person the bowl).

Coda alla vaccinara also great, though I miss the old Nuvolari’s version with lots of celery.

Total price with two each antipasti, primi, secondi, and dolci plus a bottle of Nascetta and a liter of house red (a nice Cesanese), $131.55.

Still popular with locals. There were two parties of around sixteen.


Great use of lighting in those (vaulted?) ceilings. One of the recent seasons of This Old House did something similar with cathedral ceilings where there was absolutely not place to hide the wiring and it made all the difference for a huge space.