Armando al Pantheon [Rome, Centro Storico]

Armando al Pantheon is just steps away from the nearly 2000 year old Pantheon. This restaurant however is only about 58 years old, opened in 1961. I went here for lunch on a recent trip to Rome. It’s a pretty small restaurant so reservations are probably a good idea. All of the dinner slots were booked up for the week already and I could only get a lunch reservation - you can book online. Armando al Pantheon is a trattoria that serves mostly classic Roman dishes.

The menu is in both Italian and English. To start, I had the tagliolini cacio e pepe (€13). This was the best cacio e pepe that I have ever had (I haven’t had that many cacio e pepes though outside of the occasional one I make at home). The taglioni is a fresh pasta made in house. A little less al dente than dried pasta. It was kind of like a squarish spaghetti. Great texture. Nice sauce that was cheesy and peppery but not too heavy, was actually kind of light. An excellent pasta dish. Cacio e pepe is such a simple dish (3 ingredients more or less - pasta, pepper, pecorino) that execution is very important, and this was just great.

Next I had the tripa alla Romana (€16). Tripe in a tomato sauce with pecorino romano and a little mint. The mint wasn’t very heavy in this dish. The tripe were good, tender but also with a nice chew. Covered in a light tomato sauce and accented with the funky pecorino cheese.

I also had a carciofo alla Romana on the side (€6) which was basically a steamed(?) artichoke drizzled in olive oil. Good artichoke.

I didn’t have room for dessert. I asked for a wine by the glass and they poured me a glass of a dry minerally red that was quite good with both the pasta and the tripe.

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We had dinner there in 2011 and liked it. It’s location means that it could so easily be a complete tourist trap. But it isn’t. Unlike some other places that research had turned up, there was agood mix of customers. Yes, certainly international ones but, also, Italians - several welcomed as obvious regulars.

Menu was well constructed with a mix between light dishes and more substantial ones. All the food was good - except the tiramisu which needed more booze in it.

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