Checchino dal 1887 [Rome]

This was definitely the highlight of a recent trip to Rome. I will post a general review but this place definitely deserves a thread of it’s own. It’s fair to say that the missus was not as excited as I was about our booking (her not really liking offal ) however she suggested we book it again for our final night after the first meal.

The menu itself is a bit of a way from the normal tourist hot spots but worth the trek. The menu itself is quite a long and bright vaulted room. Service was efficient and friendly.

1st Meal.

For my stater I ordered the pressed calves head terrine. I had built this up quite a bit before I got there. It wasn’t a disappointment as such but I was expecting a softer texture like brawn. It was firmer and more like sliced tongue. The flavour though was good and once it warmed up and the fat began to coat your mouth the flavours became more pronounced. Opposite the missus had bruschetta with pecorino. It sounds very simple but it came with a glass of frascati and the sweetness paired very well with the saltiness of the cheese.
For mains the I had the bollito misto which was veal breast, veal trotter and veal tongue with a salsa verde. The trotter was fairly bland and I wasn’t sure about the gelatinous texture. The breast had been poached and lacked a little flavour. The tongue was wonderfully soft and meaty and the salsa verde was wonderfully fresh cutting through all the richness. For my companion there was roast veal breast. This was cooked perfectly and I’m not sure what they’d done but there was a great savoury hit of umami. I did have a little bit of food envy. We had fresh borlotti beans and fried artichoke as accompaniments. We took a recommendation of a Soave. It was very good and something of a surprise given the Soave I’ve had in the UK. Far more more body and richness.

Meal 2.

We started our second meal with a couple of glasses of very passable prosecco. The missus had for her starter a plate of very god ham. For myself was a small bacon in beer pie. In reality it was a lovely soft savoury muffin with a good outer crust. The beer added a nice yeasty note and in the bottom was a layer of tallegio cheese which added a nice gooey creaminess to the whole thing.

On our first night in Rome we had both had a Roman classic. Rigatoni carbonara for her and rigatoni pajata for myself. These were a disappointment so we decided to order the same dish (though the carbonara was with spaghetti this time). Here the execution was so so much better. The pasta was perfectly cooked. My tomato sauce was rounded with just a hint of sweetness. The calves intestines were beautifully soft and the sharp pecorino worked very well against it all. The carbonara sauce across the table was rich and though the guanciale was declared a bit too salty I really liked it.

I had a half bottle of Rosso di Montalcino , not all that complex but just right for my main. I don’t recall the wine across the table nor the dessert ordered. I however opted for cheese. The blue 61 Ubriaco was a wonderfully creamy blue cheese that was not overpowering. They didn’t have any Vinsanto so I opted for a glass Principe Pallavicini ‘Stillato’ Passito di Malvasia Puntinata. Reminded me of Sauternes and perfect with the cheese. A very good final dinner in Rome

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Interesting! Thanks! I remember you posting your plans to have that testina.

What is brawn? Pressed calves head terrine (which goes by various names in different parts of Italy) really does vary from cook to cook in flavor and to some extent texture too. But without knowing what brawn is, can’t tell if I’ve ever had a version that is that texture. Also, how thin was your dish sliced? My local butcher, who makes his own in caul fat, slices it near transparency.

I’ve always been a bit curious about Checchino because while I am squeamish about offal and utterly without curiousity about the famed pajata or coratella, etc, I noticed that the restaurant has an extensive menu of Roman pasta classics, so I’ve wondered if one does’t fancy offal one can still be very happy with the meal. Sounds like your wife was and you liked your pastas.

What is the ambience like there? Did you spend time anywhere else in Testaccio, even just to gawk? Go anyplace else in Italy?

The ambience was a little quiet as both times there was only two other tables in. Didn’t look round the market.

What with Christmas I’ve been a little slack with the rest of my trip. Have posted here.

I had a very nice dinner at Checchino dal 1887. I was in search of the Roman dish coda alla vaccinara, which is an oxtail stew, and I had read that Checchino made a good one. As mentioned above Checchino is known for its offal dishes. I walked in without a reservation at around 10 on a Thursday night, and there were 2 or 3 other occupied tables at the time. It’s a nice room with curved ceilings, wood panels, and cheese carts on display. I was given an English language menu.

Started with rigatoni con la pajata - rigatoni pasta in a tomato based sauce served with the intestines of unweaned calves. The intestines were tender and springy with a nice little funk to them. They still had some half digested milk inside, which spilled out when you cut into them. I wish I had gotten a picture of that, it was quite striking. The milk was a bit curdled and added an interesting creamy/cheesy taste to the dish. The rigatoni were nicely cooked and very al dente, and the tomato sauce was lightly seasoned. I think it was mostly just crushed tomatoes. It was covered with a sprinkling of salty pecorino cheese on top. Very good.

Next I had the coda alla vaccinara (oxtails in the style of the butcher). This was in a little bit sweet and sour sauce that I think had some raisins in it, also tomato and maybe cocoa? Also celery and a few pine nuts for texture. Delicious sauce. The oxtails were quite tender - falling off the bone - with a good bit of gelatinous connective tissue. Quite a large portion. Washed it down with a half bottle of a local Syrah recommended to me.

I was stuffed afterwards and didn’t have room for dessert. Had a nice glass of Amaro CioCiaro to finish though, which was recommended by my waiter.

Friendly service with some good wine recommendations as well.

More pictures:

IMG_20190328_224440

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Excellent!! Makes me yearn to revisit.

We were in Rome in November, and Checchino Dal was on high on our list. Somehow, we walked by AI Balestrari the first night without a reservation, and the menu sang out to us. We were happily seated at an outside table on the narrow cobblestone alley. The menu was similiar to Checchino, and we pretty much wanted to order everything. But since we had landed a few short hours earlier, we showed restraint and ate fairly light that first night.

A deep fried assortment with a carafe of house red, served in water glasses. A brilliant start. The deep fried Olives and Artichoke Hearts were especially delicious.

La Carbonara, of course. We’re Roma noobs.

La Coda alla Vaccinara. Good, but their Trippa alla Romana (not pictured) was even better.

Insalata Rughetta e Pomodoro. Always load up on veggies while travelling, when given the chance.

The meal was very good, and there were many more items we wanted to try. Walked by again a few days later, and could not resist the urge to lock in a reservation. We were seated inside on our second visit.

Prosecco to start.

In no particular order. La Coratella con Cipole. Lamb Offal with Onions.

Bistecca ai Ferri. Great steak, cooked perfectly rare.

More veggies. Chicory sauteed Country Style. Raw Chicory Hearts with Anchovies.

Nice bottle of Syrah, from Umbria region near Lazio.

Espresso (decaf), Tiramisu, Cognac and Absinthe. Buona Notte!!! Zzzzzzzzzz

Will hit Checchino dal 1887 next trip definitely!! Hopefully sooner than later.

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Looks good! The carbonara in particular. And the lamb offal - I thought that was a plate of artichokes for a second.

I think we drank the same Syrah.

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Did you try the tripe on this visit? The tripe was so good, we had it three times.

Funny thing, I’ve not had tripe in tomato sauce since my aunt (Chinese) used to make it many decades ago. Dunno where she might have gotten that idea (recipe) from, definitely not from my grandma.

Rome was so much fun, looking forward to visit again.

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I had tripe only once this trip (my first to Rome, and to Italy in general), and it was indeed quite delicious. Didn’t have it at Checchino though. I agree, Rome is a fun city to visit with so much to see, and with some good eats too. Need to write up a trip report.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold