On one of those Sundays when you're in Rome but looking to escape the hustle and bustle, why not head of town on a foodie trip to Roman wine country: Frascati? Here, restaurant I Maroncio offers authentic Roman food worth the visit.
This town in the Lazio region is located a short 40-minute drive from the center of Rome. Drive your own car or take a bus. Buses head out from the Anagnina metro stop on the Red / A subway line towards Frascati daily. (An English language route planner is available on the Rome transport site ATAC.)
While Frascati is small, it packs a big punch. The area's known the world over for its wine-producing prowess - the Frascati drop, of course. But this time, you're here for food. Mario, Vera, Massimiliano and Andrea opened I Maroncio (colloquially known by locals as "Pizza Club") in 1990 and have been serving up Roman cuisine with locally sourced produce to satisfied customers ever since.
Pasta dishes are a specialty at I Maroncio — Photo courtesy of Maria Pasquale / HeartRome
When you walk into this family-owned and -operated restaurant, you'll feel like you've just walked into someone's house. And they'll make you feel right at home from the moment you arrive. Because at I Maroncio, it's just as much about the humble, friendly service as it is about the stellar food and wine. There's seating for around 200 people, and in the warmer months you can also opt to sit out in the garden.
While the menu is varied and includes a wide selection of entrees, pastas and meat dishes, you can do no better than to have your waiter select the best of what's available on the day of your visit.
Antipasto will generally range from some fried specialties like broccoli fritters, beef carpaccio, cheeses like freshly made ricotta served with chestnut puree, quinto quarto romano ("offal") like coratella (pan-fried lamb intestines) and a flame-grilled hunk of mortadella you won't soon forget.
You might be treated to some Roman classics like cacio e pepe (pasta served with a pecorino cheese and black pepper sauce) or dishes that put a spin on old favorites like carbonara with black truffle or ravioli stuffed with truffle and porcini mushrooms.
If you get past the first or second course, the mains are quite special, with grilled cuts of lamb, pork or beef. All of the desserts are made on site.
More often than not, you'll get to see one of the mamme making homemade pasta at the entrance. This isn't part of the show, but just how they roll at I Maroncio! So ring and book ahead and thank us later.
Bruschetta with egg and black truffle — Photo courtesy of Maria Pasquale / HeartRome