Ristorante Il Papalino – Rome, Italy


It’s a pleasure for me to write about Il Papalino, as it was our first meal in Rome, and a pleasant way for us to start our two week trip of Italy.

Il Papalino's business card.

Il Papalino’s business card.

My wife and I arrived in Rome to a drizzly June afternoon, after almost 24 hours of travel. We were tired and exhausted, but even more, we were famished. So after our cab ride to our hotel, we checked in, a place literally three buildings down from the Vatican. Of course we first walked over to St. Peters Square, snapped a few pics and with our hunger taking over, we couldn’t wait any longer, and it was time to find a place to eat.

Il Papalino's outdoor seating on the Borgo (unknown photographer).

Il Papalino’s outdoor seating on the Borgo (unknown photographer).

A block over from the Vatican, is a street named Borgo Pio, which is so quaint, filled with little shops and ristorantes up and down it. With many choices abound, I’m not sure what it was exactly that made our decision. Maybe it was the menu or the way people seemed to be enjoying eating inside. But over the other establishments around, we decided to go in Il Papalino for our first meal in Rome.

Inside seating at the ristorante (photo courtesy of Il Papalino).

Inside seating at the ristorante (photo courtesy of Il Papalino).

It’s a very cute place, filled mostly with locals, drinking plenty of vino in the afternoon, so we knew that was a good sign. Our server approached us, very nice, though he didn’t speak the greatest English and our Italian was weak, it was quite ok as the menu spoke for itself. We knew we had to order one thing right away, cacio e pepe, Rome’s famous simple dish… pasta with Romano cheese and pepper, that’s it!!! It didn’t disappoint, leading to ordering it here in Rome, Siena, Florence AND Venice. Multiple times in those cities in fact.

Their Cacio e Pepe... wonderful.

Their Cacio e Pepe… wonderful.

We also ordered of course, being Americans, a pizza, a buffalo one, also so simple… cheese, tomato & arugula (aka rocket in Italy). Light Roman crust, which pretty much paved the way to fall in love with Roman pizza above all. A few ingredients, and all so fresh, packing it with flavor.

Their Buffalo Pizza.

Their Buffalo Pizza, simple & fresh.

Lastly, their blue toast… toasted bread with Italian blue cheese, gorgonzola to be exact. I’ve always been a fan of the various blue cheeses, but after indulging on gorgonzola all over Italy, it’s become my favorite. Melted over fresh, soft baked bread is even better. All three were simple dishes, Italian basics, but so very good, such flavor, so rich, yet so light. Caught between hunger from our journey getting to Rome and the first bites of Italian food in Italy, we weren’t sure for a moment why it tasted so incredible. One more bite a piece for us, and we did realize, it was Italian food. Made from local Italian, let alone Roman ingredients, done nice & easy in a quaint Roman ristorante. We sat there, soaked in the atmosphere and the people especially on top of the food, taking our time eating, which we knew ahead of time is how Italians eat.

Their Blue Toast.

Their Blue Toast… yummm.

It wasn’t a gourmet meal, and might not of been the greatest meal we had ever had. Yet, again, it was simple food, done so very delicious. Filled with just the kind of ambiance we wanted from the start. Oh, and very affordable, which seem to start the trend of most all our meals in Italy. This was a wonderful way to start our trip in Rome and eating through out Italy over the next 2 weeks.



Borgo Pio, 172
00193 Rome, Italy

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