Among the regulars at this friendly stalwart of cucina Romana, you’ll find gussied-up old ladies alongside rockers in jeans and Kiss tour shirts—all of whom trust Il Matriciano to bring them unfussy versions of their favorite classic Roman country dishes. The restaurant’s namesake plate, bucatini all’amatriciana (miniature cables of homemade pasta with tomato, pecorino, and guanciale), is excellent, and should be preceded with an antipasto of the swoon-worthy carciofi alla giudea (Jewish-style artichokes deep-fried in olive oil); they’re delicate, tender, crispy, and intensely flavorful. The cummerbund-clad camerieri whoosh through the dining room—an old-school salon with white tablecloths and warm, polished woods—with an earnest attention to service rarely seen in Roman restaurants of any price range.
Insider Tip: Take advantage of the restaurant’s proximity to the Vatican; go for an early weekday lunch (kitchen opens at 12:30 p.m.) and visit the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica in the afternoon, when the tourist crowds have thinned.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.