Osteria di San Cesario
Frustrated with their city’s banal offerings, Rome’s food critics often head out of town. Their grail? This cult osteria, some 20 miles south of the city, presided over by the larger-than-life Anna Dente. Descended from many generations of butchers, Dente is the reigning queen of quinto quarto (offal, in the local vernacular), turning tripe in salsa verde into a refined treat and performing delicious miracles with sweetbreads and spleen. Still, the reason to come here is the pasta made by her 88-year-old mamma, Maria. When sauced with classic carbonara and amatriciana (both bolstered by dusky house-cured guanciale) the fettuccine and gnocchi restore your faith in la vera cucina romana. Over ciambelle al vino (doughnut-shaped pastries), listen to the ebullient Dente spin tall tales about her adventures in Hollywood.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.