Rome Restaurant: Da Alfredo e Ada

In our April issue, David Downie reveals eight authentic restaurants and wine bars to visit near the Pantheon in Rome, excerpted from his new book Food Wine Rome. Here’s one selection:

Among the Eternal City’s eternal tables, this one stands out for its simplicity and preserved-in-amber authenticity. There’s no sign on the door, just a card tacked to it. The wooden tables with marble tops and paper mats are probably a century old. Hand-scrawled mottos decorate the walls. The local regulars and intrepid out-of-towners who eat here are sometimes entertained – if that bethe word – by minstrels with acoustic guitars.

Since 1946, Sora Ada has been making home-style meals in her tiny kitchen atthe back, and keeps working despite her age and the death ofher husband Alfredo, who presided over the trattoria’s one long, narrow dining room for nearly 60 years. For anyone who’s eaten at home with a Roman family, the food will bring back memories: amatriciana with short pasta; a red sauce made with Rome’s involtini beef rolls and used for topping rigatoni or penne; veal stew with peas. Dessert? Fresh fruit and wine-dipping cookies.

The wine comes in two colors: red or white, both from the family’s small vineyard at Albano, in the Alban Hills. Note: cash only, no credit cards, but the prices are also stuck in amber.

Da Alfredo e Ada
Via dei Banchi Nuovi, 14
(39) 06 688842
Open for dinner from 6 p.m., weekdays only.
Closed for lunch, on weekends and in August.
Very inexpensive
Near: Tiber River end of street, about 100 yards west of Piazza dell’Orologio

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Photo by Alison Harris