Da Cesare: Roman Trattoria in a Green Garden

This is an excerpt of an article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Dream of Italy. Find the full main article here.

Tucked away in the Monteverde neighborhood of Rome, close to the gates of the spacious Villa Pamphili park, sits Da Cesare al Casaletto. If you didn’t know to look for this gem of a trattoria, you would probably walk right by it.

On a quiet street, Da Cesare’s large dining room is hidden across a large outdoor garden shielded from passersby by hedges and ivy. This restaurant serves Italian classics, but upgraded. Roman classics such as trippa alla romana (sheep stomach lining cooked for many hours with tomato sauce and topped with pecorino Romano cheese and mint) are served in abundant portions, and the recipes are tried and tested to absolute perfection.

The two must-try dishes at Da Cesare are delicious starters sure to win over anyone who tastes them. The first dish is the polpette di bollito, shredded beef brisket meatballs, with a pesto sauce and shredded pecorino cheese on top. The second dish is the fried gnocchi cacio e pepe. These fried potato pasta clouds are covered in creamy pecorino and a generous dousing of black pepper, a play on the famous Roman cacio e pepe usually made with tagliatelle.

Be sure to leave room for the pastas and main courses since they are refreshing revisits to Roman classics but with a modern flair. The owner of this place, Leonardo, and his wife, Maria Pia, give a homestyle feel to this restaurant with its multicolored glasses and clean white linens. Leonardo is an expert on natural wines and is always happy to recommend which will go best with what you order.

During summer months, Leonardo and Maria Pia are joined in the dining room and the outdoor garden by their daughter, who sometimes takes orders from customers and charms them into ordering desserts despite being stuffed after the delicious meals. Complete your meal with the millefoglie. The crispy wafers are lined with crema pasticcera, a smooth, creamy custard, and have a glazed amarena (sour cherry) on top making this dessert the literal cherry on top to a perfect meal.

Da Cesare al Casaletto
Via del Casaletto, 45
(39) 06 536015
Open daily for lunch and dinner, except Wednesday.

–Danielle Abbazia