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“True Roman cuisine”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Vecchia Locanda

Vecchia Locanda
Ranked #337 of 12,134 Restaurants in Rome
Certificate of Excellence
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Families with children, Business meetings, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Navona / Pantheon / Campo de’ Fiori
Lempaala, Finland
Level Contributor
249 reviews
167 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“True Roman cuisine”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2012

In many reviews this place has been called a hidden gem, which it truly is. We were aiming to visit it in 2009 but for some strange reason never made it there, and this time (2012) we were determined to correct our mistake. I'm so glad we did.

Vecchia Locanda has a street terrace on the charming Vicolo Sinibaldi, an alley with a nice archway and hanging vines. So if the weather allows, we suggest you book a table outside. We managed to get a table without a reservation, but just in time before the place filled up. In the end the waiters began to extend the terrace with new tables.

The food is fabulous and has a rustic feel to it. For antipasti we had small squids in tomato sauce and miniscule calamari with Roman zucchini. Especially the latter dish had a unique flavour, and the marriage of earth and sea and the earthy taste gave us the romantig feeling of sitting in an ancient tavern. The house bread is baked in a woodfire oven, and it tasted almost as good as my grandmothers famous bread. You don't get higher praise than that.

For the pasta courses we had cacio e pepe, the Roman classic with tonnarelli pasta, cheese and black pepper, and my wife told me it was as good as it gets. I has tonnarelli with vongole clams and bottarga – sacks of fish-roe dried with salt in the sun. I have rarely seen it on menus, and I was very happy that they prepared it well (although in an ortodox style, as stripes instead of grated). We didn't have a main course, but by looking at the neighbouring tables we surmised that this may be a very good place for a meat-eater (we eat only vegetarian and seafood dishes). There was a host of classics from the traditional Roman cuisine in the menu.

As a dessert my wife had a tiramisu which was sweet, airy and fluffy, but a bit too large for her taste. I made the mistake of asking the waiter to bring a grappa of his recommendation: it was very good but also the most expensive ever in Rome. The grappas on the drinks list were not outrageously priced, so this was a bit inconsiderate of him (and stupid of me of course), but in no way did it ruin out evening.

Do yourself a favour and visit this tavern.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Hulaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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430 reviews from our community

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Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
20 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“A pleasant break from "breathing-into-your-neighbors'-necks" tables of Roman restaurant :-)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2012

I was to Vecchia Locanda twice - both times this summer. Unlike many places, where one visit may drastically differ from another, my both experiences in this restaurant left only the best memories. I must mention, we were coming with our friends, who are from Rome and are regulars at Vecchia Locanda, which made us the center of attention of the friendly owners of the place. However, this time I was watching them with other customers and they were equally nice and smiley to everybody.

We stayed outside, as the summer weather in Rome was perfect for that. Inside there isn't much space anyway and most people stay in the fresh air. The tables aren't cramped a couples of inches from each other unlike any typical Roman place, which was a pleasant surprise after numerous experiences in the center of painstaking efforts to hear your mate instead of the other couple sitting so close that you involuntarily become an overhearer of their intimate confessions :-) Being situated perfectly in the historical center, the owners however choose not to put as many tables as possible to get more profit at the expense of the customers' comfort. Cheers to that!

White wines both times were good and reasonable priced. I had prosciutto e mozzarella di bufala as an appetizer, which was very pleasant. You will say that it's impossible to spoil such an appetizer as there is nothing they have to cook in it, just serve. However, the previous experience in Mimi e Coco showed that mozzarella can be not very fresh, as it lacked the usual soft texture of mozzarella di bufala.

Then following the advice of a friend I ordered scaloppine di vitello. Lovely! My friends were also happy with their orders.

Besides great food, good wines, reasonable prices, specious seating, central location, you get those nice cordial owners, who are very helpful to make the evening at Vecchia Locanda an unforgettable experience.

Deeply Italian but not annoyingly typical; central but not noisy; yummy but affordable - a hidden gem of Roma!

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Helpful?
1 Thank DevochkaDa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Hard pasta....”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 20, 2012 via mobile

Very disappointing expected a lot having read the reviews, first of all the menu is very confusing and all over the place your not sure if your ordering a starter or main course, when we got our "main course" both our pasta dishes the pasta was hard and chewy to say the least much better spots nearby never again

    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank ifnotherethere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
105 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Very nice experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2012

We had an excellent dinner here in August. Cozy non tourist trap location, good outdoor seating, and fine meals all around. The cost was also quite reasonable. I rarely find restaurants I'd make an effort to return too; but this is one of them.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
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    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Praxus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Lovely location - keep dreaming of the pasta dish”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 3, 2012

The translation in the menu - something like "trofie pasta with bacon fat and wild mushrooms" might have deterred less piggish diners (or those less wild about wild mushrooms) than I. But, that bacon fat, oh my... My husband had the trofie pasta with black truffle and brie, and despite the fact that he said it was astonishingly good, he has been forced to admit that my bacon fat extavaganza won.
Secondi were almost as good as primi. Not to say they weren't great, just that the primi were unbelievably great. I had the beef with gorgonzola and radicchio (lovely bitterness of the leaves cutting through the rich cheese) and my husband had the seabass with wild mushrooms, which was perfectly cooked, served off the bone, and beautifully complimented by the mushrooms. We chose a pinot grigio for €16 which was lovely, but we later had a glass of the house frascati which was also very fine.
The location of this place is wonderful. Tucked away, lovely to eat outside on a summer evening, with walls covered in bouganvillea, and tables set out on a quiet alley.
In fact it is so good, that having visited last night, we are breaking a cardinal rule, and going again tonight. Hope it lives up to expectations, but looking forward to trying the bean and clam soup, if I don't buckle and give in to the lure of bacon fat again!

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Emma R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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