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“Superb Italian Restaurant in the Heart of Testaccio”
Review of Checchino Dal 1887

Checchino Dal 1887
Ranked #3,145 of 12,361 Restaurants in Rome
Cuisines: European, Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Neighborhood: Testaccio
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Superb Italian Restaurant in the Heart of Testaccio”
Reviewed May 10, 2012

Unforgettable oenophile and Culinary Destination. We imbibed the singularly delicious and rare Fiorano Bianco, deep in amber and delicious: "the taste of chestnuts in autumn!" remarked the sommelier, and dined on carbonara, caccio e pepe, ciccoria (absolutely delicious, a slightly wild and peppery fibrous green). The restaurant's specialty, is Coda alla Vaccinara, a signature dish at Checchino dal 1887. Coda alla Vaccinara is oxtail, and the owner Francesco's brother, Chef Elio has marinated it for seven hours reducing to the most delicious tomato sauce I've ever tasted. In fact, I've never encountered a tomato sauce more intense and concentrated, more deep, dark, rich and flavorful than at Checchino's. Later we learned that chocolate had been added to the sauce as well! An absolutely superb destination dish and the combination with Fiorano Bianco utterly devine. Dining at Checchino dal 1887 is the archetypal culinary experience of a lifetime, the Coda alla Vaccinara stunningly delicious with its magnificent sauce and falling-off-the-bone meat. Checchino dal 1887 is located next to the ancient slaughterhouse site in Testaccio and is famous for its Quinto Quarto offal offerings. Don't miss Checchino's Rigatoni alla Pajata and superb Abbachio Scottadito, both worth a trip on their own merits. Fabulous food, wine and service. We were invited afterwards to visit Checchino's unbelievable wine cellar housed amid the chards of ancient Rome in Testaccio. One of Rome's most memorable dining experiences and I can't wait to return.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank Tenortom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
62 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Good food but no atmosphere”
Reviewed April 24, 2012

When you read that the Testaccio district of Rome was where the slaughter house was and that, as a result, restaurants have grown up there specialising in the parts of the animal - really the offal - that were the perks of the workers you might envisage a lively 'cucina povera' restaurant scene. Sadly it isn't quite like that. Testaccio is mostly built on a non-attractive grid system and a walk to the Checchino Dal 1887 restaurant isn't one filled with great pleasure. It is simply dull.

This maybe makes the sight of the restaurant all the more welcome.

Our visit was on a lovely Spring day and the restaurant certainly looked inviting. It was lunchtime but sadly only two tables were occupied.

Never mind, our spirits were most definitely lifted when we read the menu. We knew it was going to be pretty expensive so that was no problem and the dishes to lovers of the more unusual animal parts seemed heavenly.

I ordered oxtail. Not really being adventurous I accept but I regularly cook oxtail both in the English and in the Italian way so was interested in trying it by the experts. And at that stage I knew we would certainly be returning to sample the other dishes.

Because I expected the oxtail to be filling I passed on the first course but my wife ordered a sort of pie - I say 'sort of' because it was not made of pastry but more of a muffin style mix. Anyway, she enjoyed it.

The unusual thing about the oxtail recipe was that it included pine nuts, raisins and chocolate. Although I use chocolate in rich stews I never thought the Italians would use it in their frequently tomato based cuisine so this was interesting. The other thing about it was that the basic dish of just the oxtail and nothing else accompanying was 21 euros. Certainly the most expensive oxtail - a cheap dish normally - I've had. But never mind.

In fact I registered that I had just two pine nuts so they didn't make a major contribution. I didn't detect the raisins or the chocolate but that is no criticism. It was excellent and could not have been improved upon - not that cooking oxtail is a great challenge mind you.

My wife had small lamb something-or-others that one ate with one's fingers (no finger bowl supplied surprisingly), which she enjoyed.

To drink we had two half bottles - one red and one white at 12 euros each - which were served with totally unnecessary swirling and sniffing but were very nice.

So we had no complaints about either the food or the wine.

Why then did we dislike it so and vowed never to return? This was because if one goes out to a restaurant to eat things as simple as oxtail for 21 euros one is going for more than the food. One is going for 'the restaurant experience'. I'm sure you know what I mean by that. Well, that 'restaurant experience' is totally lacking in Checchino's, believe me. Although I'm able to converse in Italian not a single word was exchanged once we had placed the order. Another writer on this site referred to the waiters as being "merely plate bringers" and I couldn't put it better. They silently brought the food and then went and stood together in the doorway gazing out into the sunshine as though they thought customers might possibly emerge from the emptiness outside. I have never before been in a restaurant so totally lacking in atmosphere.

To confirm it's remoteness as we left the manager broke the silence by asking "Shall I order you a taxi?"

This was all a very great shame. I thought we'd made a great discovery. So my advice would be if you want to experience this most unusual menu (and that type of food appeals to you) go in a party so that you arrive with your own atmosphere. It could then be the experience you were seeking. Otherwise be prepared for a somewhat silent experience and in my book that isn't at all what going out to a good restaurant is about..

  • Visited April 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank DerekCarver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Giaveno, Italy
Level Contributor
164 reviews
112 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“Checchino - a happy memory”
Reviewed March 29, 2012

Testaccio is my preferred Rome neighbour for dining out since 2003.
I usually prefer food quality to atmosphere... especially because I'm alone and busy business trips...
One of the few exceptions is Checchino as elegant decor and waiters in uniform are not so usual in Testaccio and between my preferred food places: I was here last time in 2011, may (this time with my wife and not alone as always).

Prices are a bit higher than neighbour restaurants in the around area (old slaughterhouse area... aka "il Mattatoio") but the place always attracts a mix of italian and foreing tourists mixed with local people that want to eat the fifth quarter (definition for the least noble part of the animals caming directly from inside: head brain and tongue, bowels, kidneys, heart, lungs, tail, feet of animals like sheep, pigs, cattles, ... even testicles).
I like the contrast between the almost formal environment, and this kind of bloody and poor food.

Ask for the pajata... that can be declined in many ways (some more traditional than other), for the kidneys and for the veal tongue... If you dare, you won't be disappointed by the quality and the taste!

Another information: Checchino is part of the "Ristoranti del Buon Ricordo" (=Restaurant of the happy memories) so if you order the "buon ricordo" menu.... you will get good food (with a more conservative approach) and also a painted dish inspired to the menu itself. In fact, the only time I brought my wife, she took this menu as she won't like to explore slaughterhouse food....

  • Visited May 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Andrea_Ravera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
48 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Just OK”
Reviewed February 21, 2012

The food was ok, but nothing we will remember. The atmosphere was bad -- they have this really bright lighting that makes you feel like you are in an operating room. Maybe ok for lunch, but not for dinner.

Visited February 2012
Thank kate0614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
206 reviews
120 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
“Great for foodies”
Reviewed August 8, 2011

This is a fun restaurant for foodies visiting Rome. It is known for classic Roman specialties that you don't easily find in the more touristy places. The coda alla vaccinara (oxtail) was rich and scrumptious. The bucatini alla gricia was very good. The rigatoni con pajata (rigatoni with lamb intestines) is worth trying. Be adventurous. Go with friends so you can try different dishes.

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank OrpheusTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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