Piperno for a Sunday Lunch

One of the old Jewish Ghetto’s landmark restaurants, Piperno is a bit difficult to find, located in a lovely little hidden piazza. Several years had passed since we’d been there last, but we remembered the way when we recently went with friends after a visit to the nearby Great Synagogue.  We went on a Sunday, when many Romans were out having a lovely lunch. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!

Piperno is a white tablecloth kind of place, with green walls, dark wood, and waiters in white jackets. It’s a classic.

The waiters are attentive and affable, and the food is good. It was Sunday lunch, so it was very busy, and we were wise to order a quick starter of ham to nibble on, as service took a bit of time. After a cocktail, we went through a bottle (or two) of a very reasonably priced wine. Piperno has wonderful fried starters, including (of course), a crispy Jewish artichoke.

A delicious plate of mixed fried starters – don’t miss the fried foods here!

Laura had a decadent spinach and ricotta ravioli in a cream sauce with a bit of lemon.

Spinach and ricotta pasta in a creamy, lemony sauce

I went for a plate of rigatoni con pajata, a dish once forbidden in Rome.  This is a classic Roman dish using some of the “fourth quarter,” that is, the least expensive bits of meat left over after butchering.  Pajata is the term for an unweaned calf’s intestines, which are not cleaned so that they carry a cheesy flavor after being cooked.  It was delicious.

Pajata, the once-forbidden dish.

Our friends went for the more traditional veal dish and oxtail stew, all of which were good.

Veal cutlets with parmesean


A nice oxtail stew… we sopped up the sauce with crusty bread!

We ended our meal with a terrific crème caramel and an almond semifreddo. Really delicious — we didn’t leave a morsel!

Crème caramel – eggy and delicious


A chocolately almond semifreddo

It was lovely to return. I recommend Piperno for a classic meal in a classic setting. In summer, they have pleasant outdoor seating as well. Reservations are highly recommended.