This place was awesome! It was our favorite restaurant in Italy and not only was the food good but the atmosphere was the epitome of Rome. We just loved sitting outside, people watching and staying entertained by the cars trying to scoot down this tiny alley. My husband would tell you the highlight for him was getting the mother of all beers.
Favorite Dish: I thoroughly enjoyed the Spaghetti Bolognese and my husband loved his lasagna.
We eyed this place suspiciously as it was on one of more heavily traveled streets to Trevi Fountain but I'd read good reviews, it was on our way home, and we were starving so what the heck.
Good choice. This tiny hole (the literal translation of 'Piccolo Buco') is a mom-and-pop trattoria with very nice food, and watching The Tramp Of The Tourists on their way to-and-from one of the most popular attractions in Rome was amusing entertainment. Why that thing is such a big deal is beyond me but I digress...
We were there at a very early hour and landed one of the few tables on the street. Mama cheerfully got us settled in with a couple 1/2 carafes of house wine and helped us make our menu choices: bruschetta with basil, shrimp and tomatoes; tortelloni with cream, sausage and mushrooms; fettucini with tartufo (truffle) sauce. We would have left it at that but had seen a couple desserts go by and decided not to fill up on the pasta (not that I could have finished mine anyway) so we could give those a go: tiramisu for me and creme caramel for the Spousal Unit. Delicious. The bill, I believe, was about 50 euros: very reasonable for the quality and amount of what we'd ordered. Skip dessert and share 1/2 carafe of vino and you can trim the total nicely.
Papa's job seems to be keeping a scowling eye on the street (probably to keep the pickpockets away from his customers) and he seems to know EVERYBODY in the neighborhood - including the cops - and they all stop for an animated chat on their way by. A couple of street musicians dropped in with a little dinner music too. Don't let the location you put you off; this isn't one of those hotspot tourist traps you're warned to avoid at all costs. They only take cash, are closed on Mondays, and if you sit outside be cautious not to hang cameras or bags off of your chairs as it's a very narrow, busy street with little space between you and any potentially light fingers.
We stopped in here the night we went to see Trevi Fountain. It was busy but we got a seat right near the door and were able to watch the rain coming down. The food was absolutely delicious and the people who worked there were fantastic. After our dinner they brought out some homemade biscotti and I believe it was some sort of wine that had been blessed by the Pope. It was the absolute best way to finish off the meal.
We liked it so much we went back on our last day in Rome for lunch. A few years later I sadly forgot the name of the restaurant when I wanted to recommend it to one of my clients who would be visiting Rome. Thankfully I was able to find a picture of myself sitting in the restaurant enjoying a glass of their house wine, with the name of the restaurant on the window behind me.
I did throw a coin over my shoulder that night at Trevi fountain... so one day I will return, and when I do, I will be sure to go back to Piccolo Buco.
Favorite Dish: Their Gnocchi was the best I've ever had!