Whenever I visit Rome, there is always one restaurant I go to at least once on every visit. That is Roscioli. It is situated just off the Campo dei Fiori (flower market) and is a casual spot that offers delicacies such as the best Roman kinds of pasta, cooked and raw fish, and an impressive selection of about 200 cured meats and 300 types of cheeses, such as burrata and mozzarella. It also has about 3,000 bottles of wine that line its walls. The place feels more like a delicatessen, which is part of its charm. The intimate downstairs room feels more like an ancient dining room. Its menu is fresh, inspiring and utterly delicious. Some argue that they have the best rigatoni carbonara in the universe. You can’t go wrong when dining there for lunch or dinner. They have a mini-empire in Rome, including a bakery, a Salumeria, and a cafe. Food and Wine Magazine called Roscioli Salumeria one of the “must visit” trattorias in Rome, and I could not agree more. So imagine my delight finding out they opened their first location outside of Italy at 43 MacDougal Street in New York. Now I don’t have to travel far for an outstanding Italian feast.
The next generation of the family, Alessandro and Pierluigi Roscoli and Maria Elena are now running the business. The menu will highlight Roscoli products as well as other Italian producers they have relationships with.
Roscoli is a bi-level space with two separate concepts. Downstairs is now open and is like eating at a cozy, fun dinner party. It is a dimly lit 40-seat basement with tables that are close together, designed with warm woods, circular booths, and black and white photos that evoke a supper club feel. Another few steps down is a vaulted ceiling wine cellar, where you can dine or just come in for a drink or two. You would swear you were in Italy. Downstairs offers a 4-course tasting menu with accompanying wines and cocktails for a reasonable $105. There are two seating’s at 6 pm and 8:30 pm. I can honestly say that every dish was outstanding. We were offered a delicious welcome drink of vermouth and soda. Our first course was their famous burrata dish with their amazing semi-dried Puglia tomatoes. They mentioned that they source their cheese from an American local producer after research to find the finest. This way, they ensure the freshest cheese at a more affordable cost than shipping it. This was served with a panzanella and paired-with a Prosecco Brut Modi from Veneto. They had an additional special of tuna crudo at $28. Then a small surprise of risotto Milanese, which was perfection. Our second course was mezze maniche all carbonara. I would have licked my plate clean if I could, but instead, I mopped up every last drop with Roscoli’s excellent pieces of bread. Our next pour to accompany this was a Terre Siciliane Rosso di Contrada 2018, Marbino from Sicily. Our third course was a delicious meatball pomodoro over a creamy polenta which was served with a Nebbiolo Starda 2021 from Piedmont. Our final course was a tiramisu and a ricotta-filled cannoli, and we were poured a Vermouth Rosso.
These were all classic Roman dishes, and each one was exceptional.
Upstairs will offer an a la carte, highly curated deli selection, similar to Rome. They are planning on opening that in mid-September. They will also be offering items from their food line to buy or ship, like olive oil, pasta, and sauces.
Their wines will play a starring role with 400 labels to start their Italian list, from areas like Sicily, Abruzzo, Piedmont, Barolo, Barbaresco, and so on. They will also offer craft beers, Amari, and a spritz program.
Roscoli has always had a dedication to quality and artisanal craft. The ingredients are simple, but the quality is exceptional, and this is something they always strive for. It is as much about food as it is about wine.
This new chapter, spreading its wings from the mothership, but with a similar format will also become a “must visit” when in New York. Come for a taste of Rome in New York.