Just a stone’s throw from the unbelievably noisy Piazza Venezia, on the ghetto side, is the unbelievably quiet Piazza Margana: a little triangle of peace surrounded by ivy-covered walls. Much of it is taken up by the outside tables of La Taverna degli Amici, contained within more leafiness, to make a perfect spot for lunch or dinner on a hot day (if it’s really hot, the spacious interior is air-conditioned).
Antipasti (€10-15) are fairly standard but there are also non-traditional dishes such as strudel di verdure. Tonno e spada affumicata (smoked tuna and swordfish) is excellent and there’s enough on the plate to make a main course, too.
Pasta (also €10-15) includes penne or bucatini all’ Amatriciana and a signature dish here, tagliolini cacio e pepe, which is seriously good.
Secondi (€15-24) include a really, really good vitello tonnata (veal with tuna sauce), a complete steal at €15. There are also some interesting vegetarian options on offer. The tortino di zucchini was wonderful – succulent strips of zucchini making a lovely mound with soft cheese – and the melanzane alla parmigiana, which can be rather a heavy, daunting dish, was light and delicious. Both are great value at €12.
Dolci (€7) are home made. There’s a delicious chocolate and mint mousse and a millefoglie della Taverna, but there are also good fruit options for those avoiding the carbs (though go for the strawberries or pineapple as the macedonia (fruit salad) is surprisingly pedestrian.
There is a short wine list but you really don’t need to look beyond the house wine – the red is soft and distinctly moreish and served in earthenware jugs, and the house white is a delicious golden Frascati.
Service is great and this long-established restaurant is much appreciated by locals as well as tourists – and it’s always busy so you might want to book in advance.