One of the best carbonaras in Rome is eaten at a sports club

May 15 2024, 18:36
An authentic Roman trattoria is located in a sports center in the capital. Carbonara, braised rolls, and breaded slices between a game of football and a tennis set

by Carlo Mastrangeli

The best things are not always found in the expected places, or rather, where we expect to find them. And, to be a bit (too) profound, it could be a maxim adaptable to many other aspects of life. Here, however, we will limit ourselves to applying it to the world of catering, or rather to that of carbonara! And so, without beating around the bush too much, we will tell you that one of the best carbonaras in Rome is eaten in the restaurant of a sports club. We are aware that it may sound like an oxymoron, but so it is.

Roman trattoria amidst football fields and padel courts

At number 128 of Via del Mare, the road from Rome to Ostia, by taking a secondary street, you enter the Sporting Club Ostiense. A true institution for sports enthusiasts in the area, as evidenced by the sign proudly stating that it has been there since 1969. Inside, among football fields, five-a-side football, tennis, and the inevitable padel, there is also a restaurant (actually two). After so much sport, it is necessary to stop for a hearty meal. This place, wanting to describe it without even forcing too much on the aesthetic aspect, let's say that it does not captivate for the taste with which it was designed.

Christmas lights a bit everywhere, furniture that is all too Spartan, and a certain passion for bottles, which, with a geometric arrangement to say the least, are present in different corners of the room. Even hanging on a frame fixed to the ceiling... In any case, despite the abundance of labels, we don't report anything interesting, so if you're one of those who can't eat without a good glass of wine, the advice is to ask at the time of booking to be able to bring your own bottle.

Carbonara, rolls, breaded slices, and supplì

The restaurant is known by most as the Carbonara d'Oro (Golden Carbonara), a name changed a couple of years ago – probably due to a "first place" issue that belongs to another Roman restaurant – today it is called Carbonara Super. In one case or the other, in the choice of the name, the ownership's confidence in carbonara is perceived, which we are here to confirm. In fact, whether it's golden like the past or super like today, the carbonara here is really well done, certainly better than many other trendy places, where the fashion of the creaminess at all costs has taken over so much that it's almost necessary to eat it with a spoon. Here, instead, as often happens in authentic trattorias, fads are ignored and the carbonara – strictly with rigatoni – is creamy just right without unnecessary exaggerations. The guanciale, thinly sliced and well browned, is dosed with that comfortable homely generosity that is always nice to find. Small alert for purists: the eggs are mixed with pepper and a mix of pecorino and Parmesan cheese. Perhaps a choice dictated more by the customers' needs than by a specific will of the kitchen, but the result is more than enjoyable also thanks to the cooking of the pasta, which arrives perfectly al dente.

The menu, which is a compendium of Roman cuisine, includes not only all the first courses of the capital but also beef roll-ups braised in sauce (involtini di carne di manzo in umido), which in a hypothetical city competition could serenely aspire to the podium. The only downside is that they are not always on the menu, as are sweetbreads. Alternatively, at the time of booking, reassurances about the wine can be extended to the second courses. What never fails, however, are the breaded slices (fettine panate), but made in the old-fashioned way, passed in flour, then in egg, and finally fried. Different from what we are used to, without the "crunch" effect but no less tasty.

Always among the fried foods, we point out the supplì al telefono, here too the current fashion of quadruple breading is not arrived (fortunately), you will receive soft supplì with a heart of stringy mozzarella that will not make you regret those that wink at modernity. Just after the entrance, there is a wood-burning oven because in the evening the Carbonara Super also becomes a pizzeria, we recommend preferring the kitchen but still asking for a focaccia with oil and salt while waiting for the dishes. You will receive a white pizza, obviously Roman, that will disappear like bread, indeed more than that.

"Roman" service and honest bill

The service is typical of a Roman osteria, therefore made by waiters with great experience with an average age ranging from 55 to 65 years. Long-time professionals with a sly smile, genuine kindness, and always ready with a joke. And so it can happen that a table asks for a group photo, friends gather shoulder to shoulder to all fit in the frame, the waiter takes it, sealing the moment with a caustic "I took the photo. You're all there, the light seems right, of course, the general beauty is what it is...". All followed, of course, by a general laugh. And lastly, news that we know is providential for AS Roma fans: the owners of la Carbonara Super are big fans of Lazio, so the eagles and shields of the historic football club are a bit everywhere inside the restaurant. However, we point out some outdoor tables...

The bill is one of those that, when found, make you want to frame it: it reaches 30/32 euros per person only in case of very sustained hunger. Wine excluded, of course, because it will be that of your personal cellar.

La Carbonara Super - Roma - via del Mare 128 

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