Editor’s note: this review was written based on a visit in 2014 and may not reflect what’s currently happening at MAZZO. What follows is our first impression and you can scroll down to find links to more current reviews from other writers.
Rome’s dining landscape, like its literal landscape, can sometimes seem burdened by antiquity. All the more notable is the growing renown of Mazzo, an intimate, informal, and defiantly youthful restaurant by chefs Francesca Barreca and Marco Baccanelli, who often operate under the adorable epithet of “The Fooders.” At Mazzo’s ten-seat communal table and test kitchen, located in the far-flung Centocelle district, the Fooders offer a confident and playful update of Roman cuisine, where precisely-executed grandmotherly classics like trippa al sugo are merely the basis for a more wide-reaching and cosmopolitan menu that changes nightly.
The beverage selection features a panoply of Italian craft beers and gin cocktails alongside a slim selection of organic wines [Editor’s note: the restaurant reports that their wine list now includes more than 100 references.] Gone is the stately pomp of more central and more traditional trattorias; Mazzo’s owners have enlivened its boxy interior with anarchic overstuffed shelving and skate-shop stickers. Characterful, sincere, almost threadbare, Mazzo is a glimpse of Roman cuisine at its most enterprising and progressive.
Address: Via delle Rose, 54
Hours: Open for dinner Monday-Friday from 18:00-midnight and on Saturday for lunch from 12:30-15:00 and for dinner from 18:00-midnight. Closed Sunday.
Telephone: +39 06 6496 2847
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Mazzo in pictures
Photos by Aaron Ayscough © Rome by Mouth
What people are saying
- Eater (2018) by Katie Parla notes that “since opening in 2013, Mazzo’s menu of reimagined Roman classics — fried tripe, chicken cutlet cacciatore — has kept its tiny dining room full and, in turn, helped kick off the transformation of Centocelle from a sprawling residential zone into a buzzy nightlife destination.”
- Eater (2018) by Katie Parla includes Mazzo in their 38 Essential Restaurants in Rome roundup, appreciating their take on “Roman soul food like fried tripe, juicy meatballs, and oxtail terrine” and their selection of gin cocktails. They admit that while “there are plenty of public transport options for getting there, none is particularly efficient.”
- “I Cento” by EDT ranks this as their #22 restaurant in Rome for 2018. They say that, despite their tattoos and youth and general Rage Against the Machine demeanor, Francesca Barreca and Marco Baccanelli have long-ceased being ‘those Mazzo kids.’ There has been tremendous growth since they opened in 2013, and these are now proper chefs running a big little restaurant. They’ll take your tastebuds on a roller coaster.
- Anthony Bourdain Explore Parts Unknown (2017) says that a perfect day in Rome includes a trip to Centocelle to join the family-style table for 10 and enjoy Mazzo’s “remarkable list of organic wines, spirits, and cocktails, and a filling and creative cuisine.” Their visit included fresh noodles with squid, shrimp, and bread crumbs, fried eels with garlic mayo, and traditional pasta dishes like fettuccine with lambo and cacio e ovo (cheese and egg) sauce.
- An American in Rome (2017) warns us that Mazzo is “way the f$&@ out there,” but loved her mushroom pasta and the “perfect” iron skillet calamari – “tender and expertly charred, plated with eggplant and basil purée.” A few dishes fell flat, however, and she seems unconvinced that Mazzo was worth the 1.5 hour tram & subway journey.
- Gambero Rosso (2016) names Mazzo as the Best Bistro in Rome in their annual guide, and says on their website “despite the reduced square footage, every night young, hip cooks Francesca Barreca and Marco Baccanelli transform quality ingredients into enticing dishes.” The suburb itself is worth a vist: “If – like many – you’re imagining a degraded, high-crime community characterized by enormous sterile apartment buildings, think again: Centocelle is anything but.”
- The New York Times (2015) includes Mazzo in their selection for 36 Hours in Rome, and says “the highlight of a recent meal was rösti with Romanesco broccoli and pecorino, a dish overshadowed only by three succulent meatballs smothered in sweet caramelized onions.”
- Katie Parla (2014) explains that she and other locals love Mazzo for their “flavor-driven take on the cucina romana,” but also because the restaurant is “a symbol for success in an economy and climate in which young entrepreneurs rarely succeed.”
- Puntarella Rossa (2013) reminds us that a visit to Mazzo requires crossing the city into the suburbs, arriving before the kitchen closes at 10pm, and booking well in advance because the space is so small. It’s worth it, they say, for the honest local cooking and fair prices.
- Scatti di Gusto (2013) likes the antipasti selection of meats and cheeses coming directly from DOL Vincent Mancino, and admires the seriousness, passion and modesty of these two young chefs.