Coming into Pipero Roma from the clamorous Corso Vittorio Emanuele II in central Rome is like stepping into another world – a quietly masculine space of tailored suits and, one imagines, important deals being struck at the well-spaced tables. The sobriety of this first impression is almost immediately countered by the effervescent energy of Alessandro Pipero, consummate host to Rome’s power elite.
If you’re lucky enough to sit in the main dining room (request this upon booking), you’ll be surrounded by reproductions from master painters. They’ve all been slightly edited, and are at once both recognizable and askew, foreshadowing the food to come. Chef Luciano Monosilio likes to play with form and memory. His best creations conjure a flavor or feeling from the past and then add a jolt of something new or unexpected. A dish of chicken with langoustines and celery made me think of the countless chicken salad sandwiches I’ve consumed, wishing they could all have tasted like this: crispy chicken skin instead of bread, real mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip, and a touch of liver because we’re no longer kids. A dish of lamb tortelli with pecorino and mint recalls cacio e pepe but with profoundly more depth. Similar moves, incorporating modernist techniques and Asian influences, are being attempted in serious restaurants across Rome. Monosilio is currently doing it best.
The wines, and Pipero’s presentation of them, are a lot more fun than you’d expect. While there is abundant Barolo for the banking clientele, I’d advise you to put yourself in Pipero’s hands and try different wines by the glass. He cultivates small producers and has an affection for underdog regions. He likes to share, once you let him know you’re interested. Advice from this sommelier, who was named Italy’s Best back in 2005, is certainly worth heeding.
The dessert progression is delightful and concludes with a dish of diminutive glazed donuts. Once again, a taste from childhood reintroduced in better, more delicious form.
In terms of price, there are two tasting menus offered with six courses for 110€ or ten courses for 140€. By contrast, ten courses at the more celebrated Il Pagliaccio around the corner will cost you 170€ (I prefer Pipero). Ordering alla carta, you can expect to pay around 25-40€ for antipasti, 25-40€ for primi and 30-60€ for secondi. These prices are high for Rome, but comparable to what you’d pay in other cities for a special occasion splurge. And that’s exactly what I would recommend this restaurant for.
We’ve included Pipero Roma on our short-list of Favorite Restaurants in Rome.
Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 250
Hours: Open for lunch & dinner Monday-Saturday from 12:30-14:30 & 19:00-22:30. Closed Sunday.
Telephone: +39 06 6813 9022
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Pipero Roma in pictures
Photos by Meg Zimbeck © Rome by Mouth
What people are saying
The following reviews relate to the current incarnation and location, Pipero Roma:
- Gambero Rosso (2018) has awarded Pipero Roma with 2 Forks and a numerical rating of 88/100 in 2018, 87 in 2017. Its previous incarnation Pipero al Rex was rated 85 in 2016 and 85 in 2015 (improving).
- “I Cento” by EDT ranks this as their #5 restaurant in Rome for 2018, calling the new space on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele “spacious and curated, bourgeois but modern.” Chef Luciano Monosilio has reached full maturity, offering a cuisine characterized by balance and pleasure but still with the desire to experiment. The wine list is serious, with a thoughtful and eclectic selection that Pipero will describe in a way that only he can.
- “Roma nel Piatto” by La Pecora Nera gave them a score of 9- out of 10 points (“excellent”) in 2018 and 9 points in 2017.
- “I Ristoranti d’Italia” by L’Espresso awards them 2/5 hats (“high quality”) for 2018.
- Luciano Pignatero (2017) points out that Rome doesn’t have a huge audience for avant-garde cooking and that this new incarnation of Pipero will take some getting used to. However, they applaud the “decisive creativity” of chef Monosilio who demonstrates “technical mastery, original ideas, real flavors, knowledge of the material.”
- Puntarella Rossa (2017) says “the precise geometry and sober light welcomes the renewed contemporary cuisine of the young chef Luciano Monosilio. The carbonara, considered one of the best in the Roman culinary world, is no longer at the center menu, but left room for a series of technically avant-garde and original dishes.”
The following reviews relate to the former location, Pipero al Rex:
- Maureen B. Fant (2014) calls this “Rome’s newest gourmet destination, creative cuisine in stunning surroundings, despite the unprepossessing street and hotel lobby.”
- Katie Parla (2012) notes that “Pipero al Rex, led by Chef Luciano Monosilio and consummate host Alessandro Pipero, has earned a devoted following since opening just over a year ago.”
Also recommended for modern fine dining
Metamorfosi in Parioli
Also recommended in this neighborhood
Retrobottega, also modern but less formal