Though its website says this restaurant is inspired by the trattorias of Rome, I’d be more specific than that. To me, Maialino takes its cues from the Roman neighborhood of Testaccio, which was, for many years, the slaughterhouse area of that city, and is known for its hearty, expert preparations of all the cuts of meat we in the U.S. discard. So, when you come to Maialino and you see the menu item “pig face salad,” know that you will get a plate of food that looks just like what it was in life (and is spectacularly delicious). Salami plates, a tortellini stuffed with liver, and dishes of spicy tripe also shine. But you don’t have to be adventurous to enjoy the fare here; even such standards as spaghetti a la carbonara or spaghettini alle vongole are done in a way that’s a cut above the usual. And the beyond-lovely waitstaff make every meal here feel like a special event. A truly delightful place to dine.
- Pauline Frommer