Il Buco: excellent Tuscan food near the Pantheon in Rome


So you’ve just finished wandering inside the Pantheon, gazing with wonder at the perfect symmetry of the dome and the massive columns that, to this day, stand for the glory of ancient Rome. You’ve been walking for hours, darting in and out of churches, marveling at the Caravaggios and Berninis sprinkled across the city.

It’s lunch time and you’re ravenous, but you’d rather starve than eat in one of the hyper-touristy restaurants around the Pantheon with their five-language menus. You want a cozy restaurant that is patronized by the locals and serves very delicious, reasonably priced food.

I found such a delightful little gem tucked away on a side street, close to the Pantheon and the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (a church built on a shrine to the goddess Minerva). It is called Il Buco and it serves wonderful Tuscan food.

Since it’s October, Il Buco is serving dishes with tartufo nero (black truffles). I had the tagliolini ai tartufo and all I can say is that it transported me to the heavens. I can’t remember having a pasta dish as delicious as this one in recent memory. It is devastatingly simple: fresh tagliolini with butter, shavings of black truffle, salt, pepper, a dash of nutmeg, and topped with parmigiano reggiano. My lunch companion had ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach with a bit of a nutty cream sauce (just a tiny bit, not drowning in thick gobs of cream as this dish is often served in other countries). We shared a carafe of red wine, and finished up with tiramisu and two espressos.

One of the delights of eating out in Rome is the price of wine. I have paid between €3.50 and €5 for a carafe of good red wine, which encourages a rather decadent daily habit of having wine with lunch and dinner. Wines at Il Buco are inexpensive, so go ahead and order a Barbera d’Alba to go with your meal. If you are really hungry and want to try out Il Buco’s secondi (meat and fish courses that come after the primi and antipasti), be aware that it is a Tuscan restaurant so they serve large meaty dishes.

Il Buco Ristorante Toscano
Via di Sant’Ignazio, 7
00186 Rome
+39 06 679 3298

Check out: my favorite restaurants and cafes, and favorite hotels in Rome.

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About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.