Where to Eat in Italy Trattorie e Osterie

Controluce: The Most Elegant Trattoria In Rome That Elevates Traditional Dishes In Trastevere

Leonardo Samarelli
copertina controluce

Two longtime friends opened this establishment in 2022, offering a comforting, flavorful, and substantial cuisine. The menu features iconic Roman dishes as well as recipes inspired by various Italian regions.

The venue

Trastevere is often known, to tourists and locals alike, as the area where Rome's nightlife is concentrated, scattered among the alleys behind Piazza Trilussa. But for those who want to truly get to know the famous district, there's much more to discover. On the diametrically opposite side of the square named after the Roman poet, there's a part of the neighborhood where the pace still flows slowly, there are no "tourist trap" trattorias, and the streets are rich in history and tradition.


It is precisely in one of these streets that you'll find Controluce, an intimate restaurant opened in September 2022 by Laura Marasà and Simona Mochi, two friends since their days studying Mathematics at the University of Sapienza in 1992, when they discovered they shared another great passion besides numbers: cooking. This unbreakable bond, after many years, materialized in the realization of their dream to open a restaurant that reflects their personalities. Here, traditional Roman cuisine with its great classics – like Carbonara, Amatriciana, and Cacio e Pepe is just the beginning of their project, which is expanded into a contemporary cuisine ranging from meat to fish.

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"When foreign customers ask us for spaghetti meatballs, it’s an uphill battle! We start explaining that our idea of cuisine is different and almost always manage to convince them. The ending is always the same: they leave smiling and satisfied. In Trastevere, it’s not easy... but we love big challenges."


While Simona has brought her administrative expertise to Controluce, primarily handling back-office tasks – though she’s always ready to help in the dining room when needed – Laura interacts with the customers, advises them, and manages the friendly service of the establishment. Most notably, she takes the lead when it comes to desserts; her natural habitat, given her background in pastry, a passion passed down from her grandmother.

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In the kitchen, we find Chef Edoardo Bellucci alongside his deputy Francesco Luciani, who bring a fine gastronomic offering to the table, drawing from the culinary traditions of the diverse roots of the team, ranging from Tuscany to Abruzzo, from Sicily to Marche.

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"For us, the key to Controluce’s success is having merged our natural aptitudes: Laura’s creativity and affability in the kitchen and dining room, and Simona’s pragmatism, overseeing the managerial side behind the scenes. Because a restaurant is not just a place where food is cooked, but a complex system that needs various skills, seasoned with passion and a shared vision," say the two partners.

The Dishes


The menu consists of a varied selection of dishes and a separate section dedicated to the “Specials” of the day, featuring preparations such as Pallotte “Cacio e Ova” in tomato sauce or Spaghetti with raw shrimp tartare, burrata, and fried artichokes. We start with an excellent Baccalà mantecato (whipped salt cod) with Jerusalem artichoke chips and purple potatoes, where mint plays a crucial role in providing a good amount of freshness.


Next, we draw from a now-obsolete traditional Roman recipe, Nervetti salad, served here with shredded celery, crispy fregola, and red onion chutney. This "modernized" version features the chewiness of the nervetti complemented by the sweet chutney and the crunchiness of the typical Sardinian pasta.

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As a first course, the Pappardelle with lamb ragù, enriched with savory zabaglione and parsley bread, is highly convincing. The creaminess of the zabaglione – made with egg yolk, butter, and dry wine – perfectly blends with the pasta, which is suitably thick to easily capture the ragù.

controluce spaghettoro con cozze e broccoletti

The chef then impresses with the Braised Beef Shoulder, served with its jus and a delightful stuffed curly cabbage. The tenderness of the meat provides delicious bites of flavor.

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The meal ends beautifully with desserts, a must at this restaurant thanks to Laura. Among original sweets like the Caffè Leccese or the “Not Your Classic Tiramisù,” she offers us a Warm Apple and Banana Cake with Calvados zabaglione and crunchy hazelnuts. The flavors and textures confirm the expertise of the owner, who knows she has a trump card and uses it well.

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via della Luce 44- Trastevere, Rome

P. +39.065814839


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