Give the “fifth quarter” a chance! Here are top food stands, restaurants, and eateries in Rome and Florence to enjoy tripe. Lampredotto, trippa…tripe! Some of you might think you’re not a fan of this particular cut of beef, but give it a try and you might just be surprised with tripe Italian style. Not only that, but it is a serious contender for some of the best cheap eats in Italy. Here are some recommendations for the best places to eat tripe in Rome and Florence—two cities where this meat is famous and absolutely appreciated. When you think of Italian food, what comes to mind? Probably plates of hearty Roman pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and thick grilled Tuscan steaks. What you may not know is that Italians have always been “nose to tail” eaters—offal is a regular part of the Italian diet and restaurant menu, and one of the most popular ingredients is tripe. Lampredotto. Photo by Nicolas Mirguet You can find tripe dishes all over the country, from the far north in Trentino where they use the centuries-old recipe from famous cookbook author Pellegrino Artusi with deep-fried tripe meatballs filled with cheese and prosciutto, to the far south in Puglia, where long strips of veal tripe are slowly cooked with lemons, tomatoes, and potatoes. In Rome and Florence, you will find two of the best known tripe dishes. Romans love trippa all romana, a slowly stewed dish, and Florentines make a delicious street food version called lampredotto. Here is where to get the best tripe in Rome and Florence. Trust us—it’s delicious! The best trippa alla romana in Rome "Sabato Trippa" In Rome, tripe was traditionally eaten on Saturdays, but these days you can find it every day on a traditional trattoria menu. The dish is made with thin, precooked strips of tripe slowly cooked with tomatoes, onions, and mint and then topped with a generous dusting of sharp and salty Pecorino Romano. The neighborhood most closely associated to the quinto quarto, or “fifth quarter” as offal is often called, is Testaccio on the edge of the historic center. Testaccio was once home to the city’s slaughterhouses and butchers. Now this part of town is the go-to destination for food lovers in search of a lively food market and traditional restaurant scene. Testaccio Market. Photo by Eric Parker Romans even have a proverb relating to tripe: Non c’è trippa per gatti, “There’s no tripe for the cats,” which translates to mean your request is outlandish or impossible. Mercato Testaccio This covered market fills an entire city block and has vendors selling produce, fresh pasta, bread, and meat—including tripe. For three generations, the family at stand 38 has been a trusted butcher for Roman households. Today, you will find Cesare and Delia dispensing advice on the best cut of meat for your risotto broth and the meticulously cleaned and pre-cooked honeycombed slices of tripe necessary for a velvety dish of trippa alle Romana. Mercato Testaccio Entrances on via Beniamino Franklin, via Alessandro Volta, via Aldo Manuzio, via Lorenzo Ghiberti Mondays-Saturday 07:00-15:30 Morde e Vai If you would rather have someone else do the cooking, inside the market is a sandwich stand that fills a a crusty roll with a generous portion of savory trippa alla Romana that can be eaten as you shop or on one of the nearby benches with a cold beer. Morde e Vai Box 15 Mercato Testaccio (Second location on via Appia Nuovo 221) Trappizzino A trappizzino is a modern Roman hybrid panino. It that takes the shape of the traditional triangle shape of the tramezzino sandwich and swaps out the soft white bread for slices of chewy pizza Bianca. The “cone” is filled with traditional Roman stews like coda all vaccinara (oxtail stew) and delicious trippa alla romana. Trappizzino via Giovanni Branca, 88 Tuesdays-Sundays 12:00-01:00 (Second location at the newly opened Mercato Centrale in Termini Train Station on via Giolitti 36) Flavio al Velavevodetto This large restaurant built into the archeological site that gives the neighborhood its name is always busy serving some of Rome’s most iconic dishes. The main dining room has glass walls that show the layers of broken testae, Ancient Roman clay vessels that held oil. The wine selection here is excellent and interactive. You can select your bottle yourself from a large selection on shelves that line one side of the restaurant. Trippa alla romana is a very savory dish with a strong flavor; it would pair best with a red wine, especially from the same region like a Lazio IGT. Make sure you save room for dessert—their tiramisu in one of Rome’s best. Flavio al Velavevodetto Via M.Te Testaccio 97 Open for Lunch and Dinner everyday Armando al Pantheon Next to the Pantheon is one of Rome’e most elegant dining rooms. Armando al Pantheon serves rustic Roman dishes to elegantly suited senators whose offices are nearby and to visitors in-the know. Reservations here are essential. Order a plate of tomato-y tripe with a side dish of cicoria, bitter greens tossed with garlic, olive oil, and chili peppers that are popular in Rome. Armando al Pantheon Salita dei Crescenzi 31 Closed Saturday for dinner and all day Sunday The best lampredotto in Florence Tripe in Florence is an entirely different affair than what you find in Rome. The biggest and main distinction is the part of the cow that is used. Lampredotto is the Florentine street food of choice and is made from the fourth stomach, whereas in Rome, the second stomach is used. The name comes from how the cut of beef resembles a tangle of lamprey eels. The meat is slowly simmered in broth and then chopped, salted, and slathered in a bright green salsa verde and a splash of chili sauce before being stuffed into a crusty roll. The best part is then the entire sandwich is dipped into the savory beef broth before it is and wrapped in a thin waxy paper and presented to you. Lampredotto. Photo by miniQQ Florentines were all about the food cart long before it became hip. Lampredottaio serve up a quick and filling lunch for workers and students from kiosks dotted all over the city. Osteria Tripperia il Magazzino This restaurant is located in a pretty piazza on the Oltrarno side of Florence. It serves lampredotto in the most inventive ways. Try ravioli stuffed with slivers of lampredotto and topped with Tropea onion sauce or, for the truly adventurous, lampredotto sushi! For a good wine pairing, you can’t go wrong with a sparkling Toscana IGT Bianco from the Maremma, whose fresh acidity and fine perlage will cut through the fattiness of the tripe. Osteria Tripperia il Magazzino Piazza della Passera 2/3 Open Monday-Sunday 12-3 pm and 7:30-11 pm Lampredotto: Florence's best street food As for the lampredotto stands, the best in the city can be found from the Mercato Centrale all the way to the other side of the river in the Oltrarno neighborhood: Nerbone Stall #292, 1st Floor, Mercato Centrale, entrance on Via dell’Argento Orazio Nencioni Loggia del Porcellino L’Antico Trippai Piazza Cimatori Il Trippaio di San Frediano Piazza dei Nerli - Located across the river on the Oltrarno neighborhood.