Only two good things happened in 2016: the Cubs won the World Series, a victory which my Chicagoan dad has been waiting for for the last 85 years; and the international Rome dining scene finally started opening its doors to quality.
The majority of the restaurants in Rome serve local cuisine. Many are below average, some are OK, a few are stellar. For a bit. Then, after the nth plate of cacio e pepe my palate starts begging for variety. That's when I shrug in the face of guanciale, and turn all my attention to papadums.
But while in Milan the situation is improving, Rome residents (mostly US expats) sadly grieve the near absence of quality ethnic cuisine. Accustomed to 24-hour available world meals in hometowns New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, stranieri in Rome had it pretty bad. Always the optimists, they wandered the city in search of a decent surrogate.
Recently, there's been a growth spurt in quality international cuisine. Finally something to celebrate! When I want to digress from amatriciana, here are some of the places I head for.