A couple of weeks ago I visited Il Quagliaro (better known as Tiberio er Quajaro ar Quarticciolo), an old haunt in Rome’s eastern periphery. I used to go all the time when I lived in Villa Gordiani, but I hadn’t been back in a while, so I stopped by with my buddy Nick and his RISD students. Back in the day, the ol’ Prenestino-Centocelle ‘hood had few decent eateries (other than the rather delicious Enqutatash) and Quarticciolo was just a short and sweet drive in my then-boyfriend’s Lancia Ypsilon to the planned neighborhood sandwiched between Via Palmiro Togliatti and Tor Tre Teste.

Back then, Er Quajaro was a beyond-basic, no-frills trattoria specializing in tiny thin-crust pizzas and roasted quails, both of which were cooked in the wood-burning oven near the ground-floor entrance. The food was cheap and the wine was barely drinkable. But the birds were satisfying, and above all cheap. You could go all out at Er Quajaro and only spend €10 for dinner and drinks.

A couple of years back, everything changed. The dingy basement dining room has been spruced up. The servers make eye contact when taking your order and they no longer hurl your food at you when they deliver it. The place is up to snuff with Italian food service legislation. The website advertises the use of local (km 0) products. They even provide a fiscal receipt upon payment.

Tiberio er Quajaro might not be the same as it once was, but the neighborhood and clientele have changed little. And it is still a reliable place for quail, which are roasted in the same old oven and still served with oil soaked toast and mushrooms. Check it out the next time you visit Meier’s Jubilee Church. Er Quajaro is open for dinner Monday-Saturday and for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays.