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Food in Rome?

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So, what I've gathered online is that Rome restaurants tend to be on the smaller side, have definite meal times, and don't generally do more than one seating per night. Dining is a bit later than I would normally do in the winter- earliest is 7, but it seems more typical would be 8ish. Anything to add? Anything that I've misunderstood?

My question is: how much do I need to plan out? Do I definitely need reservations? So much of my time in Rome is dependent on the weather, so I'm not actually sure where I'll be at lunch time each day. And I'm not seeing many places that have open table or something similar, so that leaves risking walking in or trying to make a reservation over the phone. Usually when I travel I wing it and eat at off times but that seems possible in Italy.

I am in Rome December 27- Jan 1. I really enjoy fresh, delicious food. I'm a fairly adventurous eater and a little intimidated by the possibility I may not be able to read the menu. How do you all deal with it? Carry a translation dictionary? Research online before hand? Order the special?

I am staying at a hostel near Trastevere so would love any recs for dinner in that area!

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