Rome Restaurants

In Rome, the Eternal(ly culinarily conservative) City, simple yet traditional cuisine reigns supreme. Most chefs prefer to follow the mantra of freshness over fuss, and simplicity of flavor and preparation over complex cooking techniques.

Rome has been known since antiquity for its grand feasts and banquets, and dining out has alway been a favorite Roman pastime. Until recently, the city's buongustaii (gourmands) would have been the first to tell you that Rome is distinguished more by its enthusiasm for eating out than for a multitude of world-class restaurants—but this is changing. There is an ever-growing promotion of slow-food practices, a focus on sustainably and locally sourced produce. The economic crisis has forced the food industry in Rome to adopt innovative ways to maintain a clientele who are increasingly looking to dine out but want to spend less. The result has been the rise of "street food" restaurants, selling everything from inexpensive and novel takes on the classic supplì (Roman fried-rice balls) to sandwich shops that use a variety of organic ingredients.

Generally speaking, Romans like Roman food, and that’s what you’ll find in many of the city’s trattorias and wine bars. For the most part, today’s chefs cling to the traditional and excel at what has taken hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years to perfect. This is why the basic trattoria menu is more or less the same wherever you go. And it's why even the top Roman chefs feature their versions of simple trattoria classics like carbonara, and why those who attempt to offer it in a "deconstructed" or slightly varied way will often come under criticism. To a great extent, Rome is still a town where the Italian equivalent of "What are you in the mood for?" still gets the answer, "Pizza or pasta."

Nevertheless, Rome is the capital of Italy, and because people move here from every corner of the Italian peninsula, there are more variations on the Italian theme in Rome than you'd find elsewhere in Italy: Sicilian, Tuscan, Pugliese, Bolognese, Marchegiano, Sardinian, and northern Italian regional cuisines are all represented. And reflecting the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of the city, you'll find a growing number of good-quality international foods here as well—particularly Japanese, Indian, and Ethiopian.

Oddly enough, though, for a nation that prides itself on la bella figura ("looking good"), most Romans don't fuss about music, personal space, lighting, or decor. After all, who needs flashy interior design when so much of Roman life takes place outdoors, when dining alfresco in Rome can take place in the middle of a glorious ancient site or a centuries-old piazza?

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  • 1. Antico Arco

    $$$ | Trastevere

    Founded by three friends with a passion for wine and fine food, Antico Arco attracts foodies from Rome and beyond with its refined culinary inventiveness....Read More

  • 2. Armando al Pantheon

    $$ | Piazza Navona

    In the shadow of the Pantheon, this small family-run trattoria, open since 1961, delights tourists and locals alike. There's an air of authenticity to the...Read More

  • 3. Ba'Ghetto

    $$ | Jewish Ghetto

    This hot spot on the main promenade in the Jewish Ghetto has been going strong for years, with pleasant indoor and outdoor seating. The kitchen...Read More

  • 4. Chorus Café

    $$ | Borgo

    Tucked away above the Auditorium della Conciliazione, this glamorous restaurant/lounge with sky-high ceilings, marble walls, and plush seating feels like something out of Paolo Sorrentino's...Read More

  • 5. Cul de Sac

    $ | Piazza Navona

    This popular wine bar near Piazza Navona is among the city's oldest and offers a book-length selection of wines from Italy, France, the Americas, and...Read More

  • 6. Da Enzo

    $ | Trastevere

    In the quieter part of Trastevere, the family-run Da Enzo is everything you would imagine a classic Roman trattoria to be. There are just a...Read More

  • 7. Emma

    $$$ | Campo de' Fiori

    With dough by Rome's renowned family of bakers, the Rosciolis, this large, sleek, modern pizzeria is smack in the middle of the city, with the...Read More

  • 8. Enoteca La Torre

    $$$$ | Prati

    In the Villa Laetitia, a boutique hotel owned by the Fendi family, this gorgeous restaurant has soaring ceilings, a crystal chandelier, and art nouveau motifs....Read More

  • 9. Etablì

    $ | Piazza Navona

    On a narrow vicolo (alley) off lovely cobblestone Piazza del Fico, this multifunctional restaurant and lounge space is decorated according to what could be called...Read More

  • 10. Fatamorgana

    $ | Monti

    A short walk from the Roman Forum, this small Roman chain serves excellent gelato, including familiar favorites and adventurous flavors such as Gorgonzola, olive, and...Read More

  • 11. Fatamorgana

    $ | Monti

    The emphasis is on all-natural ingredients at this woman-owned gelateria, which has several locations in Rome. Flavors change often, but might include favorites like stracciatella...Read More

  • 12. Flavio al Velavevodetto

    $$ | Testaccio

    It's everything you're looking for in a true Roman eating experience: authentic, in a historic setting, and filled with Italians eating good food at good...Read More

  • 13. Gelateria Del Teatro

    $ | Piazza Navona

    In a window next to the entrance of this renowned gelateria, you can see the fresh fruit being used in the laboratory to create the...Read More

  • 14. Giolitti

    $ | Piazza Navona

    Open since 1900, Giolitti near the Pantheon is Rome's old-school gelateria par excellence. Pay in advance at the register by the door and take your...Read More

  • 15. Glass Hostaria

    $$$$ | Trastevere

    After 14 years in Austin, Texas, chef Cristina Bowerman returned to Rome to reconnect with her Italian roots, and her cooking is as innovative as...Read More

  • 16. Il Convivio Troiani

    $$$$ | Piazza Navona

    In a tiny, nondescript alley north of Piazza Navona, the three Troiani brothers—Angelo in the kitchen, and brothers Giuseppe and Massimo presiding over the dining...Read More

  • 17. Il Marchese

    $$ | Piazza di Spagna

    This rustic-meets-glamorous bistro attracts locals for its flawless execution of Roman classics (many served photogenically in metal cooking pans) as well as original dishes. Its...Read More

  • 18. La Pergola

    $$$$ | Monte Mario

    Dinner here is a truly spectacular and romantic event, with incomparable views across the city matched by a stellar dining experience that includes top-notch service...Read More

  • 19. Moma

    $$$ | Piazza di Spagna

    In front of the American embassy, a favorite of the design trendoisie, modern, Michelin-starred Moma attracts well-heeled businessmen at lunch but turns into a more...Read More

  • 20. Mordi e Vai

    $ | Testaccio

    Sergio Esposito's stand at what will forever be called the "New" Testaccio Market (it moved in 2012) sells the best sandwiches in town. Meatballs, tongue,...Read More

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