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 a
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 antiq
In Rome, the Eternal(ly culinarily conservative) City, simple yet traditional cuisine reigns supreme. Most chefs prefer

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. Emma

    $$ | Campo de' Fiori | Italian

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

  • 2. Fatamorgana

    $ | Café

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

  • 3. Pinsere

    $ | Repubblica | Pizza

    In Rome, you'll usually find either pizza tonda or pizza al taglio, but there's also pizza pinsa : it's an oval-shape individual pie, and...Read More

  • 4. Alberto Pica

    $ | Campo de' Fiori | Café

    Beloved owner Alberto Pica sadly died in 2015, but his name lives on in the gelato shop he ran close to the river. Gelato production is artisanal...Read More

  • 5. Bar del Fico

    $ | Piazza Navona | Italian

    Everyone in Rome knows Bar del Fico, located right behind Piazza Navona, so if you're looking to hang out with the locals, this is the place...Read More

  • 6. Biscottificio Innocenti

    $ | Trastevere | Bakery

    People from all over Rome come to this family-run bakery that's been turning out delicious desserts since 1920. Try the brutti ma buoni (...Read More

  • 7. Come il Latte

    $ | Repubblica | Italian

    Located just a five-minute walk from Piazza della Repubblica, Come il Latte has a serious following for its super-creamy, all-natural gelato...Read More

  • 8. Da Francesco

    $ | Piazza Navona | Italian

    For good, hearty, Roman cuisine in an area filled with mediocre touristy restaurants, head to this authentic trattoria that's been on the scene...Read More

  • 9. Fatamorgana

    $ | Campo de' Fiori | Italian

    There are plenty of ordinary gelaterie around the Campo de' Fiori but it's worth searching out this branch of small Roman chain Fatamorgana...Read More

  • 10. Fiocco di Neve

    $ | Piazza Navona | Café

    The gelato is certainly excellent—the chocolate chip and After Eight (mint chocolate chip) flavors are delicious—but this small spot is also...Read More

  • 11. Gelateria del Teatro

    $ | Piazza Navona | Italian

    Not far from Piazza Navona, this is one of the top gelaterie in the city. They make their creamy, artisan-style gelato from scratch every day...Read More

  • 12. L'Isola della Pizza

    $ | Prati | Pizza

    Right near the Vatican Metro stop, the "Island of Pizza" is also known for its copious antipasti. Ask for the house appetizers, and a waiter...Read More

  • 13. L'Osteria di Monteverde

    $$ | Italian

    Romans are starting to recognize Monteverde as a foodie hub, and this trattoria is one of the neighborhood's outstanding spots. The food ranges...Read More

  • 14. La Campana

    $$ | Piazza Navona | Italian

    Thought to be the oldest restaurant in Rome (a document dates it back to 1518), La Campana remains a favorite of both locals and visitors. It...Read More

  • 15. La Gatta Mangiona

    $$ | Pizza

    The pizza at this neighborhood spot is Roman-style—with a thin crust, charred on the edges. All the standard toppings are available, from margherita...Read More

  • 16. La Montecarlo

    $ | Piazza Navona | Pizza

    The crusts on the pizza at this casual, perennially popular spot just off the Piazza Navona are super-thin and charred around the edges a little...Read More

  • 17. La Torricella

    $$ | Testaccio | Seafood

    This family-run institution has been serving seafood in the working-class Testaccio neighborhood for more than 40 years, and if you visit the...Read More

  • 18. Li Rioni

    $ | Esquilino | Pizza

    This busy pizzeria conveniently close to the Colosseum has been serving real-deal Roman-style pizza—super thin and cooked to a crisp—since the...Read More

  • 19. Osteria der Belli

    $$ | Trastevere | Italian

    One might overlook Osteria der Belli because of its proximity to the central square of Trastevere, Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere—and that...Read More

  • 20. Panella

    $ | Esquilino | Café

    It's on the pricey side, but the baked goods here are top-quality and the coffee drinks are excellent. Come in the morning for a cornetto ...Read More

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