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. Antico Arco

    $$$ | Trastevere | Italian

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

  • 2. Del Frate

    $$ | Prati | Italian

    This impressive wine bar matches sleek, modern decor with creative cuisine and three dozen wines available by the glass. The house specialty...Read More

  • 3. Glass Hostaria

    $$$ | Trastevere | Italian

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

  • 4. Il Convivio

    $$$$ | Piazza Navona | Italian

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

  • 5. Il Pagliaccio

    $$$$ | Piazza Navona | Italian

    Some of the most innovative interpretations of Roman fine dining can be found in this starkly chic restaurant on a backstreet between upscale...Read More

  • 6. Il Sorpasso

    $$ | Prati | Italian

    The focus at this happening spot, open from early morning until late in the evening, is on using excellently sourced products to make simple...Read More

  • 7. La Pergola

    $$$$ | Monte Mario | Italian

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

  • 8. Moma

    $$$ | Piazza di Spagna | Italian

    Across the street from Hotel Aleph, a favorite of the design trendoisie , modern, Michelin-starred Moma attracts well-heeled businessmen at...Read More

  • 9. Osteria dell'Ingegno

    $$ | Piazza Navona | Italian

    This casual, trendy place is a great spot to enjoy a glass of wine or a gourmet meal in an ancient piazza in the city center, but the modern...Read More

  • 10. Pianostrada

    $$ | Trastevere | Italian

    This gourmet restaurant has an open kitchen, where you can watch the talented women owners cook up a storm of inventive delights—this is a ...Read More

  • 11. Pigneto Quarantuno

    $$ | Pigneto | Italian

    Reservations are always a good idea at this popular spot for top-quality Roman food (especially if you'd like to sit outside). The constantly...Read More

  • 12. Settembrini

    $$ | Prati | Italian

    The modern, intimate dining room here hints at what to expect from the kitchen and staff: elegant and restrained cooking, friendly yet unobtrusive...Read More

  • 13. Stazione di Posta

    $$ | Testaccio | Italian

    On the site of what was Rome's largest slaughterhouse in the 1800s, Stazione di Posta manages to be über-modern (pushing tradition with twists...Read More

  • 14. Urbana 47

    $$ | Monti | Italian

    This restaurant serving breakfast through dinner embodies the kilometro zero concept, highlighting hyper-local food from the surrounding Lazio...Read More

  • 15. VyTA Enoteca Regionale del Lazio

    $$ | Piazza di Spagna | Italian

    This sleek wine bar and restaurant is just a short walk from the Spanish Steps and its modern design looks the part among the fashion-forward...Read More

  • 16. Aroma

    $$$$ | Esquilino | Italian

    The panoramas from this Michelin-starred restaurant atop the Palazzo Manfredi Hotel are undeniably stunning; it's the best unobstructed view...Read More

  • 17. Baccano

    $$ | Quirinale | Italian

    There are plenty of options for good food at reasonable prices around the Trevi Fountain, but this large brasserie is a good bet, and is open...Read More

  • 18. Giuda Ballerino!

    $$$$ | Quirinale | Italian

    Chef Andrea Fusco has a Michelin star to his name, and his menu here is inventive and delicious. Add to that some of the most stunning views...Read More

  • 19. Il Simposio di Costantini

    $$$ | Prati | Italian

    At the most upscale wine bar in town, you come for the wine but return for the food. Everything here is appropriately raffinato (refined)...Read More

  • 20. Imàgo

    $$$$ | Piazza di Spagna | Italian

    Excellence is at the forefront of everything at Imàgo, the Michelin-starred restaurant inside the legendary Hotel Hassler, and it's all a memorable...Read More

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