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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Ristorante All'Oro

    $$$$ | Flaminio

    At this sleek Michelin-starred restaurant inside the Hall Tailor Suite hotel, chef/owner Riccardo Di Giacinto and his wife Ramona make fine dining a fun and...Read More

  • 7. Aroma

    $$$$ | Esquilino

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

  • 8. L'Angolo Divino

    $ | Campo de' Fiori

    There's something about this cozy wine bar that feels as if it's in a small university town instead of a bustling metropolis. The walls are...Read More

  • 9. L'Archeologia

    $$ | Via Appia Antica

    In this farmhouse just beyond the catacombs, founded around 1804, you can dine indoors beside the fireplace in cool weather or in the garden under...Read More

  • 10. Marco Martini

    $$$$ | Aventino

    With innovative Italian-inspired cuisine and one Michelin star, this intimate restaurant has a lovely terrace bar as well as a romantic plant-draped dining room. Twirl...Read More

  • 11. Mirabelle

    $$$$ | Piazza di Spagna

    Old-world elegance is the name of the game here—think white-jacketed waiters who attend to your every need, classic decor, and impeccable dishes, which are the...Read More

  • 12. Piperno Ristorante

    $$ | Jewish Ghetto

    The place to go for Rome's extraordinary carciofi alla...Read More

  • 13. Properzio Osteria di Mare

    $$ | Prati

    A bit of a local secret, this new osteria has a romantic atmosphere that's perfect for a date night, with stone walls, a wooden ceiling,...Read More

  • 14. Ristorante Sinatra

    $$ | Prati

    Named in homage to the Italian-American crooner, this intimate restaurant has a refined yet casual atmosphere, with wine bottles lining the walls, black-and-white photographs of...Read More

  • 15. Vecchia Roma

    $$ | Jewish Ghetto

    Though the frescoed dining rooms are lovely, when the weather is good the choice place to dine is outside on the piazza, under the big...Read More

  • 16. San Teodoro

    $$$ | Jewish Ghetto

    The allure here is two-fold: a magnificent setting---a pair of enclosed piazze with ivy-covered walls, nestled by the Roman Forum and Campidoglio---and excellent renditions of...Read More

  • 17. Settembrini

    $$ | Prati

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

  • 18. Uno e Bino

    $$$ | San Lorenzo | Italian

    The setting is simple–-wooden tables and chairs on a stone floor with little more than a few shelves of wine bottles lining the walls–-but this...Read More

  • 19. Giuda Ballerino!

    $$$$ | Quirinale

    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...Read More

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