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. Etablì

    $ | Piazza Navona | Mediterranean

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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Africa

    $$ | Esquilino | Ethiopian

    For something very different from pizza and pasta, try this excellent Ethiopian restaurant where traditional food is served in a casual environment...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. L'Angolo Divino

    $$ | Campo de' Fiori | Wine Bar

    There's something about this cozy wine bar that feels as if it's in a small university town instead of a bustling metropolis. Serene blue-green...Read More

  • 9. Piperno

    $$ | Jewish Ghetto | Italian

    The place to go for Rome's extraordinary carciofi alla giudia, Piperno has been in business since 1860. The location, up a tiny hill in a piazza...Read More

  • 10. Taverna Angelica

    $$ | Borgo | Italian

    The Borgo area near St. Peter's Basilica hasn't been known for culinary excellence, but this is starting to change, and Taverna Angelica was...Read More

  • 11. The Corner Marco Martini

    $$$$ | Aventino | Italian

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

  • 12. San Teodoro

    $$$ | Jewish Ghetto | Seafood

    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...Read More

  • 13. 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

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