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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 6. Acquolina

    $$$ | Piazza del Popolo | Seafood

    This Michelin-starred restaurant turns out delicious and high-quality seafood dishes reflecting, for the most part, the time-honored Italian...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Baylon Cafe

    $ | Trastevere | Café

    With eclectic vintage decor, colorful mismatched tables and chairs, and free Wi-Fi, this low-key neighborhood hot spot lures lots of expats...Read More

  • 10. Checchino dal 1887

    $$ | Testaccio | Italian

    Literally carved into the side of a hill made up of ancient shards of amphorae, Checchino is an example of a classic, upscale, family-run Roman...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. La Ciambella

    $$ | Piazza Navona | Italian

    The sprawling space is styled after American restaurants, with a lively bar in front, but the structure itself is all Roman, with brick archways...Read More

  • 14. 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

  • 15. La Rosetta

    $$$$ | Piazza Navona | Seafood

    Chef-owner Massimo Riccioli may have taken the nets and fishing gear off the walls of the trattoria he inherited from his parents, but this...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. 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

  • 18. Pipero al Rex

    $$$ | Repubblica | Italian

    In the lobby of Hotel Rex, not far from Termini station, this Michelin-starred restaurant is a winning collaboration between well-known Roman...Read More

  • 19. Take Sushi

    $$ | Trastevere | Japanese

    An increasingly familiar sight on the streets of Rome are all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurants, popular for their inexpensive prices–-but Take...Read More

  • 20. Trattoria da Cesare

    $$ | Italian

    This beloved neighborhood trattoria does many things well, from the fried starters to the pastas to the meaty secondi, so it's no surprise that...Read More

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