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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Ristorante Nino

    $$$ | Piazza di Spagna | Italian

    Almost more of a landmark than an eatery, Nino has been a favorite among international journalists and the rich and famous since the 1960s and...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Al Ceppo

    $$$ | Villa Borghese | Italian

    The well-heeled, the business-minded, and those of refined palates frequent this outpost of tranquility. The owners hail from Le Marche, the...Read More

  • 7. Al Pompiere

    $$$ | Jewish Ghetto | Italian

    The nondescript entrance on a narrow side street leads upstairs to the main dining room of this neighborhood favorite, where those in the know...Read More

  • 8. Caffè Romano dell'Hotel d'Inghilterra

    $$$ | Piazza di Spagna | Eclectic

    With orario continuato, or nonstop operating hours (noon till late at night), this sleek spot in the Hotel d'Inghilterra caters to jet-setters...Read More

  • 9. Duke's Fine Casual Bar and Restaurant

    $$$ | Parioli | American

    It dubs itself an American West Coast–style restaurant, and the decor is very Malibu beach house, with a gorgeous patio out back. But the menu...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. L'Archeologia

    $$$ | Via Appia Antica | Italian

    In this farmhouse just beyond the catacombs, founded around 1890, you can dine indoors beside the fireplace in cool weather or in the garden...Read More

  • 12. Pierluigi

    $$$ | Campo de' Fiori | Italian

    This popular seafood restaurant is a fun spot on balmy summer evenings with tables out on the pretty Piazza de'Ricci. As at most Italian restaurants...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Queen Makeda Grand Pub

    $$$ | Aventino | International

    This gastropub has an international menu that ranges from Asian fusion appetizers to open-faced sandwiches on dark rye bread. With a rotating...Read More

  • 15. Sora Lella

    $$$ | Jewish Ghetto | Italian

    The draw here—in addition to the wonderful food—is the fact that this is the only restaurant on Isola Tiberina, the wondrously picturesque island...Read More

  • 16. Tullio

    $$$ | Quirinale | Italian

    Just off Piazza Barberini, this upscale trattoria has been serving Tuscan classics since 1950. They specialize in high-quality meat dishes including...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 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

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