If you want to taste something more Roman than the Capitoline wolf in the district of Trastevere, but you're afraid that the fame of this bohemian and charming neighbourhood has gone to its head, take note of some gastronomic suggestions to make your foodie visit to this district a success.
But if you'll allow me to give you some basic advice, applicable to almost all my culinary suggestions: book a table! This golden rule should be taken into account by all travellers who want to fill their stomachs in Trastevere, the most authentic neighbourhood in the Italian capital. He who warns is not a traitor.
1. Feel like a real Italian at Trattoria Da Augusto
If you are one of those who enjoy the neighbourhood restaurants, the typical Paco bar or the food houses where they serve homemade dishes, you will love this Roman trattoria. Located in the heart of Trastevere, Trattoria Da Augusto will take you back in time through your senses. Technology hasn't arrived here, but they don't need to because the dishes are quite good.
It is a small restaurant that is usually crowded with Italians and serves homemade food at a very affordable price. You will feel like the protagonist of the series "Cuéntame", Antonio Alcantará, but in an Italian version. Before travelling to Rome, you should know that "trattorias" are family-run establishments that serve the menu of the day at a very affordable price.
Be aware that credit cards are not accepted in this restaurant, so bring cash if you don't want to be left scrubbing the dishes. As for the atmosphere, you'll often share a table with other diners, and you'll probably be amazed because they'll give you the bill directly on the paper tablecloth. That's what you get for your money!
Practical information about Trattoria Da Augusto
- Where: Piazza de' Renzi, Nº15.
- Average price: between 8 and 10€ approximately per dish.
- Opening times: from 12.30pm to 3pm for lunch and from 8pm to 11pm for dinner.
- Chef's tip: This restaurant's meat is one of the house specialities and has a great reputation.
- Recommended if... you want a cheap restaurant and don't have great pretensions.
2. The best pizza in Trastévere, at Pizzeria Ivo
Did you know that pizza was brought to Rome after World War II by immigrants from the south of the country? So if you thought, like me, that Romans were born with a pizza under their arm, you are very confused. However, in less than a century it has already become the star dish. Although it's difficult to choose the best pizza in Rome, in my case, I'd go for the one at Pizzeria Ivo. It's finger-licking good!
The bakery converted into a pizzeria
This place has been delighting the inhabitants of Rome and tourists alike for more than 60 years. In fact, it was in the early 1960s that founder Ivo Stefanelli set up his own business in Trastevere, first with desserts and then with pizzas, and thanks to word of mouth it became the trendiest place in the area.
High quality pizzas at good prices
Today, his son Ivano has taken the reins of the pizzeria and has started to improve the selection of raw materials: introducing Danish meats, cheeses and cured meats from leading brands, organic labels and craft beers. The good thing? The average price of €20 has not changed. Good, nice and cheap.
Practical information about Pizzeria Ivo
- Where: Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, No. 158.
- Average price: €10 a pizza.
- Opening hours: Serves mainly dinner, from 6pm to 0.30am, except on Sundays when it is also open from 12pm to 3pm.
- Chef's tip: Try the fiori di zucca (courgette flowers stuffed with cheese and anchovy paste) and the tiramisu.
- Recommended if... you want to eat the best pizza and you're not in a hurry (sometimes the waiters are a bit slow).
3. The best pasta, at the best price at Da Enzo al 29
Despite the long queues that form (logical and normal, on the other hand) it's worth waiting to get into the Da Enzo al 29 restaurant and try one of the best pastas in Trastevere. I can only say that the carbonara dish was spectacular, so much so that I repeated the following days. It would be a sin to come to Rome and not dine here - beware that they don't take reservations!
But who is the owner? You'll have to look for him, as if he were Wally, on one of the walls of the dining room, where you'll find a picture of him hanging in the trattoria. He passed away at the end of the 80s, but Enzo's presence is still very much felt: he is in the memory of the customers who frequented the restaurant when he himself ran it.
Practical information about the trattoria Da Enzo al 29
- Where: Via dei Vascellari, No. 29.
- Average price: 13 € for a pasta dish.
- Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 12.15pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm.
- Chef's tip: Try any of their pastas - they're all delicious!
- Recommended if... you want an authentic Roman meal in a place that preserves the essence of Rome.
4. The best spaghetti at Tonnarello Restaurant
Are you one of those people who take advice or one of those who go to restaurants in a crazy way? In my case, I'm of the first group, I don't make up my mind until I read a thousand positive reviews. A good example of this was my visit to the Tonnarello restaurant, which had more than 35,000 reviews, most of which were outstanding. I thought: everyone can't be wrong, can they? So I took the plunge and my experience was brutal.
A fantastic terrace ideal for the summer in Rome, a charming place and the hallmark of the house: delicious tonnarelli (a kind of spaghetti), handmade like the Italian nonas. Carnivores, meanwhile, can get their fill of lamb, oxtail and meatballs. Every ingredient here is carefully selected, as is the presentation.
Practical information about Tonnarello Restaurant
- Where: Via della Paglia, 1-2-3
- Average price: €9 for a pasta dish and from €14 for mains.
- Opening hours: 10:00 to 23:00 h.
- Chef's tip: the tonarello Cacio e Pepe, rated the best in Rome.
- Recommended if... you want to go to a charming restaurant and eat well for sure.
5. The best pasta with seafood at a good price at Osteria Der Belli
If you want to treat yourself and feel like a Roman at a good price, I suggest you go to Osteria Der Belli, a Sardinian restaurant that specialises in simple seafood dishes such as octopus with jacket potatoes, sea bass carpaccio and grilled squid, all at a great price!
It's a very family restaurant where everyone is involved: the owner's sisters prepare their delicious fresh pasta with seafood every day. They also have tasty options for vegetarians, such as pasta with mushroom sauce or ravioli with spinach and ricotta cheese. In summer, it's best to try their menu on their lively outdoor terrace.
Practical information about Osteria Der Belli Restaurant
- Where: Piazza di Sant'Apollonia, 11.
- Average price: between €10 and €16 per dish.
- Opening hours: 12.30pm to 3pm for lunch and 7pm to 11.30pm for dinner.
- Chef's tip: the mussels, the bruschetta al pomodoro and the pasta with spigola (sea bass).
- Recommended if... you want to savour seafood in all its forms at a good price.
6. Enjoy the most original pizza at Tu pizza Illuminati
If you're tired of the typical thin-crust Italian pizza (although it's impossible to get bored) and want to try something different, I advise you to book a table at Tu pizza Illuminati, a minimalist-style place that moves away from the clichés and folklore of traditional pizzerias.
Here the pizzas are a cross between a calzone and a crepe with thick but very juicy edges that will delight you. One of the characteristics of the restaurant is that the menu varies according to the season and they also have wonderful sweet pizzas (worth a visit) and fried pizzas, which are sublime. The prices are a little higher than other places, but not exaggerated and in keeping with the menu.
Practical information about Tu pizza Illuminati
- Where: Via Angelo Bargoni, 10-18.
- Average price: between €10 and €15 per pizza.
- Opening hours: from 7pm to midnight every night (Monday off).
- Chef's tip: The classic pizzas are infallible, such as the margherita, marinara and cosaco, among others.
- Recommended if... you want to try a minimalist pizza and its sweeter version.
7. The best aperitif at the Cantina dei Papi ham shop
To get the full experience in Rome, you must try the typical aperitivo of Rome, which has become a ritual. It's a kind of fun after-work party that usually takes place every day around 6pm and is as traditional as the vermouth on Sundays in Spain.
In this case, you pay a fixed price for the drink and it includes a very sophisticated aperitif. Do you want a break from pasta and try this delight? I recommend you visit the Cantina dei Papi ham shop, which stands out for its tables with an exquisite selection of local cured meats and cheeses.
You can enjoy them accompanied by a good wine in a cosy and intimate atmosphere. If you want to drink water, they serve it free of charge in a jug, which is much appreciated.
Order a mixed platter
My suggestion is to order a "tabla mixta" (mixed board) where you will be served ham, bacon, wild boar sausage, pork loin, lard and other Italian gourmet products on rustic wood. You can also sample various cheese specialities, such as those flavoured with truffles and pistachio and walnut cheeses. There are also bruschettas (a kind of Italian toast) with various sauces and pâtés such as olives, artichokes, truffles... They are to die for!
Practical information about Prosciutteria Cantina dei Papi
- Where: Via della Scala, No. 71.
- Average price: 5€ -10€.
- Opening hours: Every day from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm.
- Chef's tip: Try the boards and sandwiches, based on high quality artisan hams and cheeses.
- Recommended if... you want a snack-dinner in an informal and youthful atmosphere with friendly and helpful staff.
8. The best and healthiest ice cream you can eat at Fiordiluna
Why did Audrey Hepburn fall in love with Rome - the scenery, the pizzas, the Italians? We don't know, but what is clear is that one of the reasons was the exquisite handmade ice cream, considered the best in the world. In particular, I prefer Fiordiluna 's because of the way they pamper the product: they only use fresh fruit!
For more than 25 years this place has been preparing ice creams with top quality ingredients that they buy from small producers: from hazelnuts to cocoa. And you can tell when you taste them. If you're on a diet, don't worry, because they have also developed ice creams with no added sugars, with an incredible flavour and creaminess. It's not too late to try them!
Discover the neighbourhoods of Rome through their ice creams
If you have a sweet tooth and you're curious about where to find the most spectacular ice creams in the Eternal City, here's a guide to the best ice creams in Rome. You'll become an expert!
Practical information about Fiordiluna
- Where: Via della Lungaretta, 96.
- Chef's tip: the pistachio gelato is delicious.
- Recommended if... you want to try the most authentic gelato in Trastevere.
9. Taste the best street food at Trapizzino Trilussa
The more modern and street food lovers can enjoy good street food at Trapizzino Trilussa, which has created a kind of tapas, somewhere between a sandwich and a pizza, which you can order to take away and eat in the square.
Specifically, it is a triangular-shaped slice of pizza, rolled up and open in the middle, filled with typical and delicious dishes of Roman gastronomy. Today, the idea has become so popular that it has already opened several franchises in Italy and even in... New York!
Traditional recipes wrapped in pizza
Founder Stefano Calligari has a notebook in which he writes down his mother's and aunts' traditional recipes, such as cuttlefish with peas, chicken with peppers, etc., which he then introduces into his closed pizzas. The chef has given the matter a twist with this fun way of tasting them: no messy cutlery and the possibility of enjoying the trapizzinos in the street, in any corner of Italy.
Practical information about Trapizzino Trilussa
- Where: Piazza Trilussa, 46.
- Average price: €4 per trapizzino.
- Opening hours: Every day from 12 noon to 1 am. Fridays and Saturdays until 2am.
- Chef's suggestions: polpetta al sugo, zighini, pollo alla cacciatora**...**
- Recommended if... you want to try signature food at a good price and you don't want to waste too much time on it.
10. Try the best slushie at Sora Mirella overlooking the river
In summer the best way to combat the high temperatures in Rome is to have a good grattachecca (a Roman invention similar to slushies to cool down). I suggest you go to Sora Mirella, a charming little open-air kiosk by the Tiber River and order one of these smoothies - the views are spectacular!
It's also one of the few places where grattachecca is prepared in the traditional way: that is, by scraping a block of ice with a tool, rather than a modern machine. On top of your grattachecca you'll get delicious fresh fruit and you can even order it with alcohol. Watching the sunset with this drink sounds good, doesn't it?
Practical information about Sora Mirella
- Where: Lungotevere Degli Anguillara.
- Average price: very cheap.
- Opening hours: every day from 9:00 am to 1:30 am.
- Recommended if... you want to enjoy a delicious dessert in the open air with a good view of the river and the bridge.
How much money do I need to eat in Trastevere?
Probably one of our biggest worries when we go on a trip is calculating how much money we need. However, in this neighbourhood of Rome, as you have seen, there are options for all budgets and some that will barely break the bank.
A good example of this are the tapas you can order to go at the restaurant Trapizzino Trilussa, each of them for about €4. If you want to eat cheaply but sit down, I also recommend you try the family-run trattorias that offer the dish of the day at a good price.
On the other hand, if you're looking for something more sophisticated and modern, this suburb is at the forefront of the sector, so you'll find plenty of options to please your palate without going broke trying.
How tipping works in Rome's restaurants
The million dollar question: do you have to tip? You can breathe easy... In Italy, tipping is not compulsory and it is not very common. You don't have to leave a percentage of the bill like in other European countries.
You can, however, leave some money voluntarily as a token of your appreciation if you liked the service and the food, which you will probably love! In restaurants you usually pay for the service, a fixed amount per person which can vary from 1 to 4€ depending on the restaurant. And now, bon appetit!