Rome is a city to savour with all five senses, and perhaps, after sight, it is taste that will be the most enjoyable part of your trip to the Eternal City. After delighting yourself with the wonders that rise above its streets, it is time to continue enjoying, tasting each and every one of the flavours of Roman cuisine.
Below, I leave you with my personal selection of restaurants for each area of Rome, which will serve as a reference when planning your meal of the day no matter which visit you have in mind. I hope you come to this post hungry: here are 10 different ways to devour Rome.
1. Ristorante Fiammetta, a classy but unpretentious place in the historic centre
Ristorante Fiammetta is a hidden gem in a street of antique shops, Via dei Coronari, and that must be why this restaurant retains all the flavour and elegance of yesteryear, without the artifice and frills of modern restaurants. Here, it's all real food, good service, reasonable prices and the possibility to eat either on the premises or on the pleasant outdoor terrace.
Here you will find typical Roman dishes, wood-fired pizzas and even a variety of fish, all with an unusual freshness for a restaurant in the centre of Rome. Everything is delicious, so don't be afraid to order whatever you fancy and enjoy a great meal and a rest after a morning of sightseeing.
More info on the restaurant
- Location: Piazza Fiammetta, 10
- Hours: 12:45 to 15:30 and 19:00 to 23:00, closed Monday and Tuesday
- Price: Between 20 and 25 € per person
2. La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, a small family restaurant by the Colosseum
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali is a family-run restaurant serving traditional Roman food. Over time it has become a somewhat touristy place that is often recommended in guidebooks, but it still maintains its quality and that is why I mention it. They have a burrata ravioli that I hope they keep on their menu, because the next time I go to Rome I plan to repeat. Their desserts are also a delight.
For lunch, and especially for dinner, it is almost essential that you book in advance, due to the proximity of the restaurant to the Colosseum. Reservations can only be made by phone.
For further information, please contact
- Location: Via della Madonna Dei Monti, 9
- Hours: 12:30 to 15:00 and 19:30 to 23:30, closed on Tuesdays
- Price: Around €20 per person
3. Pizzeria Ai Marmi, an authentic pizzeria in Trastevere
This pizzeria is more like a kitchen than a restaurant. At Pizzeria Ai Marmi all the tables are next to each other, which means that you will be sharing a table with strangers, and they will literally make the pizza in front of your eyes. And what a pizza. What this restaurant doesn't spend on trying to attract customers, it invests in the care they put into the dough and ingredients for a spectacular product.
If you could eat pizza every night of your life like me, I sincerely believe you must try this place, and almost any Roman who knows it will tell you the same, since as you can see it is frequented by many, many locals.
- Location: Viale di Trastevere, 53-59
- Hours: 18:30 to 2:30, closed Wed.
- Price: Around €15 per person
4. Il Sorpasso, an escape from the tourist traps near the Vatican
This restaurant is a real treat and a good recommendation for an early lunch or dinner after a visit to St. Peter's Basilica. Il Sorpasso serves Roman cuisine with a touch of creativity and careful presentation, and very good value for money.
They have a quality charcuterie (you'll see the hams hanging in the kitchen), rich cheeses and a wide selection of wines, and for mains the best is pasta or meat.
- Location: Via Properzio, 31/33
- Opening hours: From 8:00 to 18:00, Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00
- Price: Between 20 and 25 € per person
5. Mercerie, upscale street food next to Torre Argentina
Mercerie is a restaurant, cocktail bar and fast food place all in one. The fun of this place is that its menu reinterprets classic Italian dishes and transforms them into small baskets full of flavour. You can choose from lasagnas, stuffed cannoli, and desserts that you can order to take away.
Another option is to stay in the restaurant and try the rest of the menu, as the restaurant serves more traditional dishes, such as pastas, tartares and meats. After dinner I recommend you try their amazing cocktails. If you're travelling to Rome with a group of friends, you'll love this place, especially after a tour of the Jewish quarter.
- Location: Via di S. Nicola de' Cesarini, 5
- Opening hours: From 12:00 to 00:00
- Price: Between 15 and 50 € per person
6. Ai Fienaroli, a short walk from the Borghese Gallery
I get the impression that this restaurant is not very well known yet, and it is certainly off the typical tourist itineraries recommended by most guidebooks, but I wouldn't be surprised if this changed overnight as the food at Ai Fienaroli is exquisite.
It's a very simple place but with very good service where you can order delicacies such as their red tuna tartar with crusty bread and fennel cream, sea bass carpaccio with pistachios and black truffle, and my personal recommendation, the artichokes with beans.
- Location: Via Piemonte, 125
- Opening hours: From 12:00 to 14:30 and from 18:00 to 23:00 every day of the week.
- Price: Between 35 and 40 € per person
7. Osteria Fernanda, next to the pyramid of Caio Cestio
Osteria Fern anda is a restaurant that offers a very innovative cuisine with unconventional ingredients. Both locals and well-informed tourists flock to chef Davide del Duca's kitchen as what you will find on the menu here is literally out of the ordinary.
Rigatoni served with snails, buffalo milk foam and root vegetable sauce, cheese ice cream risotto with herbs and miso, and three choices of meat, venison, lamb or pigeon, as well as fish; these are some examples of what you will find on the menu of this restaurant recommended in the Michelin Guide.
- Location: Via Crescenzo del Monte, 18
- Opening hours: 12:00 to 18:00 every day of the week
- Price: Between 80 and 100 € per person
8. Giulia, a gourmet experience next to Palazzo Farnese
At Giulia you can dine overlooking the Via Giulia through its large windows in an elegant setting that combines vintage furniture and industrial décor. The tasting menu will surprise you with very particular flavours, of which I especially enjoyed the risotto with mandarin and burnt onion and the carrot fritter with homemade tomato sauce.
However, if you come hungry I recommend ordering plates: they have a variety of spectacular pastas such as the cheese, egg and snail ravioli, and meats accompanied by very creative garnishes.
- Location: Lungotevere dei Tebaldi, 4/4a
- Opening hours: 18:00 to 2:00, closed on Tuesdays
- Price: Between 50 and 80 € per person
9. SantoPalato, a return to the origins near the Piazza dei Re di Roma
SantoPalato is a somewhat retro trattoria that has become a local favourite for its return to traditional flavours. This restaurant cooks with offal, and tripe, sweetbreads and pig's tongue are the star dishes on the menu along with classics such as pasta amatriciana and pasta alla genovese, and perhaps more appetising meats such as oxtail or meatballs.
Although this place is not for everyone, I recommend booking in advance as it is quite trendy.
- Location: Piazza Tarquinia, 4
- Opening hours: 12:00 to 22.30, closed Mondays
- Price: Between 30 and 40 € per person
10. Altrove, Mediterranean cuisine a few steps from Circo Massimo
Altrove is a restaurant that makes multiculturalism its forte with a menu of international dishes. Open all day, it's a café, patisserie and restaurant where you can order dishes such as tempura vegetables, ceviche, cous cous, and kofta.
It's last on the list because you won't find traditional Italian cuisine here and, personally, when I travel somewhere I like to try the more authentic local flavours, but it can be an alternative if pasta and pizza have managed to saturate you during your trip.
- Location: Via Girolamo Benzoni, 34
- Hours: 12:00 to 15:30 and 18:00 to 22:00
- Price: Between 20 and 40 € per person
If you prefer American food: Hard Rock Cafe
If you're not a big fan of pasta or prefer a change after a few days of intense Italian food, play it safe at Rome's Hard Rock Cafe. Very close to the central Barberini metro station, you have the headquarters of this rock chain restaurant where you can book a menu of American food for only around 18 euros.
Enjoy a menu of hamburger, barbecued chicken or salmon, along with dessert and drinks, while you watch the rock stars decorate this legendary restaurant. With your reservation, whether it's lunch or dinner, you'll be in for a treat without having to wait for a table to be seated. A great idea for the exhausting walks that a trip to Rome always requires.