When it comes to eating out in Rome, tourist traps are plentiful. Overpriced restaurants with average food target tourists with tired feet who are willing to pay anything for a spaghetti pomodoro. It’s also common to find dishes that are not even traditionally Italian, cooked in a way that is assumed to be to the tourist’s liking (chicken parmigiana we’re looking at you). If you’re after something authentic it’s safe to say that you probably won’t find it directly in front of a main monument.
There are many things to do in Rome, and venturing off the beaten track to try some real Roman Cuisine is definitely one of them. Local produce is in the spotlight with artichokes, romanesco broccoli, endives and chicory being common ingredients. Don’t be surprised to find all your favourite pastas on the menu. Arrabbiata, carbonara, cacio e pepe, amatriciana and gricia all originate in the capital and are usually served with spaghetti, fetuccine, bucatini or rigatoni. Before you ask why your carbonara has no cream in it, have a look at this traditional recipe, made the Roman way! The below recommendations for eating out in Rome are in no particular order and only name a few of the thousands that are out there. Leave your favourites in the comments!
Looking for Roman Pizza? More on that here.
Der Pallaro is run by an Italian family that serves up traditional roman style home cooking with al fresco seating for summer time. You won’t find anything fancy here. In fact, you won’t even find a menu. What you will find is friendly hospitality and whatever Nonna Paola feels like cooking on the day. You pay a set price and receive a primo, secondo, contorni and dolce. In other words, the first course being pasta, a second course being meat, side dishes which are usually vegetables and to top it off, a home-made dessert. Everything is simple and made with love.
Largo del Pallaro, 1, Rome 00186 Rome, Italy
Romolo e Remo has been serving Roman cuisine since 1953. You can find all the pastas you love as well as classic roman suppli and deep fried carciofi or artichokes. With both indoor an outdoor seating it gets extremely busy so it’s best to book ahead. The closest metro stop is Re di Roma and it’s an easy walk from there. While you are in the area, head to Pompi for the best Tiramisu. Details below.
Via Pannonia 22-26, Rome, Italy
Pompi is where you can find arguably the best Tiramisu in Rome. A family run business in three locations across Rome, it’s owned by Giuliano Pompiwho calls himself ‘the king of Tiramisu’. Pompi has been perfecting the tiramisu recipe of coffee, chocolate and mascarpone since 1960.
Via Albalonga, 7b
Via di SantaMaria in Via, 17
Via della Croce, 82
Eating out in Rome would not be complete without gelato.
Giolitti gelateria claims to have scooped up the best gelato in Rome since 1900. Just around the corner from the Pantheon, it’s been frequented by many Italian and international celebrities including Pope Jean Paul II, Prime Minister Burlusconi and more. Don’t forget to ask for doppio panna for ‘double the cream’ – both on top of the gelato and in the bottom of the cone.
Via Uffici del Vicario, 4000186 Roma
Da Enzo has made a name for itself for its picturesque location in Trastevere, its classic roman cooking making mouths water on instagram, and its signature rigatoni pasta made with a high quality wheat grown in a national park of Abruzzo. Both indoor and outdoor seating are in very high demand so it’s best to book ahead.
Via dei Vascellari 29, Roma
Salumeria Roscioli is a high end deli-restaurant hybrid started by Alessandro Roscioli and his family. They describe their cooking as roman and local, pure, intense, deeply emphasising excellence in products and ingredients. Every ingredient is locally sourced from small producers who create unique produce of the highest quality. In the deli counter there are 300 cheeses and 200 cured meats on rotation at any one time. The wine cellar holds 2800 labels with both local and international grapes. Expect all the classics as well as modern and refreshing on this extensive menu.
Via dei Giubbonari 21, Roma
Trattoria Monti is known for its giant raviolo filled with oozy, runny, golden egg yolk. This high end trattoria is regularly booked out for its cosy atmosphere and warm service. Although not specifically roman, the cooking is inspired by the cuisine of the Marche region where the owners are from.
Via di San Vito, 13 A00185 Rome
Felice a Testaccio has been an institution of Roman cuisine since 1936. The menu changes daily but one thing that is constant for which locals return again and again is the cacio e pepe which can’t be missed when eating out in Rome. Modern, warm interiors, friendly service and linen table cloths make this a bit more special than a more casual trattoria.
Via Mastro Giorgio, 29
Sora Margherita has been open since 1927, in a tucked away hole in the wall in Rome’s Jewish Quarter. Very small and always packed, don’t be surprised if you’re sharing a table with strangers. If you’re looking for welcoming smiles from the servers it’s best you go elsewhere as they are straight down to business and stern in demeaner. What they lack in warm hospitality they make up for in the atmosphere and home style cooking with old newspaper articles peeling off the walls along with thank you notes from loving diners. A menu of traditional and no frills roman dishes are hand scribbled on paper. Their signature dishes include deep fried artichokes, hand made fettuccine and filled agnolotti pasta, marinated fried zucchini, and a traditional ricotta cake.
Piazza delle Cinque Scole, 30, 00186 Roma
If you find that something here is out of date, please mention it in the comments. Enjoy eating out in Rome! Buon appetito.