A Friendly Guide to Rome’s Best Restaurants
When visiting Rome, the Eternal City, it’s not only the ancient ruins and breathtaking architecture that will captivate you; the culinary scene is just as important. From traditional trattorias to modern fusion restaurants, Rome has a plethora of options that cater to different tastes and budgets. This travel guide will help you navigate Rome’s restaurant scene, ensuring that you enjoy the best dining experiences the city has to offer.
1. Classic Roman Cuisine
For those looking to immerse themselves in the traditional Roman dining experience, visiting a local trattoria or osteria is a must. These family-owned establishments serve up classic Roman dishes that have been passed down through generations. Here are a few recommendations:
1.1 Da Enzo al 29
Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Trastevere, Da Enzo al 29 is a cozy trattoria that offers a taste of authentic Roman cuisine. Known for its simple yet delicious dishes, like Cacio e Pepe and Amatriciana, this restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
1.2 Armando al Pantheon
Steps away from the iconic Pantheon, Armando al Pantheon is a family-run trattoria that has been serving Roman specialties since 1961. This small and charming eatery offers a menu featuring traditional Roman dishes, such as Saltimbocca alla Romana and Spaghetti alla Carbonara, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
2. Pizza in Rome
While Naples is widely recognized as the birthplace of pizza, Rome has its own unique style of pizza that you won’t want to miss. Roman pizza is characterized by its thin and crispy crust, and can be found at numerous pizzerias throughout the city. Here are a couple of noteworthy spots:
2.1 Pizzarium Bonci
Located near the Vatican, Pizzarium Bonci offers a variety of pizza al taglio, or pizza by the slice, with a wide range of innovative toppings. The pizza here features a light and airy crust that’s both crispy and chewy, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists.
2.2 Ai Marmi
For a more traditional Roman pizza experience, head to Ai Marmi in Trastevere. This lively pizzeria serves up thin-crust pizza with classic toppings, such as Margherita and Capricciosa, in a casual and bustling atmosphere.
3. Modern Italian Dining
Rome is also home to a number of contemporary Italian restaurants that put a modern twist on classic dishes. These innovative establishments often feature fusion dishes that incorporate international flavors while still maintaining their Italian roots. Check out these recommendations:
Located in the upscale Parioli neighborhood, Metamorfosi is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a modern take on Italian cuisine. The menu here is inventive and artfully presented, with dishes like risotto with black garlic and licorice, or pigeon with coffee and cacao nibs.
Marzapane is a contemporary Italian restaurant that emphasizes seasonal ingredients and creative flavor combinations. The menu here changes regularly, but you can expect to find dishes like tortellini with red shrimp and burrata or veal sweetbreads with black truffle.
4. Vegetarian and Vegan Options
While Italian cuisine is often associated with meat and cheese, Rome offers a growing number of vegetarian and vegan dining options that cater to plant-based food lovers. Here are some top choices:
4.1 Il Margutta
Il Margutta is a charming vegetarian restaurant located near the Spanish Steps. Established in 1979, it offers a variety of delicious plant-based dishes, such as artichoke flan with truffle sauce and eggplant parmigiana. The restaurant also hosts art exhibitions, adding to its unique atmosphere.
Ops! is a popular vegan restaurant in the heart of Rome, known for its innovative dishes and buffet-style service. The menu changes daily and features a wide range of creative plant-based options, including vegan lasagna, seitan carpaccio, and a variety of salads and desserts.
5. Gelato and Desserts
No trip to Rome would be complete without indulging in some of Italy’s famous gelato and desserts. The city is filled with gelaterias and pastry shops offering a variety of sweet treats to satisfy your cravings. Here are a few must-visit spots:
Established in 1900, Giolitti is Rome’s oldest gelateria and an institution in the city. Known for its rich and creamy gelato, this historic shop offers a wide range of flavors, from classics like pistachio and stracciatella to more adventurous options like ricotta and fig.
5.2 Pasticceria De Bellis
Located near Campo de’ Fiori, Pasticceria De Bellis is a renowned pastry shop that specializes in exquisite Italian desserts. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of pastries, cakes, and cookies, including the famous millefoglie and cannoli, which are perfect for enjoying with a cappuccino or espresso.
6. Authentic Roman Market Experiences
For a more immersive culinary experience, visit one of Rome’s local markets to sample fresh produce, cheeses, and cured meats. These markets also offer prepared foods that make for a delicious and affordable lunch. Here are a couple of markets worth exploring:
6.1 Testaccio Market
Located in the lively Testaccio neighborhood, this modern market is home to numerous vendors selling a variety of fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and prepared foods. Don’t miss out on trying the famous “trapizzino,” a hybrid of pizza and sandwich filled with traditional Roman ingredients.
6.2 Mercato Trionfale
Just a short walk from the Vatican, Mercato Trionfale is one of Rome’s largest and most diverse markets. With over 200 stalls, you’ll find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to seafood, cured meats, and freshly baked bread. Be sure to stop by one of the food stalls for a delicious panino or a slice of pizza.
Rome’s culinary scene is as diverse and enchanting as the city itself. By exploring a variety of restaurants, markets, and dessert shops, you’ll discover the rich flavors and traditions that make Roman cuisine truly unforgettable.