Eating at restaurants in Rome should feel like a much-deserved gift to yourself: there’s no better place to treat your senses to the sights, smells and balmy air in the corner of a piazza after a day of exploring the Colosseo. And if you should leave white space in your trip’s calendar for anything else while you’re in Rome, it has to be for all the amazing food hidden in this foodie city.
Seriously, you’ll need to set aside three to four hours for epic dinners in Rome – and those will be memories you’ll hang on to forever. Stubbornly.
Here’s the best part: lingering at your table on a pretty side street, taking in a warm summer night is highly encouraged here. In Italy, the worst thing you can do is rush someone through their meal, and we couldn’t agree more.
So – before we (literally) dish on the best of what Rome’s culinary scene has to offer, you should know these things about food at restaurants in Rome:
- You must make an effort to sample the dishes Rome is most renowned for. We’re talkin’ pasta specialties like cacio e pepe, carbonara and rigatoni con le Pajata. Yes, that’s a lot of pasta. And yes, you should try the same dish more than once, so you can truly make sure you experienced it authentically!
- Cheese does not need to be heaped onto every single dish. While you must try Rome’s Pecorino Romano cheese, know that if it’s not offered, it doesn’t typically belong on a meal in the traditional sense. Please don’t ask for parmesan on top of your cacio e pepe! Most Roman dishes are meant to be simple – embrace it.
- Don’t expect piping hot vegetable sides in Rome. They’re often served at room temperature and are separate from your secondo. If you order a meat or fish dish, it will usually be served with a few arugula leaves and cherry tomatoes, but don’t assume a full plate including sides is coming. These have to be ordered separately, and are called contorni.
What we love the most about eating in Rome is that even though it seems fancy on the outside, what it fills your tummy with is remarkably down to earth. Their cuisine is rooted in simple herbs, produce and meat – think rosemary, sage, mint, olive oil, lard, peas, fava beans, artichokes, chickpeas, lamb, cod, pork and veal, and of course, Pecorino Romano cheese. Roman cuisine is commonly rural, peasant food served in abundant portions, and it’s always divine.
Without further ado – here’s our list of recommendations for restaurants in Rome, from crowd-sourced reviews to where Roman locals love to linger:
The 5 Best Restaurants in Rome: TripAdvisor
Love it or hate it, TripAdvisor can hang its hat on a huge community of travellers that review all the spots regularly, so it can’t be ignored.
Here are the top picks for restaurants in Rome from the TripAdvisor audience. I left gelaterias, bakeries and pizzerias off this list.
It’s no wonder a fair number of TripAdvisor went out of their way to track this spot down – it’s off the beaten track, but their wine selection is fabulous, and their nibbles equally so. You may end up sampling all the appetizers before you get a chance to try their main courses though, because their crostinis, smoked swordfish and charcuterie are delicioso. Get there early, because you can’t make reservations at this spot.
Address: Via dell’Orso 71 | Phone | +39 06 8927 4020 | Hours: Mon-Sun, 12:00pm-12.00am | Spend: €12-30
A small, family-run spot that serves up Rome’s specialty pasta dishes with authenticity. Try their cacio e pepe, saltimbocca (veal wrapped in prosciutto and sage) and their tiramisu. It’s small and crazy popular, so make reservations in advance.
Address: Borgo Pio 21 | Hours: Sun-Thurs, 12.00pm-3.00pm; Fri-Sat: 12.00pm-3.00pm, 7.00pm-11.00pm | Phone: +39 06 4568 2897 | Spend: €6-24
Don’t you love those unassuming places you stumble into, that serve food on paper plates and wine in plastic cups… And it goes down in your memory bank as some of the most incredible food you’ve experienced? Reviewers everywhere drool over the pasta this spot serves up, most claiming it’s the best they ever had in Rome. It’s close to the Vatican, and worth a stop for lunch if you’re visiting the area.
Address: Borgo Pio 186 | Hours: Sun-Wed, 12.00pm-6.00pm; Thurs-Sat, 12.00pm-11.00pm| Phone: +39 06 6830 8360 | Spend: €9-24
4. I sapori di Matteo e Francesco (no website)
Reviewers love every little thing about this restaurant – from the warmth its owner Francesco brings with every meal, to the pasta, to their impeccable wine list, you can expect traditional Roman food in an unpretentious environment here. Locals and tourists alike never visit just once, it seems. Make room in your travel schedule (and tummy) to enjoy dinner here.
Address: Via Gianfilippo Usellini 303 | Hours: Tues-Fri, 7.45pm-11.00pm; Sat-Sun, 1.00pm-3.00pm, 7.45pm-11.00pm; closed Mon| Phone: +39 06 8854 6401 | Spend: Call for details
5. Mimi e Coco
Affectionately described as one of Rome’s hidden gems, this little spot is delicious and affordable. Try: the carbonara, meatballs and asparagus risotto, with a glass of wine by their recommendation. Pro tip: there’s usually a queue out the door for dinner here, so get there before 7pm if you want to grab a spot.
Address: Via del Governo Vecchio 72 | Hours: Mon-Sun, 9.00am-2.00am | Phone: +39 06 6821 0845 | Spend: €9-35
The 5 Best Restaurants in Rome: Michelin Guides
When in Rome… Michelin-starred restaurants are not entirely difficult to come by. With over 20 restaurants proudly carrying at least one Michelin star, you must indulge yourself here if your time (and wallet) allows for it.
Here’s why it’s a big deal: the Michelin guides are the oldest and most famous food and hotel guides in Europe – it’s basically like the Academy Awards of the culinary world. And with each new edition, foodies watch each all the newcomers like hawks. Restaurant owners size each other up. There’s serious, palpable tension – because this stuff is serious, and can make or break chef’s careers.
The Michelin star rating is between 1 and 3. Getting 3 Michelin stars is almost impossible: only 9 restaurants were given that designation in all of Italy in the latest edition. Worldwide — there are around 130 that hold three-star prestige. There’s no bigger bragging right than a Michelin star – and if you’re lucky to dine at any of these restaurants while you’re in Rome (which include restaurants that have one, two and three Michelin stars!) you’ll be treating your brain to an unforgettable experience.
1. La Pergola
The first and only three-star Michelin restaurant in Rome. And it’s no wonder: you’ll be perched above Vatican City in a gorgeous rooftop garden (ambience – check!) and their chef searches high and low for only the best, freshest ingredients. If you can nab a table here (you have to book at least 2-4 months in advance), you’ll be delighted by their fresh twists on classic Roman cuisine: think zucchini flowers with saffron consomme and rabbit tortellini with chamomile.
Address: Via Cadlolo 101 | Hours: Tues-Sun, 7.30pm-11.30pm | Phone: +39 06 3509 1 | Spend: €135-227
This modern space stands out from the crowd in the heart of Renaissance Rome, sporting two Michelin stars. Expect innovative, contemporary dishes that reinterpret the most traditional dishes. The best way to make the most of your time here? Splurge on the 10-course tasting menu.
Address: Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 129/a | Hours: Tues, 7.30pm-10.00pm; Wed-Sat, 12.30pm-2.00pm; 7.30pm-10.00pm for dinner | Phone: +39 06 6880 9595 | Spend: €75-170 for lunch, €85-145 for dinner
Picture: a warm outdoor terrace, overlooking the Colosseum. 28 people, maximum. It’s safe to say that dining here would make for an incredibly intimate, memorable and romantic (if that’s what you’re looking for) evening in Rome. With one Michelin star under their belt, they’re known for their focus on pasta and ocean sustainability – you won’t find tuna here, but you will discover plenty of lesser-known species instead.
Address: Via Claudio Monteverdi, 16 | Hours: Mon-Sun, 12.30pm-3.00pm; 7.00pm-11.00pm for dinner | Phone: +39 06 9761 5109 | Spend: €115-240
This open-plan, glass-walled restaurant gets top marks for their architecture, and even more for their dishes. If you don’t want to splurge on a pricey dinner, they also offer a more affordable lunch buffet. For dinner, you’ll want to try their smoked spaghetti, lamb and the pigeon.
Address: Via Milano, 9a | Hours: 12.30pm-3.30pm; 8.00pm-10.30pm – closed all day on Mon | Phone: +39 06 4782 2641| Spend: €80-118
Chef Martini and his team create modern and imaginative cuisine in this restaurant, which boasts a winter garden-style dining room with a contemporary feel, and a terrace-cum-lounge for aperitifs and snacks – dominated by a life-size marble Superman. Their gourmet menu is also available at lunchtime if you book ahead.
Address: Viale Aventino, 121 | Hours: Mon-Fri, 12.30pm-2.00pm; 7.30pm-10.00pm for dinner – closed all day on Sun | Phone: +39 06 455 97 350 | Spend: €60-200
The 5 Best Restaurants in Rome: Il Mangiarozzo
If you like down home vibes, without mortgaging your house to pay the bill, you’ll love this list. It’s taken from a food guide I love, called Il Mangiarozzo. The guide is written in Italian, for Italians. I’m giving you the lowdown of their Rome recs and adding what you’ll need to know as a traveler.
This list focuses on restaurants that cost 45 euros or less for a multi-course meal (not including wine) per person. It features only typical Italian trattoria and osteria, usually family run and historically significant to a region.
You won’t find any fusion or any hip in the below selections — just regionally specific Italian food. Initially a book, now you can buy the iOS app for $2.99.
Here is a sampling of 5 places (in no particular order), from the latest edition.
1. Roma Osteria (no website)
Reported by Il Mangiarozzo to be one of the top 10 spots in all of Italy. Now THAT makes me excited.
Address: Via Antonio Serra 15/a | Hours: Open all days of the week. | Phone: 0633218763| Spend: €30-35
2. Alfredo e Ada (no website)
Tiny spot with seating for 25 and open since 1880 should be enough reason to go. Rustic atmosphere with walls of vintage photos and typically a line to dine, so pray you get a table and don’t bother trying to get a reso.
Address: Via dei Banchi Nuovi 14 | Hours: Closed Mondays | Phone: 066878842 | Spend: €20-25
3. Mama (no website)
Daily menu on the blackboard, and seasonal menu too. Great for celiacs and they even serve fresh juices. Open from 10:30 am to midnight, never closing is a bonus for this popular place.
Address: Via Sforza Pallavicini 19 | Hours: Open all days of the week. | Phone: 0668139095 | Spend: €30-35
Conveniently central, in the piazza Navona area is this locale created by 3 friends. They’re always open, every day from 10 in the morning to 1:30 in the morning. Traditional Roman fare, also celiacs and vegetarians are looked after.
Address: Via del Governo Vecchio | Hours: Open all days of the week. | Phone: 066892574| Spend: €30-35
Another fab location in the piazza Navona neighborhood, right on piazza Sforza Cesarini housed in a gorgeous 15th century palazzo. They do a 25 euro tasting menu and a pizza menu starting at 13 euro.
Address: Piazza Sforza Cesarini 40 | Hours: Closed Tuesdays | Phone: 066861709 | Spend: €25-35
P.S. Want to experience Rome with our expert locals? Check out our Rome tours to see what’s on our menu.
The 5 Best Restaurants in Rome: Locals Pick
Think of this place as a posh Italo-French bistro, where locals come to enjoy amazing cocktails. Get comfortable at their vintage bar and ask their mixologist to whip up something special for you. Close to the Colosseum, this stunning space (it’s got huge chandeliers, black and white floors and a white ceramic wall) is a breath of fresh air when you need a break in the day.
Address: Via Claudia, 15 | Hours: Mon-Fri, 12.00pm-3.30pm; 6.30pm-2.00am. Sat-Sun, 12.00pm-2.00am | Phone: +39 06 9453 4255 | Spend: €14-30
Fresh-from-the-soil ingredients with traditional Roman dishes are what this restaurant is all about. It’s on every food blogger’s list for the best trattoria in Rome, and hugely popular with locals – so make a reservation (especially for lunch), because it’s always busy here.
Address: Via del Casaletto, 45 | Hours: Mon-Sun, 12.30pm-3.00pm; 7.30pm-12.00am for dinner | Phone: +39 06 6861 227 | Spend: €10-40
Located inside the Palazzo Montemartini hotel and a stone’s throw from the main Termini station, this space features a gorgeous (and seriously decadent) dining room. They take creative food to a new level, and it’s a bit of a secret in Rome. Perfect for dining al fresco on warm summer nights.
Address: Largo Giovanni Montemartini | Hours: Mon-Sun, 11.00am-11.00pm | Phone: +39 06 45661 | Spend: Call to view menu
This is where you want to try local Roman dishes. A little pricier than your average trattoria due to its location near the Colosseum (the cute, hip Monti neighborhood) and how popular it’s become, but this is a must for lunch or dinner to get the real-deal home-cooked Roman pasta and ‘secondi’, like oxtail. The owner is around to chit chat, so don’t be afraid to strike up conversation.
Address: Via della Madonna dei Monti, 9 | Hours: Mon-Sat, 12.30pm-3.00pm; 7.30pm-10.00pm | Phone: +39 06 6798 643 | Spend: €10-40
The name (osteria) suggests otherwise, but this newcomer is definitely on the radar to be Rome’s newest Michelin star. You want to be hungry when you come here, and don’t order anything but the epic, gloriously curated tasting menu.
Address: Via Crescenzo del Monte, 9 | Hours: Mon-Tues, 7.30pm-10.30pm. Wed-Sat, 12.30pm-2.45pm; 7.30pm-11.00pm – closed Sunday | Phone: +39 347 445 9593 | Spend: €20-10
So, there you have it: 20 ideas for restaurants in Rome to try.
Keep this list with your itinerary, share it with your Italy travel companions and forward it to your friends travelling to Rome.
Note: all phone numbers must affix +39 if dialing from outside Italy. Of course, all the prices are approximate, and they don’t include your choice of vino (wishful thinking, though).
I see plenty of cacio e pepe and carbonara in your future, and our team of foodies is getting a lil’ excited (and hungry) thinking about it.
We’re not just about the food, though.
Looking for more info about Rome? Check out some of our other blog posts, or our dedicated city guides:
Want to hang out with our expert locals during your trip to Italy? Book one of our private tours in these cities:
Which Michelin restaurant are you dying to try in Rome? Any Roman dish you’re obsessed with yet?
Share with us in the comments!