You will eat one of two ways in Rome: 1) You will enjoy one of the best meals of your life or 2) You will feel like you spent a small fortune on subpar food.
So how do you avoid the latter?
First, I always recommend a couple quick tips for sussing out the good from the bad in Rome (and in all of Italy really):
1) Don’t go anywhere with pictures of food on the menu (there are occasional exceptions to this, but in general this is a great rule)!
2) Look for smaller menus with daily specials. This will ensure you are getting fresh, seasonal ingredients. Bonus if the menu is handwritten daily!
3) Eat as far away from major monuments and squares as possible. This almost always ensures better quality food at a lower price point. Of course, there are plenty of fancy places you can splurge on for the incredible view like the Ristorante Aroma, which overlooks the Colosseum.
In addition to these tips, I thought I would share some of my favorite places to eat in Rome. I have tried to give a variety of types of places as well as recommendations spread out across the city, becuase you never know where your day of sightseeing might take you.
You can see even more of my recommendations in map form here.
And one final tip, most good restaurants in Rome will be popular. I always recommend calling ahead to book or trying really popular places at lunch time.
Trattoria Da Enzo Al 29
My personal favorite and BEST CARBONARA IN ROME! But so busy, you must book early.
Via dei Vascellari, 29, 00153 Roma, Italia
+39 06 581 2260
Delicious Roman-style pizza, great for grabbing a bit on the go.
Via di Santa Dorotea, 2, 00153 Roma, Italia
Via Leonina, 73, 00184 Roma, Italia
Romans love to fry things and you must try traditional arancini (fried rice balls with tomatoes and cheese, actually called supplì in Rome). This delicious hole-in-the-wall makes creative versions of old-school arancini.
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 143, 00186 Roma, Italia
+39 06 8987 1920
This little place breaks my no-picture-on-the-menu rule, but it is so rare to find decent, much less good, food so close to St. Peter’s on this very touristy street. In fact, most Vatican tour guides send their clients here.
Borgo Pio, 135, 00193 Roma, Italia
+39 06 686 8936
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
My second favorite carbonara in Rome, this little trattoria specializes in traditional Roman dishes.
Via della Madonna dei Monti, 9, 00184 Roma, Italia
+39 06 679 8643
Located in one of Rome’s hipster ‘hoods, Broccoletti puts a modern spin on traditional dishes.
Via Urbana, 104, 00184 Roma, Italia
+39 06 9027 1389
Another good spot for basic Roman dishes like amatricianna.
Via di S. Vito, 13, 00185 Roma, Italia
+39 06 446 6573
Osteria del Sostegno
Quite the find in such a busy, touristy area, this little nook serves amazing pasta dishes. My favorite is the asparagus lasagna.
Via delle Colonnelle, 5, 00186 Roma, Italia
+39 06 679 3842
Trattoria della Barchetta dal 1924
Another great find so close to the Vatican. Great service and even better specials, don’t miss the lemon ravioli in the summer.
Via Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, 35, 00193 Roma, Italia
+39 06 320 4503
This hotspot has the best Calcio and Pepe in Rome.
Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22, 00186 Roma, Italia
+39 06 687 5287
A great little cafe for a coffee or quick bite.
Via Properzio, 31/33, 00193 Roma, Italia
+39 06 8902 4554
This is another fun, hip place in the Monti neighborhood. They have great sandwiches and juices to grab on the go.
Via Urbana, 54, 00184 Roma, Italia
+39 06 3105 2516