A trip to Rome could never be complete without delicious eats! But beware of tourist traps – they are everywhere and can ruin your day (and wallet).
As usual, before our trip I cross-referenced multiple food blogs and discussion boards to make our “short” list below. These are non-touristy places so relatively reasonable prices (also means they can be a bit out of the way). Many recommendations are endorsed by super foodie Elizabeth Minchilli who has uber helpful Rome, Florence and Venice apps (that work without international service)!
I also found this Chowhound Rome discussion helpful.
Emmelle [and Anah!]
Near Campo d’Fiori
- Renato e Luisa (Via dei Barbieri 25) – our top restaurant pick; only open for dinner, closed on Mondays, reservations recommended +39 06-6869-660 or maybe try to go early; daily specials are highly recommended, more so than the regular menu; for dessert try the tortino di cioccolato
- Costanza (Piazza Del Paradiso 63) – our 2nd top restaurant pick; it’s one of the coolest/most romantic interiors in the city – it’s built within ancient ruins(!); open for lunch and dinner; known for a liver/marscapone mousse (quote from a friend “I wanted to lick the plate!”), but check out the Roman traditional dishes too (carciofi alla romana, amatriciana and carbonara);
- Roscioli (Via dei Chiavari 34) – pizza bianca and good for quick lunch
- Fioco di Neve (Via del Pantheon, 51) – closed Mondays – get the lemoncello gelato, also delicious coffee granita with whipped cream
- Osteria dell’Ingegno (Piazza della Pietra) – big salads and pastas; great for lunch, but for dinner you can grab a table overlooking the piazza; closed Sundays
Near Vatican City
- Fata Morgana (Via G. Bettolo 7) – try the Kentucky gelato flavor (dark chocolate and tobacco … it sounds weird, but it’s SO good!! [I mean seriously, crazy good. Like this deserves its own post good! I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but this was seriously unforgettably amazing.]) or the peach & wine sorbetto; this place was so fantastic we immediately ordered seconds
- Il Colibri (Via Famagosta 69) – very small, family run, very friendly; lots of locals really like it; recommendations: artichokes, roasted suckling pig, whisky beef tenderloin, carbonara, amitricana, tiramisu, lamb and potatoes
Near Spanish Steps
- Il Gelato 2 (Piazza Monte D’Oro 91/92) – considered best gelato in Rome; have 20+ chocolate flavors alone
- Pastificio (Via della Croce 8) – 4 euro plate of pastas; opens for lunch at 1pm and pasta served until it’s gone, so get there early before they run out; for the price of 4 euro you also get water and house wine
- Pizzeria Nerone (Via del Moro 43) – we were taken there by our new Rome friends; I got the pizza with ricotta and tomatoes; Anah got one with sausage and thinly-sliced eggplant [it was a specialty of the house and was one of the most amazing pizzas I’ve ever had. It’s not just any sausage, they spread the pie with Calabrian ‘nduja, a soft spicy chorizo-like sausage that was just out of this world!]
- Fior di Luna (Via della Lungaretta 96) – best gelato in Trastevere; open Tues-Sun 12pm-1am
- Tonino’s aka Trattoria Antonio Bassetti (Via del Governo Vecchio 18-19; barely a sign outside and most people call it Tonino’s) – neighborhood favorite restaurant, cheap
- Perilli (Via Marmorata 39 in Testaccio) – favorite restaurant of Elizabeth Minchilli, says best carbonara in Rome
- Trattoria Cadorna (Via Raffaele Cadorna 12; northeast of train station/bit out of way, but highly recommended restaurant) – big portions of carbonara, gricia and amatriciana; also recommended saltimboca alla romana, ossobuco and coda alla vaccinara; Gelateria Caruso is right around the corner if you still have room for dessert
- Gelateria Caruso (Via Collina 13/15) – only has a dozen flavors, most very traditional, but among the creamiest and richest around; at Italian gelateries they ask if you want whipped cream on top of your gelato, but here they fold zabaione into the whipped cream for a unique taste
- Pompi (Via Albalonga; not sure what neighborhood but southeast of Colosseum) – most famous tiramisu in Rome; the tiramisu are in the cases, but you have to pay first; tell them the portion size you want (a single is big enough for 2 people), pay and go pick up your order; open 6:30am-1am
Many, many other great places on Elizabeth’s app and other sites. Rome has such wonderful food, so if you can, take some time to do a bit of research in advance to avoid the traps.