Restaurants in Rome
Rome is delicious and affordable when it comes to dining out, and while everyone in the world may claim to 'love' Italian food, you cannot really compare 'ordinary' pizza and pasta to the wonderful dishes you can sample in the nation's capital. Italian food prepared in the Italian tradition is strong in flavour, meagre in ingredients, and richer and higher in calories than the global imitations.
The typical meal is accompanied by a bruschetta ammazzavampiri (garlic canapé) and grated cheeses. Not surprisingly, pastas and pizzas are provided in abundance, the local varieties of which are not to be missed. Red meat and seafood dishes in the international tradition are also on offer but are more expensive and come in less generous servings.
There are three main types of restaurant in Rome: an osteria is an informal gathering-spot, serving basic spaghetti meals and some wine; trattorie are more languid, bistro-style affairs, offering large meals in a homely setting; and ristorante offer the more fancy and lavish silver spoon and wine-list dining experience. All three can be found in the popular districts of Centro Storico, along Via Cavour and around Stazione Termini. The Borgo district near the Vatican offers some of the cheapest dining options in Rome.
Breakfasts in Rome, as in most of Italy, are minimal, and people rarely leave the house for their first meal of the day. The main event is lunch, which sees restaurants open between 1pm and 3pm - most locals enjoy their lunch breaks in three courses!
La Terrazza dell'Eden
Michelin-starred La Terrazza serves some of the city's finest cuisine, along with sweeping views over the Seven Hills of Rome and Michelangelo's dome of St Peter's. Executive Chef Adriano Cavagnini is dynamic and creative, having worked at Harrod's and cooking for the Al Fayed family, as well as for members of the British government. A seasonally changing menu includes modern Italian cuisine, fresh seafood dishes and creative flavours of the Mediterranean that are light and delicious. Reservations essential. Open for lunch and dinner daily.
Address: Hotel Eden, Via Ludovisi 49 (Via Veneto)
Telephone: +39 06 4781 2752
Possibly the best seafood restaurant in Rome, the cuisine at La Rosetta is world-class. A selection of marinated seafood appetizers, such as squid with ginger and French beans, is the best way to appreciate the flavours, followed by one of the superb pasta dishes dressed with fish or seafood. The menu includes almost every type of Mediterranean fish, grilled or roasted to perfection, and desserts such as the ricotta cheesecake with honey are worth saving space for. Reservations essential. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday.
Address: Via della Rosetta 8 (Piazza Navona)
Telephone: +39 06 686 1002
This sophisticated rooftop restaurant boasts a spectacular view of the city below, and has an elegant setting with candlelit tables and impeccable service. Many Roman food critics claim it is the best restaurant in the city, which is attested to by a list of regulars that includes Prince Rainier of Monaco, Bruce Springsteen and Glen Close. Food is the very best of Mediterranean haute cuisine and each dish is a work of art in presentation and taste. A sundowner at the chic cocktail bar is a fine way to start the evening. Reservations essential. Closed Sunday and Monday. Dinner only.
Address: Hilton Hotel, Via Cadlolo 101, San Pietro
Telephone: 39 06 3509 1
Agata e Romeo
For a gourmet treat, this charming restaurant is elegant yet relaxed, run by a husband and wife team who produce outstanding Roman 'nouvelle cuisine', exceptional desserts and a fabulously stocked wine cellar. Roman specialities include broccoli pasta in skate broth, a gourmet version of a traditional vegetable soup, or sheep's cheese flan with a dried fig sauce. An Agata e Romeo taster menu allows one to sample a variety of specialities, and includes wine. Closed weekends. Reservations recommended.
Address: Via Carlo Alberto 45 (Termini)
Telephone: +39 06 446 6115
Ai Tre Scalini
Small, unpretentious and serving top-quality Roman cuisine, Ai Tre Scalini is one of the nicest restaurants in the area close to the Colosseum. The small menu is a gourmet experience, from the cheeses and salamis to porchetta, complemented by the wide variety of wines on offer. Reservations required. Closed Mondays. Open from 6pm.
Telephone: +39 06 489 07495
Arancia Blu offers Rome's best vegetarian fare in a trendy, friendly atmosphere. Individual dietary needs are catered for as staff assist in redesigning menu suggestions to suit everybody's tastes. The dishes are inspired by country Italian cuisines and include things like potato and mint ravioli, or eggplant parmigiana in a pastry crust. There is an excellent dessert menu and extensive wine list. Open for dinner daily, the tea room and bars open from 5pm to 7pm, dinner starts at 8pm. Also open for lunch on weekends. Reservations recommended. Credit cards are not accepted.
Address: Via Prenestina
Telephone: +39 06 445 4105
Our Travel Expert
Paulina Pimperova is a licensed tour guide in Rome and a passionate traveller, and is never happier than when seeking out hidden corners of the Eternal City. After 15 years of experience in international tourism as a tour leader accompanying groups in Italy and abroad, she decided to dedicate her energy mostly to the study of Rome.
Become our Rome Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Rome travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Rome or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.