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Rome Restaurants

I am frequently asked – by both friends and thanks to the blog people I have never met – where to eat in Rome, so Ric and I collaborated on this list providing a convenient link to send to those who inquire. Seems like a good idea for the blog so here you go!
What this list is not: A guidebook-type of recommendation; “the best” whatever that may mean; infallible.
What this list is: Places Ric and I have enjoyed over the past two years or so. Some are true favorites we return to again and again, some are “okay if you are in the area.” Some are in “touristy” areas; some are quirky. Some are expensive, and some are, shall we say, more affordable.  Some are elegant; most are casual. And they are scattered about Rome as we love to roam. (Couldn’t resist the pun.)
Whether you like or dislike a place please let me know with a comment.
 Oh, and make a reservation if at all possible. We have learned our lessons the hard way and had to go in search of an alternate spot, or sit at a terrible table reserved only for oafs that do not call ahead.
Roma Centro Storico
Capricci Siciliani – Down a dark, almost-alley-like street, not far from the Tevere, you will find this pretty, elegant-yet-low-key, Sicilian restaurant. With terrific antipasti and fish to die for, this restaurant really reminded us of the best Sicily has to offer. Not cheap, but not bad for Rome: about €100 for two with a bottle of moderately priced wine. We enjoyed such specialties as alici (anchovies), a Sicilian antipasto assortment of fish and vegetables, insalata di polpo (octopus), pasta ala norma, grilled vegetables, and tonno con cipolle rosse (tuna with red onions). Via di Panico, 83.  English spoken (mostly) but we saw no tourists on a Saturday night in May.   http://www.capriccisiciliani.com/
Antica Taverna – This was our first favorite restaurant in Rome and is still a go-to place about once-a-month. We found this place a due passi dal Via Del Governo Vecchio thanks to two Canadians  while on our
Best eggplant parmesan anywhere. If you come to visit I will take you here, blindfolded, I don't want everyone going here.

Best eggplant parmesan anywhere. If you come to visit I will take you here, blindfolded, I don’t want everyone going here.

first trip to Rome in 2010. Their directions were along the lines of “go down this street until you see the scaffolding, and then turn right.” AT is not heavily patronized by tourists, which may change if I don’t shut my mouth about it soon. Great service, sweet people, solid Roman cuisine; it won’t win any gourmet awards, but everyone we bring loves it. Ask for the antipasti della casa, a vast array of grilled vegetables with a small salumi portion. (It’s not usually on the menu, but always available.) I love the melazane al forno (baked eggplant parmesan, pictured at left), and we swear by the souté di cozze (sautéed mussels) and aglio, olio e pepperoncino.  The wine list is nothing to get excited about, but you will find something quaffable. Via Monte Giordano, 12. http://www.anticatavernamangiabene.it/ . Mostly Italian spoken here, although the owner does speak English and he is often there. About €50 per couple for two courses and wine.
La Taverna degli Amici – Near Piazza Venezia in location, but miles away in ambiance. €90 for two with one pasta, house wine, 2 secondi and 2 contorni. Nice fish, all items well-prepared. Lovely outdoor setting. High bread charge @ €3 per person. http://www.latavernadegliamici.net .
Enoteca Provincia di Roma – Near Trajan’s Market is an understated, modern bistro operated by the Province of Rome. Yes, really. Excellent choice for lunch after touring the foro romano, or for aperitivi in the evening, in view of the ruins. All products are local to the Province of Rome, so more-or-less “zero-chilometri.” Foro Traiano, 82 . http://www.enotecaprovinciaromana.it/.
Rabbit

Stewed rabbit at L’Asino d’Oro. Tender and delicious!

L’Asino d’Oro – Peripheral to centro storico, L’Asino d’Oro is in Monti, the quartiere behind the Colosseo.  Inventive may have become an overused word with regard to a restaurant, but when so many Italian
Antipasto of Herring on preserved lemons with beetroot creme. We Swedes love herring!

Antipasto of Herring on preserved lemons with beetroot creme. We Swedes love herring!

restaurants offer variations on the same standards, a restaurant that embraces Italian flavors presented in new ways deserves the adjective. L’Asino d’Oro (The Golden Ass) is such a place. It’s prezzo fisso lunch menu (no choices: you eat what they are serving) is an outstanding value for 3 courses at €12/person including wine.
 In the evening the menu is expanded and the prices rise commensurately, but it is still affordable and delightful. The menu is ever-changing, but recently we dined on antipasti of herring with beet-root cream on preserved lemon slices (pictured above left), fresh anchovies in sugo di pomodori on baked cipolli, followed by a shared pasta involving black truffles and almonds. (Not the usual salumi and pasta offerings!) Our secondi were a beautifully stewed rabbit haunch (at left) for Ric and baked cod (bacalá) with caramelized onions for me. This was all preceded by a nice little amuse-bouche of a bread salad in a savory olive-oil. The wine list is nice and easy on the budget. Via del Boschetto, 73. No website.
Li Rioni - cute, good service, good pizza, great price.

Li Rioni – cute, good service, good pizza, great price.

Li Rioni – We found Li Rioni thanks to an article in The Guardian . It is only a short walk from the Colosseo, but not so lack-luster as many places close to a monument. What you’ll find is a charming cafe, decorated to look like a small village on the inside, with decent fritti and pizzas, house wine, and a budget-friendly tab. Our two pizzas, two suppli, house wine and water came to €30.00. We frequently pay far more in areas remote from Centro Storico. While I would not make a trip out of my way to return, it is a worthy option when in the area. The pizza is very-thin crusted, so minimal toppings a the rule lest you find yourself with a soggy pie. I ordered one with funghi and while tasty, it did go soggy on me quite quickly.  Best to reserve in the evening especially for a 21:00 arrival, classic Roman dining time. Via dei SS Quattro 24, no website.
Prati/Near the Vatican
This is probably my favorite neighborhood in Rome. We “discovered” it when nephew Eddie rented an apartment here last fall and found it elegant, full of fine restaurants and nice shops, with easy transportation options to the historic center and everywhere in Rome, for that matter.
Siciliainbocca, a delightful option away from tourist hordes.

Siciliainbocca, a delightful option away from tourist hordes.

Siciliainbocca — I reviewed this fine restaurant over at our other blog, Our Weekly Pizza. No, it does not serve pizza, but terrific Sicilian cuisine.  http://www.siciliainbocca.com/home/
La Pratolina – For pizza in this elegant area, we gravitate to La Pratolina. The pizzas are unlike any other we’ve had the pleasure to try. They are oval, crispy from the wood-fire oven, and feature a number of unusual options. LP also features some of the finest sfizi available in Rome: little morsels of goodness, fried, to precede your pizza and ruin whet your appetite. Make a reservation, especially for Friday or Saturday night. I call on Wednesday at the latest to get in on Friday. English spoken.  Via degli Sciopone, 248. http://www.pizzerialapratolina.it/index.php.
Osteria delle Commari Don’t let the entrance fool you: there’s more room inside than you would guess. The owners are present and speak English. The menu is limited but creative. We enjoyed fritti and polenta “tramazzini” con cicoria, anchovies and mozzarella for our antipasti, followed by ravioli with potatoes and a yummy anchovy-based sauce as well as sweet & sour cod, a house specialty. There was torte fondante (dark chocolate cake) for dessert. €89 with wine. OdC features reasonably priced local wines.  Via Santamaura, very close to the Vatican Museums. http://www.osteriadellecommari.it/
Parioli
This is our neighborhood and few tourists venture here from the center. There are a couple of hotels in Prati that direct guests to these places.
Taverna Rossini – This is a charming, if somewhat sprawling, restaurant complex with a large outdoor seating area, useable in almost any weather.  Rossini has an informal side (bar/café) for morning caffè and pastry as well as sandwiches at lunch and into the afternoon. Continuing down the block, the complex grows in terms of ambience from very casual-outdoor to casual-indoor, then to more elegant white tablecloth and crystal options both indoors and out. From pizza to fish and excellent salads, Rossini does everything well. It’s not cheap (about €50 for two pizzas, a moderately priced bottle of wine, water, caffè and either dessert or some sfizi before the pizza), but the quality is good, the service is brisk but friendly. Most of the staff speak English.  We have our own private waiter. If you go somewhere often enough, you get adopted. Viale Gioacchino Rossini, 54.  http://www.tavernarossini.it/.
L’Ambasciata d’Abbruzzo – This is supposed to be an authentic Abruzzese experience. I am no expert on Abruzzo, but apart from a few specialties (arrostocini) and a considerable collection of Abruzzese wines, this is fairly standard Italian fare. With a wide selection of seafood and meat options, there is something for everyone (but no pizza). A very attractive restaurant (but most of the clientele is casually attired), this family-run place attracts a lot of young Romans. Excellent service, English spoken, usually <€100 for two with wine.  Via Pietro Tacchini, 26.   http://www.ambasciatadiabruzzo.com/.
Via Veneto/Embassy Area
This is a loosely defined area, everything is within a 15 minute walk from the American Embassy.
Antipasto of a pear baked with pecorino and a red wine sauce in puff pastry.

Antipasto of a pear baked with pecorino and a red wine sauce in puff pastry.

Osteria Quarantaquattro (44) – This is fine dining, modern-Roman style. The dining room is modern and sleek and the food is great! We’ve dined here several times. Sergio, one of the owners, is always present to help you make your selections.  He speaks perfect British-accented English and is a charming host. His partner in the kitchen sends out plate after plate of fabulous food, with a focus on seafood. Let Sergio recommend a wine: he won’t mislead you. About €100 for two with wine, this place is special-occasion worthy. Be certain to reserve!  Via Aureliana 42/44, http://www.osteriaquarantaquattro.com/#a1 .
Mandaloun – Just around the corner from the American Embassy, on via Porta Pinciana, is a wonderful Lebanese restaurant. It is like being transported out of Rome to eat here. We had not eaten non-Italian food in almost a year when we came to Mandaloun and were quite taken with the quality of everything. The mezza platter is over-priced, IMO at €25 per person, so order your mezza ala carte. There are two types of hummus, with the spicy being the best, falafel, shwarma, tabbouleh, fattoush and all the specialties you could ask for. Via di Porta Pinciana 16-B. http://www.mandaloun.it/index.php.
Come il Latte – Best gelato we’ve eaten. Ever. Anywhere. Just go.  Via Silvio Spaventa, 24/26.   http://www.comeillatte.it/.
Brancaleone –  They call themselves a birreria and osteria, offer a good range of pastas, meaty secondi, and they make a decent pizza. A warm pub-like atmosphere, if a but chaotic, and English is spoken. Reasonable prices. Via Sicilia, 170. http://www.ristorantebrancaleone.com/ .
Pizzeria San Marco – This is a huge restaurant, frequented by the embassy personnel at lunch, but also by Italian business people. At night, it seems like busloads of tourists are dropped off. I guess the hotels in the area direct people here in droves. Pizzas are decent and they offer some nice salads. English spoken, but service is rather indifferent. Via Sardegna 38/D. http://www.pizzeriasanmarco.it/main.html.
Café Mozart – Great place for morning caffé, un panino for lunch, or even a visit to the fine tavola calda if you fancy a larger lunch. Seating inside and out, excellent, friendly service. Signora Carla mans the cassa, and if anyone here speaks English, they keep it a secret. Terrific prices on a quiet street. Via Toscana 24-28.
Bar Rinelli Arcangelo – Best selection of panini in Rome, at prices around €2.70. Via di San Nicola da Tolentino, 45, just a few steps off Piazza Barberini. No seating, per portar via only (to go).       
Beautiful entree of Calamari Grigliata

Beautiful entree of Calamari Grigliata

Ristorante Il Garigliano — A bit of a stretch to call this “near the Embassy”  but it’s not really far from it either.  Il Garigliano specializes in seafood. It’s quite a lovely place, patronized by locals, and everything presented is simply beautiful and delicious.  Service was polite if formal, and the cost as average: I think about €100 for 3 courses (shared a pasta). The house wine is a decent Vermentino, one of my favorites with seafood. Via Garigliano, 70A, http://www.ristorantegarigliano.com/.                                                                                                    
Trastevere
You might get lost in Trastevere, but you’ll enjoy it. The streets are windy and charming, and on a warm evening, the main piazzas are full of people.  But the back streets are calmer and offer some nice dining options.  We should get over here more, but we usually come for two reasons: to walk up the Gianicolo (fabulous views!) and to eat pizza at Dar Poeta.
Dar Poeta – The first time we went to Dar Poeta we got terribly lost in Trastevere. Terribly! It was daylight and we were doing the unimaginable for an Italian: eating pizza for lunch. Lunch is actually a good time to go because the crowds are thin. Tiny, usually crowded, DP whips out wood-fired pizzas in minutes.  They are thicker than most you will find in Italy, yeasty and crisp.  DP takes no reservations (at least that’s my experience but the website now says they do so I have to try), but they are always open, even on ferragosto. When you arrive, check in with the person making a list and in 20 minutes or so, even when crowded, you’ll likely be seated. We went with 10 people on ferragosto (August 15) last year and waited no more than 20 minutes. The pizza menu is creative and may require more time to decipher than it takes the kitchen to bake the pizza.  My favorite pizza here is Sarmonata which is salmon, gorgonzola and arugula. Second favorite is salmon and zucchini flowers, il Fiorsalmone. Ric cannot tear himself away from Lingua di fuoco a spicy salami number he orders every time. Beautiful salads but they are huge. Three people could easily share one if they are also having pizza.  Vicolo del Bologna, 45 . http://darpoeta.com/ing/Dar_Poeta_home_ing.html.  The easiest route here is from Piazza Trilussa, but the map on their website is too stylized. Use Google maps.
Other than DP, we haven’t eaten much in Trastevere in the past two years. Roma Sparita was good the last time we went. It is famous for cacio e pepe.
La Gatta La Gatta Mangiona – Not really Trastevere, but  a little farther, in Monteverde. Take the Tram #8 from Largo Argentina and walk about 200 meters. By all means make a reservation! We came here on a whim a couple of years ago and were turned away as early as 20:00 because they were fully booked. This is a nice place, run by nice people who speak very little English. the pizza is good, with some very inventive pies. The sfizi and fritti are also abundant and inventive. The ingredients are very
Very fresh Mozzarella di Bufala is key!

Very fresh Mozzarella di Bufala is key!

high quality. Is it worth the trip? Absolutely. We still like Dar Poeta the best, with La Pratolina a close second, but La Gatta Mangiona is a great alternative with a nice tram ride involved. Gets you out of the tourist center and into a Roman residential neighborhood. Via F. Ozanam, 30-32, http://www.lagattamangiona.com
Piazza del Popolo
Off the piazza are some interesting places. 
La Buca di Ripetta –  Wonderful food! We enjoyed a very creative misto di antipasti al mare, excellent cacio e pepe although not as peppery as I like; great fish preparation. €105 with €24 bottle of wine. We shared semifreddo dessert, as we often do, and also shared antipasti and pasta. By the way, don’t be afraid to do this. Many people share courses. Get at least one course of your own anywhere you go: primo or secondo. Say “Condividiamo lo, per favore” (We will share it, please.)  Via di Ripetta, 36. http://www.labucadiripetta.eu/index.htm 
 La Campana –  Reasonable prices, casual, family place with simple, uncomplicated Roman cuisine. The antipasto buffet is a feast for carnivores and vegetarians alike. We paid €58 for wine (house €10), the antipasto buffet, pasta and tripe. Reasonable prices, casual, family place.  Vicolo della Campana 18. http://www.ristorantelacampana.com/ .
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9 Responses to “Rome Restaurants”

  1. Elaine Pederson March 19, 2016 at 14:42 #

    Thank you so much for this info. We will definitely check these out.

    Like

    • gooddayrome March 19, 2016 at 14:52 #

      You are welcome! Hope you find some places you enjoy!

      Like

  2. donna lomba March 26, 2014 at 19:03 #

    I hate to share, but Piacere Molise near the Vatican (Prati) has incredible food. Used to be locals only, but several hotels have been sending tourists lately! It’s on Via Candia.

    Like

    • gooddayrome March 26, 2014 at 21:28 #

      Ooohhhh, thanks Donna! We’ll have to give it a try!

      Like

  3. rickzullo.com February 24, 2014 at 16:24 #

    This is a great list! I see two of my favorites here, too: Capricci Siciliani (you’re right, wonderful, but not cheap). I love their bracciole di pesce spada when available! And I also like the Enoteca Provincia di Roma. The only thing about that place is that I always seem to want to stop there on Sunday while doing the passeggiata…and they’re closed!

    Like

    • gooddayrome February 24, 2014 at 21:13 #

      Rick, I think I learned about Capricci Siciliani from you! What goes around comes around. We were at Dar Poeta again on Froday and while I know some food writers like to hate it, they have THE BEST salmon pizza and terrific prices, pleasant service. Do try Osteria 44 when you get a chance.

      Like

  4. Terah June 25, 2013 at 15:30 #

    I am sooooo hungry right now! 😉

    Like

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  1. Antica Taverna, Roma, August 27, 2016 | Our Weekly Pizza - August 29, 2016

    […] times, and twice on New Year’s Eve, plus about once-a-month year-round. It’s in the Good Day Rome Guide to Restaurants and we take most of our visitors there. We like the place. A lot. It’s like going home when […]

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