It's no secret that Italy is bursting with delicious cuisine, but especially in Rome. In the 3 times I've visited, I can't think of a single dining experience that wasn't fantastic. As wonderful as all the options may be, it also can make narrowing down your selection a bit tricky! So rather than trying to make my decision for you, I've pulled together all the best places to eat in Rome (including some fantastic recommendations from my hosts) so you have the best of the best to choose from.
As I mentioned in yesterday's Where to Stay blog, I absolutely love going back to Di Rienzo every time that I'm in Rome. Regardless of where I stay, I always make a point to eat at their restaurant. Not only is all of the food incredible, but there is nothing better than sitting outside (especially at night) and marveling at the Pantheon. Whether you go for lunch, dinner, drinks or even a cappuccino, you simply must experience it for yourself whenever you're in Rome.
PIAZZA DELLA ROTONDA, 8
This half-grocery-half-restaurant has a great atmosphere, good wine list and a large variety of excellent Italian products. Their specialty is "Carbonara" and "Cacio e pepe' pasta. You'll want to make a reservation in advance (but be aware: they're closed on Sunday) as it can get pretty crowded.
VIA DEI GIUBBONARI, 21
Traditional food and home made pasta in Campo de' Fiori. The staff is friendly and the food is incredibly well-made and authentic. Campo de' Fiori is one of my favorite areas in all of Rome. If you go during the day, you'll see it as a celebrated and picturesque market - bustling with fruit and vegetable stands, gorgeous flowers and wonderful souvenirs. But as the sun sets and the markets pack up, it quickly turns into a hub for nightlife. No matter when you dine here, you'll love the atmosphere that accompanies Campo de' Fiori.
VIA DEL PELLEGRINO, 11
This is one of the best pizzerias in all of Rome (according to the locals) and it's no secret either because it's always full of people. Don't let the line scare you though, the service is fast and it's worth the wait!
VIA DEL GOVERNO VECCHIO, 114
This was arguably my favorite place we ate in Rome because it was so nice to take a break from all the pizza and pasta! Ginger is an organic oasis of fresh fruits and vegetables (with amazing smoothies) just around the corner from the Spanish Steps. If you need a lighter, healthy lunch before a carb-heavy dinner, Ginger is your spot!
VIA BORGOGNONA, 13
Just a few steps from the Vatican in the Prati neighborhood, this is one of the most beloved places by Romans. Our host told us it's become quite the after-work-watering-hole among locals, but it also offers great cold cuts, cheeses, and you can't go without trying the Trapizzini (stuffed pizza triangles with traditional cheeses).
VIA PROPERZIO, 31
The best gelato in Rome? It depends who you ask! Some of my favorites include:
GROM was started when Guido Martinetti saw a newspaper headline that read "No one in Italy makes gelato like it used to be made." Fast forward to today, and GROM has spread not only all over Italy, but all over the world (even NYC!) But don't let the global franchise fool you- this stuff is incredibly authentic and hands down the best gelato I've ever had.
VIA DEI GIUBBONARI, 52
This well-known café and pastry shop is also the oldest ice cream parlor in Rome. The employees all wear old fashioned uniforms and you can taste the sugar in the air right when you walk in. It gets busy but don't let the line intimidate you. I recommend trying the coconut, tiramisu or pistachio!
VIA DEGLI UFFICI DEL VICARIO, 40
A short walk from Piazza Navona (a must see piazza that's brimming with art) this ice cream shop is unlike the tourist traps across the city. The most noticeable difference? Their flavor menu. For example, their pistachio is derived from the processing of fine Sicilian pistachios of Bronte (which comes with an unexpected and pleasant aftertaste). So if you want a unique spin on traditional flavors, be sure to pay them a visit!
VIA DEL GOVERNO VECCHIO, 112
If you want a truly authentic and local experience, you surely won't find any tourists at Linari. Our friends from Scooteroma (stay tuned for more about them tomorrow) brought us to this patisserie away from the typical Rome sights to experience the hustle and bustle of a typical Roman morning. Remember that scene from Eat Pray Love when Julia Roberts is trying to order a cappuccino amongst a sea of lively Italians? That's exactly how I felt walking into Linari. You'll see people constantly revolving as they come before school or work for a quick morning espresso. We stayed for a bit to enjoy a cappuccino and the best cannoli I've ever eaten. Regardless of if you sit and stay or simply pop in on the go, don't miss this hidden gem if you want a unique cafe experience.
VIA NICOLA ZABAGLIA, 9
Looking for the coolest bars in Rome? Check out some of these:
If you're looking for drinks at a hip private bar, look no further than Jerry Thomas. You can make reservations in advance otherwise, you must know the password. Said password changes frequently, and to discover it you'll find the question hidden on their website's homepage- providing you with the password via email once you respond.
VICOLO CELLINI, 30
We loved Bar Del Fico. It was one of the coolest spots I've visited in Rome. This definitely isn't one of those tourist traps where you drink wine and watch accordion players as they come play for money (now don't get me wrong, that can be fun too!) Bar Del Fico appeared to be full of locals sipping carefully crafted cocktails in a buzzing atmosphere. You can also come here for lunch or dinner if you're not one for nightlife.
VIA DELLA PACE, 34
A vibrant bar with a popular terrace, this is a great spot for cocktails and aperitivos (also with impressive chandeliers and modern art).
VIA DEL POLITEAMA, 4/6
Salotto 42 was born in Rome as a book bar in the beautiful Piazza di Pietra (facing the Temple of Hadrian). They offer a new way of hanging out and sending the evenings in a unique atmosphere as the interiors, staff, cocktails and music make it one of a kind. This trademark gathered together the cosmopolitan crowd that loves to hang out in great surroundings.
PIAZZA DI PIETRA, 42
So there you have it! While I certainly didn't include every wonderful eatery in Rome (because that would be impossible) this list should give you a great start with plenty of options to choose from as you eat your way through Rome. Have you been to any other spots in the Eternal City that are worth noting? Let me know in the comments below!
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post as we talk about my favorite topic: all the wonderful things to DO in Rome!