Where to begin to describe the pleasure of eating in Rome? Everything we love is here – pizza, pasta, fish, meats and vegetable dishes prepared, in the best restaurants, with a wonderful attention to the glories of local produce, fish and meat. There are wonderful meals in every price range even though for the moment, those paying with the dollar will find few bargains. Thin crusted Roman pizza, pasta matriciana, cacio e pepe and carbonara are among the treasures of Roman cuisine. We have enjoyed excellent meals at old fashioned and informal trattorias and at newer restaurants offering a more modern and minimalist approach to cooking.
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This informal trattoria located in the Ghetto near the Ponte Garibaldi serves the usual Roman specialties, but the piece de resistance is the house special artichoke dish, carciofi al matone. Deliciously soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, these artichokes are totally unique and totally addictive and hold their own against the typical carciofi alla guidea. If you love artichokes, whatever else you order doesn’t really matter.
Small and crowded, this bustling trattoria in the Ghetto serves bountiful and delicious plates of Roman specialities. The staff is warm and encouraging; it’s like having your mother excited that you’re eating. Make sure to reserve or there can be a long wait. Favorites: cacio e peppe (pasta with pecorino and black pepper); pasta and chickpea soup; fried artichokes; osso bucco.
Very good coffee to be had at this landmark coffee shop near the Pantheon.
A must stop for coffee lovers. It simply the best, richly flavored with a thick crema on top. It comes automatically with sugar so specify “senza zucchero,” without sugar, if you prefer it plain. There are also pastries and chocolates to accompany the coffee and lots of treats to take home. There are two Sant’ Eustachhio cafes in the square; this is the one that doesn’t look so fancy.
A popular, lively, very informal, crowded pizza restaurant on the charming Via del Governo Vecchio. No reservations are taken. Lines to get in are quite long, and on our most recent visit, we waited 90 minutes – ONCE SEATED – for our pizzas to arrive at the table. Bottom line, no pizza, however good, is worth a 2 hour wait!
An upscale restaurant located in a 16th century building that manages to be both informal and elegant, Quinzi e Gabrieli specializes in extraordinarily refined, simple and exquisite fish dishes. One can truly eat like royalty here and yet have a light and simple meal. There are abundant seafood platters as well as pasta and cooked fish preparations. A glass-enclosed kitchen separates the dining rooms which were decorated in a style evoking Sunrise at Portofino, Sunrise at Capri and Night-time at Elba using 18th century techniques. There is an outside terrace for dining in nice weather. The crowd is smart and the waiters gracious and welcoming. The bread basket is irresistible, The only downside is that the dinner menu is very expensive; there is a less expensive preset menu at lunch. We think the fish dishes are better than the pastas. Favorites: seafood carpaccio; steamed seafood salad; sauteed cuttlefish and artichokes; seabass baked in a salt crust; sea bream acqua pazza; steamed shrimp; a beautiful fresh fruit platter; chocolate souffle
A bustling shop filled with exquisite and delicious food both to take away and for savoring in the tiny restaurant space. The eye is dazzled by the display of cheeses, meat, olive oil, vinegar and wine, and the soul is comforted by the perfection of the ingredients and the cuisine. The bread comes from their bakery down the street – this includes pizza bianca, crusty white bread and fig and raisin bread. There are classics like pasta amatriciana as well as raw fish tartars and onion soup with foie gras. The pastas are outstanding and shouldn’t be missed. They sometimes surprise you with a small plate of cookies with hot chocolate sauce for dunking. There is an excellent, fairly-priced wine list, and wines are available by the glass. The wait staff is pleasant and accommodating. Favorites: rigatoni amatriciana; pasta cacio e pepe; salad with cooked artichokes; the dazzling array of buffala mozzarellas and burrata; eggplant caponata; the very fresh fish dishes
This upscale and serene restaurant with its beautiful Murano chandeliers, well appointed tables and gracious staff offers a unique approach to the typical Roman cuisine. While there are a few classics such as cacio e pepe on the menu, most dishes demonstrate the chef’s imaginative artistry. The meal begins with an amuse bouche; on one night this included extraordinary buffala ricotta and buffala mozzarella served wotj eggplant puree, sundried tomatoes and olives. The pastas here were extraordinary– delicate and yet intensely flavored. For the second course, unfortunately, we found the fish disappointing–elaborately prepared but not particularly flavorful. The meats were a better option, and they even offer buffalo. If you finish dinner before 11:00 pm and you love gelato, one option is to have dessert at the extraordinary Gelateria del Teatro which is just across the road. Favorites: sauteed calamari, artichokes and bacon (they’ll also make this appetizer without the bacon); thick black ink spaghetti with cuttlefish, garlic, chilies and ricotta salata; tomato tonarelli with clams and broccoli rape; grilled lamb chops; grilled and sliced veal with chicory, wild mushrooms and black truffles; Monte Sangallo – chocolate, chestnuts and meringue
This is where the rich and famous go to dine in Rome, and your experience there will be decided by whether you’re treated like an insider or a tourist by the head waiter. Despite an occasional flash of attitude, the food remains quite good, and the pasta fagioli and fish are delicious.
Very informal, bustling trattoria in a working class neighborhood of Rome. There is a menu but, in fact, the waiter recites the daily offerings and you make your choices from these. Everyone starts with a pasta – large and bountiful – and most of the specials are hearty meat dishes though it’s possible to have a second course of salads and vegetables. The wine list has lots of reasonably priced local wines. It’s a good choice for a large group, and they serve quite late. The staff is busy but quite friendly and helpful. The food is hearty and bountiful rather than subtle and sophisticated. Favorites: Cacio e peppe; pasta Norma (rigatoni with tomato sauce, parmesean cheese and eggplant); roman artichokes; puntarella (local vegetable with anchovy and olive oil sauce); tiramisu
This small, crowded, welcoming trattoria in Trastevere serves refined and absolutely delicious food. The specialty is fish, but there are meat dishes on the menu as well. The pastas, both classics and inventive originals, are excellent, and they’ll happily divide the portions so you can try several if you wish. The extensive wine list has excellent and reasonably priced choices. The amuse bouche sets the tone for the evening’s meal: one night it was fresh anchovy and and tomatoes on a bed of pureed lentils. Even the salad, with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots, was tasty and very fresh. There are two small dining rooms; we prefer the one in the front as its lighter and airier. Favorites: zuppa fagioli ai fruiti de mare (borlotti bean soup with octopus, clams and calamari); linguini with fresh anchovies and tomatoes; pezzaogna roasted with potatoes, tomatoes and olives; grilled shrimp; Carciofi Alla Giudia (Jewish style fried artichokes)
Across Ponte Garibaldi, is this bustling, lively, very informal pizza restaurant, nicknamed “the morgue” because of the white marble tables lining the room. The pizzas are Roman style with thin thin crusts and a variety of toppings, and they’re delicious. They are lots of varieties to choose from, and they average about 8 1/2 euros. A special hearty salad on the menu, the Capriciosa with leafy greens, beans, olives, artichokes and hard boiled egg is a nice compliment. On Friday and Saturday night, it’s best not to go after 8:00 pm if you don’t want to wait in a long line.
A gracious inviting trattoria in the heart of Trastevere with an upscale crowd. The menu offers both traditional Roman specialties and raw and cooked seafood dishes; the whole fish is cooked in a variety of ways including acqua pazza, al forno and in a salt crust and there are meat dishes and home-made bresola. The reasonably priced wine list has many interesting choices. In nice weather, it’s lovely to dine on the outside terrace. Favorites: fish tartare with avocado; linguini with clams; seabass baked with potatoes; tiramisu
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