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Osteria Fernanda
Photograph: Osteria Fernanda

The 22 best restaurants in Rome

Enjoy delicious bites and Roman cuisine at the best restaurants in Rome. After all, when in Rome, one must eat like the Romans...

Livia Hengel
Written by
Livia Hengel
Federica Bocco

We all know the saying ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans’, but to ‘do’ as the Romans, one must eat as the Romans do. That’s good news for visitors because the best restaurants in Rome are some of the best on the planet, not to mention some of the most romantic. The menus in Rome are a celebration of flavours and ingredients that invoke images of tradition, delicious, delicious images at that. There are so many things to do in Rome that trying to tick them all off is nigh on impossible task, but you might as well try. That’ll take plenty of sustenance, so get that appetite ready for something special. 

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Best restaurants in Rome

Felice a Testaccio
Photograph: Courtesy

1. Felice a Testaccio

Testaccio is widely considered the best neighbourhood for Roman cuisine, and this eatery is its unrivalled star. With retro checkered floors, white tablecloths, and a tantalizing array of traditional dishes, the old-school restaurant makes a perfect leisurely weekend lunch with family or a romantic choice for a gourmet dinner. Cacio e pepe is Da Felice’s signature dish; this tangle of spaghetti, melted cheese and black pepper comes freshly tossed at the table for you.

Seu Pizza Illuminati
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor/il_viaggiatore1982

2. Seu Pizza Illuminati

This is everyone’s favourite pizzeria, so book ahead for these decadent Neapolitan pies. The restaurant is refreshingly contemporary, with neon lights and a minimalist décor that will appeal to all, and offers dozens of mouthwatering pies, from classics like Margherita and marinara to more creative varieties featuring ingredients like liqourice, shichimi togarashi and eggnog. The fritti, or fried starters, are an excellent way to whet your appetite before digging into the main course.

Osteria Fernanda
Photograph: Osteria Fernanda

3. Osteria Fernanda

Osteria Fernanda is on par with many of the city’s most celebrated establishments. The menu is exceedingly avant-garde, and the dishes are at once ‘comfort food’ while providing an innovative culinary experience: look out for the rigatoni with a sweet roots-based sauce and snails and eel with radishes and Campari. The extensive wine list features notable champagnes that will help you wash down the just-as-delicious desserts. It’s worth noting, however, that a meal at Fernanda will set you back quite a bit. 


4. Marigold

This micro-bakery, café-restaurant brings together the best of Italian seasonal cuisine and minimalist Scandinavian design. The menu changes daily and features fresh, foraged ingredients prepared in creative ways like stracciatella with artichokes and zucchini with cardoncelli mushrooms and walnut pesto. Stop by on weekends for brunch, which includes avocado toast with poached eggs and fresh cinnamon swirls.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Michael C.

5. Roscioli

A household name, eating at the deli-restaurant Roscioli is an absolute must while in town. This culinary haven lies just steps from Campo de Fiori and serves Roman classics alongside a mouthwatering array of fresh cheeses, cold cuts and pickled products straight from the deli counter. It’s a classic haunt beloved by food critics and travellers alike, so make sure to book a table in advance.

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With its whimsical interiors and thoughtful design touches, Coromandel is one of the loveliest restaurants to cosy up in on rainy days and chilly nights. It has an Alice in Wonderland feel and serves the city’s best brunch, with a tantalizing array of pancakes, eggs, cakes and coffee treats. It is also a great choice for lunch and dinner: sample creative dishes like roast suckling pig with bok choy and a sweet-sour onions sauce, or scallop tartare with passion fruit and bacon. You can't miss the exceptional soufflè with vanilla and Armagnac cream.

Enoteca La Torre

7. Enoteca La Torre

Set within Anna Venturini Fendi’s magnificent Villa Laetitia, Enoteca La Torre captures the essence of la dolce vita. This high-end restaurant serves artful plates that complement its grand setting: helmed by Domenico Stile, who hails from Campania, you’ll find Southern Italian ingredients like buffalo milk cheeses, Sorrento lemons and fresh fish featured on the menu. For a real treat, opt for the seven-course surprise tasting menu selected by the chef – though, be warned, Enoteca La Torre is for special occasions. Its dishes (and especially its set menus) are rather expensive. 

8. Meccanismo

In the heart of Rome, Meccanismo Bar & Bistrot is the perfect spot for lunch and aperitivo in Trastevere’s Piazza Trilussa. Their extensive a la carte menu has international options for all (burgers, salads, cous cous, meat, fish, and more), but make sure to check out what’s cooking on the daily menu. Handwritten on a slip of paper, the menu will be given to you by your server, and features three to five pasta and main dish options based on daily availability of produce. If you’re lucky, a gricia ubriaca will be available: a twist on the classic Roman dish, with wine turning your plate of pasta, guanciale and pecorino a dark red.

Photograph: Courtesy

9. Giulia

Located on one of Rome’s most elegant streets, Giulia is a romantic restaurant that brings flavour and flair to the heart of the Eternal City. Chef Pierluigi Gallo, who came from the Campania region and honed his skills in Abruzzo, reimagines classic comfort food that will delight diners. Oxtail is served with celery and cocoa ketchup, while spaghetti is coated in a red sauce made with baby octopus, sea snails and sea urchins.

Ristorante Moma
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Moma

10. Ristorante Moma

A Michelin star establishment, Moma offers a stellar dining experience with special-occasion prices to match. Named after the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it’s located right in front of the US Embassy and attracts a business crowd that enjoys expertly executed dishes. You’ll find thoughtful re-interpretations of classic dishes alongside modern plates, like ravioli filled with cod and caramelized onions and chestnut flour lasagne with vegetables and cheese, all appropriately plated like works of art.


11. Santo Palato

A new wave of traditional Jewish-Roman cuisine reigns at Santo Palato (literally: sacred palate), where abundance is a must. Meat features prominently on the menu of this modern trattoria, and offal is a must-try. The restaurant promises a holistic approach to cooking that refuses waste and is set on lifting and updating authentic central Italian recipes. And if you fancy a vino (why wouldn’t you?), the cantina sports over 800 wines. Make sure to reserve a table in advance for this place.

Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor/Va.Do

12. Va.Do

Located in Rome’s most hipster neighborhood, Va.Do al Pigneto is a restaurant boasting a modern, industrial design and an eclectic menu that will suit all kinds of appetites. Fish lovers, meat-eaters and vegetarians will all feel at home even while browsing through some international dishes like chicken curry, ravioli with pork cheek and spaghetti with tuna tartare. If you’re craving Roman classics, worry not: you can find those here alongside desserts the likes of tiramisu, almond-flour chocolate cake and frozen treats.


This cosy family-run restaurant on a steep street on the hill of Monteverde caters to your every fancy: whether you’re craving meat, fish, vegetables, dessert or all of the above, the menu here will not disappoint. You’ll find plenty of revisited recipes for traditional dishes, made with quality local produce and paired with innovative garnish. The menu changes every few months and the managers are known for their cordiality and kindness, so it’s a place to visit often. Their duck breast is a must-have.

Trattoria Pennestri
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Trattoria Pennestri

14. Trattoria Pennestri

With its cosy interiors and warm service, Trattoria Pennestri is the kind of restaurant that invites you to linger and enjoy a leisurely meal with good company. Like the ambience, the menu is rustic but refined, with a curated selection of inventive dishes that make the most of the season’s ingredients. The wine list is also wonderful, with an ample selection by the glass. Save room for one of the city’s best desserts: a sweet and salty chocolate mousse served with Sardinian flatbread and infused with rosemary.

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  • Pizza

Stefano Callegari, the mastermind behind Trapizzino, invented this innovative street food: the lovechild of pizza and tramezzino, taking the thick dough from its mother and the triangular shape from its father. The result is a soft and mouthwateringly flavourful pouch filled with deliciousness ranging from pork tongue in green sauce and eggplant parmesan to meatballs with tomato sauce and chicken cacciatore, plus vegetarian options like Roman artichoke and misticanza – a mixture of leafy greens sautéed in garlic and red chilli pepper. Trapizzino has various locations in Rome: Testaccio, Trastevere, Ponte Milvio and Piazza Bologna.

16. Barred

Avant-garde Italian cuisine is the key to Barred, a restaurant between the areas of San Giovanni and Re di Roma. Founded by two brothers, Barred is a celebration of nature’s gifts, as seasonable foods are proposed in daring combinations. The widely varied menu changes several times a year, so you know you’re getting fresher than fresh food here. If you can’t pick between the many unusual offerings, they also have a tasting menu of four dishes chosen by the kitchen. The drink list includes over 20 pages of wines from all over Europe, as well as ciders and beers.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian

A picturesque little eatery located on a quieter street in Trastevere, Da Enzo is one of the more characteristic trattorias in Rome and draws a crowd for its simple, honest fare and handful of outdoor tables. Eating here feels like a family gathering, with abundant portions expertly prepared. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu – from carbonara and meatballs to braised artichokes and tiramisu – but show up early, or you’re in for a long wait.

18. Mare Nostrum

Mare Nostrum (Latin for ‘our sea’) is Roman by circumstance, Sicilian by origin, and Mediterranean by choice. This restaurant in Trastevere takes inspiration from seafood across the Med and in a landlocked city that has plenty of good seafood restaurants, Mare Nostrum is in a league of its own. An example of the unusual but tasteful juxtapositions is their popular Paccheri Creuza de Mà: pasta with salmon tartare, greenified by a light touch of basil pesto, and finished off with Parmesan fondue, a taste of oranges and pistachio crumbs.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza

Traditional Roman pizza is served paper-thin with charred edges and fragrant ingredients in the heart of Testaccio. This historic, no-frills pizzeria is Rome in a nutshell; gritty, delicious, brusque but friendly, all at once. It’s only open in the evenings, and it fills up quickly, especially on weekends, so show up early to snag a table. The rice supplì and potato croquettes make for excellent starters.

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The humble supplì is Rome’s most quintessential street food snack. The deep-fried rice ball has its roots in the city’s Cucina povera (“poor man’s cuisine”) tradition, which makes the most of simple ingredients. Today, you’ll find modern variants at chef Arcangelo Dandini’s beloved eatery. Try the supplì with butter and anchovies or the arrabbiata flavour for a kick.

Da Cesare al Casaletto
Photograph: Courtesy

21. Da Cesare al Casaletto

Located at the end of the 8 tram that snakes its way through the Trastevere neighbourhood, Cesare al Casaletto’s location outside the city centre hasn’t dampened its popularity among tourists and locals alike. This casual trattoria is the go-to for Rome’s many food writers, bloggers and passionate eaters, thanks to its familial atmosphere and delicious dishes. Order the fried gnocchi served on a melted cacio e pepe sauce, and don't shy away from the minty Roman tripe and oxtail, prepared to perfection.

22. Hamburgeseria

Indulge in American burgers with a made-in-Italy flair at this eclectic pub in San Lorenzo. With its mismatched chairs and tables and wine-stocked shelves, Hamburgeseria looks halfway between a cosy restaurant and a hipster co-working space. Every burger on the menu is filled with five local ingredients – the Danish meat (or fish in some cases) always meets its par with a contrasting vegetable, cheese and sauce – all made in-house. They also have great fried starters, wraps and salads, but hamburgers are king.

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