Despite a growing international food scene, the heart, and stomach, of Rome still lies in its world-renowned local pizzerias and trattorias. So when in Rome, eat as the Romans do. Fall in love with the dazzling regional produce and the mouth-watering flavor combinations that have made this great European nation a synonym for ‘foodie heaven’. Featuring pizzas and pastas aplenty, follow our guide for a taste of the best Italy can offer.
Restaurant, Romanian, $$$
Da Enzo trattoria, Travestere | Courtesy of Da Enzo
The consistently high quality of the food at Da Enzo has earned it its status as a true local favorite. The restaurant’s ethos fresh, organic ingredients. Produce comes from nearby farms and everything, from the olive oil to the cheese, is sourced as locally as possible. The restaurant is set in a tranquil area in Rome’s Trastevere region across the Tiber River. This wonderfully medieval area with its fascinating Jewish influences, charming alleys and stunning mix of architecture, is a great place to wander about in the evenings. Make a stop off at Da Enzo, this traditional Roman trattoria with its simple but welcoming decor.
A heavenly chocolate tiramisu from Ristorante All'Oro | Courtesy of Stefan Hunt
The delightful roof terrace at All’Oro seats a mere six people, making this venture into haute-Roman cuisine a highly exclusive one. A visit to this Michelin starred restaurant guarantees a whole host of fusion delights, finding a perfect balance between tradition and innovation. Classic Roman favorites are given creative twists to ensure a truly unforgettable dining experience. The restaurant’s celebrated dish of roebuck steak with pâté, ricotta, raspberries, and star anise is a prime example of the memorable nouveau-Roman dishes that have earned this restaurant its prestigious reputation.
You’ll find friendly service and authentic Roman cuisine in Flavio al Velavevodetto | Courtesy of Flavio al Velavevodetto
Flavio al Velavevodetto‘s changing menu features seasonal dishes made with ingredients grown in their own private garden. Use the waiters’ expertise to pair these with one of the restaurant’s fantastic wines With over 200 labels to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find a dream match to complement the sublimely rich and full flavors of the food here. Terracotta walls, and ambient lighting make the dining experience here truly magical, and the restaurant’s outdoor space is wonderful too. Sit on the veranda enjoying a stunning traditional meal on a balmy summer’s evening for the true Flavio al Velavevodetto experience.
Spurning fuss and superfluous flourishes, the tiny menu of just five different Roman-style pizzas at Farine lets the food do the talking. And talking is certainly not something diners will be doing when eating out at Farine, every moment here will be spent filling your mouth with as much of the fluffy dough and creamy cheese as possible. Each pizza is made with love and expertise. The dough is left to rise for a whole 72 hours, with outstanding results. Despite its basic and simple style, the budget prices and deliciously authentic food make Farine a firm local favorite.
Few people know of this tiny gem near one of Rome’s bustling Jewish piazzas. But for those lucky few let into the secret of Sora Margherita, it is a firm favorite. Rather than passing by the unassuming, door-less entrance, push your way through the dangling red ribbons and manoeuvre your way through the throngs of locals sitting at tables crammed almost on top of each other. Admire the walls covered in vintage posters, newspaper cuttings, and thank you notes from happy former customers as you select one of the delicious pasta dishes from the practically daily changing array of delicious pastas on the hand-written menu. The emphasis on home-cooking and the welcoming atmosphere lend this trattoria the feel of a family kitchen. For those looking to eat like a local, when in Rome, Sora Margherita is the one for you.
Not simply a restaurant, Roscioli also comprises a deli and bakery. The ingredients for the restaurant’s dishes come from the deli which has a range of over 400 cheeses, 250 hams, and 2,800 wines available. Needless to say, the variety of the menu is staggering. Be prepared to be blown away by the Italian delicacies on offer. Try the spaghetti all’amatriciana, made with Roman Pecorino cheese and gourmet local bacon. The bottle-covered interior reflects the restaurant’s quality credentials in Roman’s culinary world. Just 200 meters down the road you’ll find Rimessa Roscioli, its sister venue, which hosts wine tastings.
The ambiance at La Carbonara simply invites guests in with its charmingly rustic interior, including fascinating Italian graffiti on the walls, its welcoming service, and warm atmosphere. Owner and chef, Donna Teresa, has run the restaurant for over 30 years and diners at La Carbonara can always be sure of real Italian home-cooking. Traditional dishes are served up in hearty portions, giving La Carbonara the cozy feel of an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. Very few places in Rome offer such quality for such good value for money.
Aromatic smells and impeccable service greet diners as they enter L’Arcangelo, and if that isn’t enough to convince them to stay, the wonderfully retro wood-paneled interior is sure to do the trick. Exceptional quality food is served up at better value prices than many of Rome’s better known restaurants. The lunch tasting menu is particularly good value. Avoid the tourist traps and famous names of Rome’s city and head to L’Arcangelo for authentic Roman cuisine, combined with expert flair, and exquisite presentation.
Antico Arco's crispy mozzarella, tuna roe, and tomato confit | Courtesy of Antico Arco
The stylishly minimalist interior lends the restaurant a sleek and contemporary atmosphere. Diners are guaranteed attentive service, an excellent wine selection, and pristine white décor at Antico Arco. But this modernism does not extend as far as the menu which, thankfully, is a showcase of the finest traditional Italian dishes, made with traditional Italian passion. Located on top of Gianicolo hill, the restaurant offers fantastic views over the whole city and its setting, on the opposite bank of the Tiber, removes it from the tourist traps and bustling streets of Rome’s city center.
For those looking to splurge to receive the best of the best of what Roman cuisine can offer, Il Pagliaccio is the ideal option. This exclusive restaurant seats just 28 diners and the dining experience here is always a truly special event. As the only double Michelin starred restaurant in the city, Il Pagliaccio has a prestigious reputation and diners travel from far around to experience the gourmet Italian cuisine here. Traditional, every-day Roman favorites are transformed into sensational Italian delicacies by the quality ingredients and master cookery. Expect expertise and minute attention to detail at Il Pagliaccio.