Want to know something crazy? I rarely go out to eat Italian even though I live in Rome, Italy. …Hmmm, maybe I’ll regret this fact once I’m back in America, haha :]
Luca and I usually prefer to “travel” with our meals, and go for sushi, fusion, or Indian when we go out. When friends and family visit me, they aren’t looking to eat Asian, though!
Obviously, there is no shortage of Italian restaurants in Rome…but a lot of them are geared towards tourists, with high prices and average food. After three years here, a bit of research and a little bit of trial and error, I think I’ve found some of the best Italian spots to go to, and I continue to bring my visiting friends and family to these same places over and over. Don’t get me wrong, I’m rarely disappointed by the typical Roman trattorias that can be found on virtually every corner (let’s be honest: what’s not to love about pasta or wine?), but these particular restaurants just have something extra special.
Just so you know, I’ve included the links to their official websites, but only some of them have the option of English. If they don’t, all of them are on TripAdvisor, so just search there if you need more info!
This is literally right off the major shopping street, Via del Corso, and has THE BEST PASTA DISHES!! No one I have ever gone with or recommended it to has been disappointed! With great house wine, friendly servers, and an atmosphere fit for the “cool” kids, it’s the perfect place to stop for a lunch mid-shopping. It’s also within walking distance to the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon, so go for dinner and then see the sights lit up at night! Lastly, it’s literally about five steps from a small indie theater which shows movies in original language, so it could also be a good chill night giving your feet a break from walking the cobblestones :]
As a rule, I try to stay away from the “tourist” restaurants on popular squares with promoters standing outside trying to get passersby to sit down. However, I make an exception for Baccanale. Located in Campo de’ Fiori, I’ve taken every visitor I’ve had there. With well-made traditional dishes and good house wine, its prices are actually mid-range despite its optimal location in the square! The red-and-white checked tablecloths add that “I’m in Italy” magic.
Super close to Campo De’ Fiori, where you’ll want to go for cocktails after dinner, Roscioli is always PACKED. I have actually only been once, but I still vividly remember the amazing cheese plate and perfect wine pairing I had there. The Carbonara (a typical Roman pasta dish) is rated one of the best in Rome! The restaurant is small and crowded upstairs with meats and cheese for sale in the front, but if you can get a table downstairs in the cozy wine cellar, you won’t be disappointed. Luca recommends going for the antipasto, which is the perfect time to sample their famous meats and cheeses without paying the more expensive dinner prices.
A short walk across the river from Piazza Navona, very close to Castel Sant’Angelo.
This gem is one of Luca and my go-to date night restaurants. It’s always hoppin’ but, taking up two spacious levels, it never feels crowded. Literally everything I have ever eaten here is good, but I can never resist getting their pizza which is made in the “Napolitana” style – the one with the thick, gummy crust. YUM: If you like cocktails (which I do!), theirs are amazing – particularly the Moscow Mule!
If you’re looking for good pizza, look no further! Again, I love the “Napolitana” style pizza with its thick crust, and that’s how they do it here. If you’re not in a pizza mood, though, it’s still worth going: one time, Luca and I went for lunch craving pizza, but the pizza oven didn’t open until dinner. We weren’t disappointed by our backup choice of salmon burgers and zucchini fries! They always have at least ten seasonal or artisanal beers to choose from, with a knowledgeable staff who can recommend beers based on your preferences. Once again, this place fills up, so it’s best to reserve ahead of time!
Did I miss any? Write them in the comments below! And, as always, letme know what you think of these spots!
Buon appetito! :]