Confused about where to eat in Rome? Just like every other Italian town, Rome has a wonderful regional cuisine to offer with traditional dishes that dreams are made of: just think about delectable pastas such as amatriciana, carbonara, cacio e pepe and gricia, then continue with meat specialties such as braised oxtail or abbacchio, and finish with ricotta-based desserts… I mean, what’s not to love?
Of course, as it often happens with large cities, finding the right restaurant for lunch and dinner or even for a rich aperitivo, can be daunting: we are all afraid we are going to end up in a dreaded tourist trap, where food is mediocre and the bill is way too steep. So here are some wonderful places I’ve tried while in town – most of which were suggested by local friends who know how important food is to me while on vacation. So here are our favorite restaurants where to eat in Rome:
Where: Via dell’Archetto 26 (right behind the Fontana di Trevi)
When: This place is perfect for dinner, especially if you want to eat late-ish. Much loved as an after theater, after cinema hangout, this restaurant is laid back and ideal even if you don’t have much time to spare, as the service is very quick.
What: Pasta!!! L’Archetto is a spaghetteria, so it specializes in… well, of course, spaghetti. Although it does offer pizza and a couple of meat main courses, I definitely suggest you order spaghetti, as there are 50 something recipes to choose from. I sort of like to stick with traditional recipes, and the amatriciana – tomato sauce with guanciale and pecorino – is amazing, but I’ve heard many other options are more than valid.
How much: This is a cheap option, especially considering you are in the Centro Storico. Pasta dishes (which are nice and big) are around 10 €, and the house wine, which is great, runs at 4 € for 1/4 of a liter. Can’t go wrong with that!
Trattoria degli Amici
Where: Piazza di S. Egidio, 6 (Trastevere)
When: Either lunch or dinner. On the weekend you might want to book a table, especially if it’s nice out and you want to dine outdoors.
What: This is a very special restaurant and I highly recommend it: run by a non-profit organization, it employes several disabled young men and women, in order to have them lead a more fulfilling, independent life. This, alone, is a great reason for me to choose Trattoria degli Amici, but if you need more here is another one: the food is freaking amazing. Try the mixed appetizer platter, with fresh burrata, affettati, and bruschetta, and then continue with one of their delicious pasta dishes: the spaghetti with garlic, oil, anchovies and friend breadcrumbs are to die for! If you are looking for something refreshing and light, the salad of raw fennel, oranges and black olives is a must in Rome. And, for dessert, their tartlets with fresh ricotta and black cherries are just incredible.
How much: This trattoria is reasonably priced, and all their earnings go towards the non-profit organization that runs the place so, really, it’s a win-win situation.
Where: Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 134 (Trastevere)
When: Either lunch or dinner. Again, it’s best to reserve a table, especially on weekends!
What: Amazing and very typical Roman fare is served here, and although the menu is short and simple, it offers everything you might want to taste while visiting the Eternal City. The atmosphere is down-to-earth and traditional, with red and white checkered tablecloths and salami hanging from the ceiling; the food is great: the carbonara, especially, is perfectly executed and so is the coda alla vaccinara (stewed oxtail). As a side dish, try the puntarelle with anchovies and chili pepper – a real delight!
How much: Pasta dishes are around 10 €, meat dishes a bit more, all in all, the prices are great.
Where: Via Portico d’Ottavia 1 (Jewish Ghetto)
When: Open for lunch and dinner
What: The Jewish community in Rome is one of the most ancient in Europe and its wonderful culinary tradition, called giudaico-romanesca, is an absolute must try while in Rome. Su’ Ghetto offers it in a relaxed, contemporary atmosphere, with a menu that is very interesting and varied. The restaurant is 100% kosher and features incredible renditions of Roman favorites: the affettato, made with goose, turkey and beef, is a delightful appetizer, the carbonara with smoked goose meat and no cheese is savory and delicious, and the gnocchi with stewed beef is also a great choice.
How much: Prices are around 15 € per dish, in line with the other restaurants in the area.
Where: Piazza della Rotonda, 4 (Centro Storico)
When: The ideal place for a rich aperitivo
What: This salumeria has been around for centuries and its rich history is showcased on the walls, including documents from the 1600s: located in the same square of the beautiful Pantheon, it’s a great place to stop, sit and recharge after a day of sightseeing. The protagonists here are, needless to say, local cheeses and cold cuts of all sorts, all of which are so decadent and delicious you will have a hard time choosing which ones to try. You can accompany your snack with some great and very reasonably priced wine and freshly baked bread. What’s not to love?
How much: You can stuff yourself with delicious local products and wine for a very reasonable price… plus after a “meranda” like this you probably will want to skip dinner!
Do you have suggestions on where to eat in Rome? Please share them with me in the comments below!
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