The Best in Rome
Rome Restaurants: SPANISH STEPS to PIAZZA DEL POPOLO
Palatium — Enoteca Regionale del Lazio
In the heart of the shopping district, an informal place serving up the regional specialties of Lazio, from the vineyards and farms surrounding Rome, run as showcase by the regional government. A fine range of local wines by the glass, cheeses and regional culinary specialities artfully presented, such as fried sardines, pastas and "salumi", trippa alla romana, gnocchi with zucca. Great for brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks. Take-out dishes.
Via Frattini 94 tel 06 692 02132 €€
Modern variations on traditional Roman cuisine with an emphasis on funghi porcini and truffles — flan of cauliflower and shrimp, polenta and baccalà with white truffles, interesting pasta dishes, grilled meats and fish, a small but delicious dessert selection, decent wine list.
Cozy but elegant atmosphere. €€€
Via Belsiana 30 Roma tel 06 6794969
Tartufi & Friends
Dedicated to the rare and wonderful truffle, this tiny restaurant serves everything from truffled bruschetta to truffled omlettes, truffled pasta, to gelato with pine nut, figs and truffled honey, to apple pie with just a hint of trufle. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Respectable wine list and full bar. Free WiFi if you have time to dawdle, and take-out available if you're in a hurry. Fills up for lunch so it's best to reserve, or stop at an off hour. The adjacent store sells truffles, trufle oil and trufled panini. €€€
Via Borgognona 4e tel 06 679 4980
Osteria del Tempo Perso
This charming restaurant is one of the few places in the area where you can find authentic Roman cuisine at reasonable prices. Whether you choose to eat on the enclosed patio, or indoors in the dining room with its ancient beamed celiing and brick walls, you'll have a pleasant lunch or dinner. The menu is laden with the classic Roman pastas — tonnarelli alla grica, cacio e pepe, matriciana and sugo alla vaccinara.
Second courses included the traditional saltimbocca alla romana, trippa, involtini and wonderful Roman roast lamb, abbacchio scottadito, as well as fresh fish dishes. Save room for dessert. Their tiramisu is made in house. Start or end your meal with a drink in the comfortable bar area.
Just steps away from Piazza del Popolo on a quiet side street, the place has been a long-time favorite of staffers at the American Embassy. And it's one of the few restaurants to serve non-stop from
11 am to midnight Closed Wednesdays €€€
Via dell'Oca 43 (around the corner from Piazza del Popolo)
tel 06 321 1508 www.osteriatempopersoroma.com
Just across from the Palazzo Medici, atop the Pincio hill on the Trinità dei Monti, with a view of the Roman rooftops, this pleasant café-restaurant is open continuously from first coffee of the morning till the last nightcap of the night. In warmer weather, find a table in the lovely garden. A wide selection of coffee specialties, ice creams, and wines is available. There’s a full menu at lunch and dinner and the food is fine, but the story here is the outstanding location and atmosphere. €€
Viale Trinità dei Monti tel. 06.678 5678
Also recommend by Sidney and Michael Cresci.
Read about them on our Meet the Romans pages.
La Luna d'Oro
Finally, the perfect place to stop for lunch when you're out shopping or museum hopping near Piazza del Popolo. This new Rome restaurant has the feeling of a covered patio, yet we found it cozy even on a chilly, rainy day. The menu centers around a good selection of light salads, with seafood, greens and the like. Daily specials include a small sampling soup, meat, fish and pasta dishes.
Via dei Greci 24 tel 06.3600 1716 Closed Sunday
If you’re looking for a haven to escape the crowds of the historic center, you can sit down for a proper and exceptionally delicious lunch here. The prix fixe menu is slightly more expensive than some other places(19 Euro, not including bottled water, wine, coffee or dessert) but it’s more than worth it. The items on the menu may vary from day to day but that the ingredients are always fresh and top quality. At dinner, Ciro’s is a first-class seafood restaurant with prices to match! A sample lunch menu might include: Perfectly toasted bruschetta layered with a healthy piece of smoked swordfish and topped with freshly chopped tomatoes, served on a bed of greens. Then either spaghetti with clams or spaghetti all’amatriciana (a classically Roman dish with spicy with tomato sauce and pancetta, Italy’s more pungent version of bacon). And a choice of grilled fish or meat, garnished with crunchy potato slices, and grilled zucchini and eggplant. It’s worth it to splurge and pay extra for dessert – one of the best tortino al cioccolato in town. €€€
Via Vittoria, 22 (between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo) tel 06 323 0530
Recommended by Gail Milissa Grant
Read about her on our Meet the Romans pages.
For decades this classically chic Rome restaurant has been a favorite of the famous and those who follow them, so don’t expect a table front and center unless you have “star” credentials. With dark-wood furnishings, white linens and paintings of the buon salotto era, the atmosphere has the effect of still-life perfection. The proprietors, from the Emilia Romagna region, offer a menu noted more for its consistency than its novelty. Favorites include the tortellini in brodo, duck ragù over pappardelle pasta, and their much-applauded pasta Bolognese, or from the sea, the mazzancolle al curry (shellfish), the moscardini (tiny octopus) breaded and fried in vinegar seasoned with red pepper, or the salmon tartar. Finish with one of the home-made desserts or a scoop of their gelato Lancusi. €€€
Piazza del Popolo, 1-2 tel. 06.361 1426 Closed Monday.
Also recommended by both Rochelle Cheever and Laura Antinucci.
Read about Rochelle and Laura on our Meet the Romans pages.
In the cellar of a 17th century palazzo, this family-run restaurant serves an elegant rendition of traditional Roman cuisine, fresh fish, home made desserts.
Via Vittoria 51 (between Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo)
tel 06 6994 0810
Recommend by Susan Doul, who says,
"It's cozy and welcoming, with splashy art painted by the owner's brother who goes by the cute name of B.Zarro They clearly care about the quality of their food and always make you feel at home."
Read about Susan on our Meet the Romans pages.
A true gastronomic center, occupying a square block, 'Gusto comprises an osteria, a cookware and cookbook shop, a wine bar and a restaurant. The name is a play on the ancient tomb of Augusto Imperatore, which faces it, and the Italian gusto, meaning flavor. It was one of the first Rome restaurants to break with tradition, using ultra-modern interior design, and introducing a cornucopious buffet in place of the usual three-course lunch. The osteria is reminiscent of a cozy bistro, with dark polished wainscoting, soft lighting and tables so close to one another you become possessive of your conversation. The cuisine follows the savory tradition of popular Roman cooking: abbacchio (roast lamb), pecorino cheeses, and zuppa di ceci (a soup of plump chick peas). in the restaurant, star chef Marco Gullot and his staff explore Mediterranean and international cuisine, creating an outstanding fusion of tastes: tonno scottato (roast tuna in a crust of sesame seeds; fusili pasta with cured ham); a porcini mushroom and onion fondue in port wine sauce; orange tart with white chocolate and vanilla sauce; gelato made in-house. The wine bar, a comfortable meeting place, stays open late and offers live jazz on Thursday nights. Brunch buffet on Sundays. Year-round outdoor dining is available under the piazza’s colonnaded arcade. €€ to €€€
Piazza Augusto Imperatore , 9 tel. 06. 322 6273
Recommended by Yasmin Ergas. Read about Yasmin on our Meet the Romans pages.
The menu displayed outside is in Japanese, and the tables inside are populated by natives of Japan, all proof of the authenticity of this restaurant, an offshoot of its Tokyo counterpart. Way beyond the usual sushi bar, this is perhaps the best Japanese restaurant in Rome, served in a pleasant atmosphere. €€ to €€€
Via della Mercede 35/36 tel.06.679 2134 Closed Monday.
Ristorante Giapponese Rokko
Rokko has a well-deserved reputation as one of Rome's best Japanese restaurants, opened in 1991 by Hiroko Sasaki and her husband Toru, and recently transfered to this new location in the Passaggiatta di Ripetta. Hiroko follows in the footsteps of her father, a native of Kobe, who opened the first Japanese restaurant in Rome in the 1960s. The menu incudes the classic Japanese dishes as well as dishes original to the restaurant, created by Takehisa Haraguchi, a graduate of the best cooking school in Japan, and a veteran of Japans finest restaurants. The ambience is in the minimal style of serene elegance that marks Japaense interiors— wood, bamboo, rice paper. The main dining room looks onto a small garden where the contrast of patterns and light interplay. Meticulously planted dwarf hedge bushes and bamboo plants are set among irregularly sculpted stones and pebbled paths, while the sound of rushing water accents the zen-like atmosphere pervasive throughout. The menu is based on seasonal ingredients, and a variety of rice imported from Akita exclusively by Rokko. For starters, try the delicate seafood salad, an assortment of fish and fresh produce. What follows is an amazing banquet of flavors and textures that range from an artful presentation of sashimi to melt-in-your-mouth crab coquettes, a light and easily digestible vegetable tempura, or a divine tuna filet topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. For dessert, try the green tea ice cream or an intricately prepared traditional Japanese dessert made with rice.
Passeggiata Di Ripeta 15 (near Piazza del Popolo)
tel 06 322 3414 Hours 12-2:30 pm and 7-10:30 pm closed Sundays www.ristoranterokko.com
This traditional Rome restaurant serves beautifully prepared Tuscan cuisine in an elegant setting. Since 1934, it has fed a firmament of politicians and celebrities from Judy Garland to Brad Pitt. The fish dishes are excellent, the Tuscan bean specialties exquisite. Not to be missed: the Tuscan ribolita, a stew made with black cabbage and bread. The desserts are made in-house. Try the marvelous castagnaccioa chestnut cake. €€€
Via Borgognona, 11 tel. 06.678 6752 Closed Mondays
Otello alla Concordia
Never missing from guide books, this Rome restaurant is still a favorite among tourists and locals who want to escape the bustling crowd. Owners the Caporicci sisters offer professional service and quality food in a setting of rural simplicity. The menu includes a hearty combo of Roman classics such as orecchiette pasta in vegetable sauce, pasta amatriciana, tripe Roman style and coda alla vaccinara (using cow’s tail to add flavor to tomato sauce). Other menu favorites originating from the poor man’s kitchen: cacio e pepe (pasta with pecorino cheese and black pepper tossed over steaming hot spaghetti or short pasta), and a dish no Roman menu would be without — roasted lamb and potatoes. Daily specials vary according to season and market availability. For dessert, try the lemon tart or tiramisu. €€
Via della Croce, 81 tel. 06.679 1178 Closed Sundays and part of January.
Also recommended by Fiamma Arditi, who says, "in the courtyard of an old Roman palace run by a family of women, all sisters, nieces, grandchildren, kindly welcoming their clients with gentleness and smiles. I could suggest the fried alici and zucchini to start, the pasta dishes are all delicious." Read about Fiamma on our Meet the Romans pages.
A favorite of young Romans, this casual restaurant in the shadow of Emperor Augusto’s Mauseoleum brings the taste of Naples to the Capital. An easy, quick menu offers pizza, bufala mozzarella, eggplant parmigiana, tasty seafoood salad with timballetto, basmati rice and fresh vegetables, pasta recipes and other Neapolitan specialties. Tiramisu, cassata Napoletana and homemade ice cream are among the desserts. If you reserve ahead, request a table outdoors under the covered arcade. €€
Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 36 tel. 06 681 34730 Open daily until 1 am
In contrast with the building’s Mussolini-era exterior, architects Marco and Gianluigi Giammetta have created a high tech interior with a nautical-aquatic theme for this Rome restaurant, paying homage to the imporant Roman port which rose just meters away at Via Ripetta. The dining room reinforces the theme with the accoutrements of a ship and a glass floor displaying a sandy, watery bottom. Fish is the speciality here, particularly sushi and sashimi. A pleasant terrace, with a view of Augusto’s Mausoleum, is open in warmer months. €€€
Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 42-48 tel. 06.683 01430 Dinner only.
One of Rome's tried and true restaurants, Tullio has been serving classic grilled meats and fresh fish since 1950. The kitchen's Tuscan roots are evident in its famous bistecca fiorentina and its excellent selection of Tuscan wines. €€€
Via San Nicola da Tolentino, 26 tel. 06.474 5560 Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday
In Rome Now Travel Guide: Restaurants Rome, Italy Spanish Steps