8 the best restaurant in Roma
Rome is home to thousands of restaurants, but it’s not always easy to sift the culinary gems from the tourist traps. Whether it’s a hole-in-the-wall reinventing spaghetti carbonara or a restaurant set in a former convent, we’ve got the lowdown on dining and drinking in the Eternal City. Read on for our picks for the best places to eat in Rome, no matter how long you’re there, where you’re staying, or what you may be craving for your next meal.
1. Cesare al Casaletto
Cesare is a trattoria specializing in Roman cuisine, and it nails the classics; the fried starters, pasta, and mains get so much attention, in fact, that the excellent pizzas can be often overlooked. But take it from us: Share a paper-thin, delightfully crispy pizza Rossa (a 16-inch round pizza brushed sparingly with tomato sauce and drizzled with olive oil, then baked in a wood-burning oven) as a starter. And don’t sleep on the excellent fried starters like eggplant croquettes and shredded beef balls.
Forget sticky bowls of carbonara and goopy meat dishes– this is modern Italian dining at its best. Roscioli’s menu is fresh and inspiring, with delicate plates like smoked swordfish carpaccio and king prawns made with burrata cheese and mullet eggs. There’s even a buffalo mozzarella tasting menu, available with data Negra or Cantabrian anchovies. Nearly 3,000 wines line one side of the wall, watching over a store-length counter piled high with all sorts of edible goodies, like creamy Italian cheeses, cold cuts, and homemade preserves in oil.
3. Altrove Ristorante.
Dishes at Altrove, bright new addition to the largely residential Ostiense district, are inventive, but not overcomplicated. Lunch is a casual, canteen-like affair, with a choice of daily-changing meats, grains, and sides. Even vegetarians, normally unlucky in this carnivorous city, will find something to like, with salads, soups, and cheese, plus fresh-from-the-oven bread. Come dinner, the cosmopolitan menu offers creative takes on Roman dishes, such as risotto d’acqua (carnaroli rice cooked in tomato-tinged water with lashings of pecorino cheese and a sprinkling of briny fish roe).
4. Antico Arco.
Antico Arco is one of the city’s most popular places to eat, so you’ll definitely want to book ahead. It may be a white-tablecloth kind of place, where suited-up waiters scuttle between hushed tables– but that doesn’t mean it’s stuck-up. People who love real-deal Roman classics will appreciate how well it’s executed here, whether you’re going for the seven-course tasting menu (with wine pairings, of course) or sampling from the à la carte dishes.
5. Piatto Romano.
The menu at Piatto Romano may not be fancy, but it nails all the classics, serving gnocchi on Thursdays– when it’s traditionally eaten in Rome– and fish dishes on Fridays. The seafood’s excellent, from the salt cod cooked with dried fruits and onions– a must– to the frittura mix of fried prawns and calamari. But the star is the more meaty, milk-fed pajata: fat pasta tubes in an intestine-based sauce. Desserts are simple but good: market-fresh strawberries sprinkled with sugar or slices of still-warm ricotta cake.
6. La Tavernaccia.
La Tavernaccia is old-school Roman all the way. Start with the misto affettati, a plate of cured meats and cheeses. Next, go for rigatoni all’ amatriciana– a mix of chunky pork in tomato sauce, topped with pecorino cheese– then move on to the main event, mailing al Forno (suckling pig served with roast potatoes). Wash the entire thing down with a generous helping of house red and a palate-cleansing lemon sorbet.
7. Armando al Pantheon.
You’ll find a mix of locals and international gastronome-types seriously perusing the menu, deep in contemplation, one assumes, of the feast to come. Sure, there’s chatter, but everyone’s pretty focused. It’s plain they’re determined to savor every bite. We can’t say we blame them. Kick things off with a bruschetta topped with tomato and milky burrata cheese, then move on to a plate of fettuccine pasta with porcini mushrooms, or stick to the old Roman favorite, cacio e Pepe (a creamy sauce made from pecorino and pepper). Come mains, the chargrilled lamb chops are bite-sized pieces of meaty goodness.
8. Pro Loco Pinciano.
Pro Loco Pinciano feels a bit like your stylish Italian friends’ holiday home, all farmhouse brick and stone, with an open deli stacked with cheese and jars of local jam, plus fat prosciutto hams dangling from the ceiling. It’s not all for the show: when you order a martini, the bartender garnishes it with a prosciutto slice. As for the menu, there’s something to suit every taste here, including crisp pizzas, bowls of pillowy ravioli, and platters of finely sliced cured meats.
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