Most tourists believe that when they arrive in Rome, they don't have to look very hard for amazing food. To be honest, as a tourist, totally new to the authentic Roman cuisine, it's difficult to tell whether you're getting good food or not. I would refer to TripAdvisor and head to the most popular place. Unfortunately, that doesn't work either and you can't really trust another tourist's rating. Luckily, my Roman friends showed me the best places to eat and that's when I realised that the Roman cuisine is actually delicious! If you want a real foodie experience, read this and avoid all the terrible tourist traps.
First things first, there are rules when going out for food:
- If you see a massive queue outside a restaurant, don't bother. Just because people are queuing doesn't mean it's spectacular. Don't follow the crowd!
- If there are only tourists inside, then it's a no go
- Being in the city centre doesn't always mean it'll be the best, it can be overpriced too
Now for the good bits
Osteria da Zi’ Umberto: Trastevere, can be super busy, especially during the summer season. It's pretty overwhelming and tiring, trying to find the best restaurants in a crowd of tourists while you're h-angry. This one restaurant, however, is super central and offers good Italian food. Since you only live once, I'd go all out. Enjoy all the courses, wine and thank me later. Once you're finished, walk off the food-baby and stop by some famous landmarks on the way.
Dar Bottarolo, Tor Marancia: This was my favourite. It’s quite far from the city centre, but worth the trek. I’m about to digress but this is to emphasise how good the food is: Careful with taxi drivers. On our way to the restaurant, it felt like being in Fear and Loathing. The driver was speeding, dancing with no hands on the wheel, and turning to speak to us, with no eyes on the road. Luckily, we arrived safely, but I was badly car sick. I couldn't bear the thought of eating and was ready to head back home. Then I saw the food and I was HUNGRY again. Dar Bottarolo is a local’s favourite; offering homemade pasta, with locally sourced ingredients, generous portions, and cheap prices. We had three massive plates to share, one Amatriciana, Cacio e Pepe, and Carbonara. It's a great place to sample each dish with a group of friends. And don't fool yourself into thinking you're too full for dessert. Once I saw my friends have a Tiramisu, I got food envy and ended up eating theirs.
Ristorante de Pecorino in Testaccio: Serving traditional Roman pastas and meat dishes. I came here because I was tired of pasta and pizza and craved some vegetables. The Saltimbocca (veal) was one of the tastiest Roman dishes I’ve had with a side of vegetables like grilled aubergine. Simple but tasty!
Dar Poeta, a pizzeria in Trastevere: Slightly hidden in a narrow street in Trastevere, Dar Poeta is a wonderful and cosy place. The locals love it and the prices are good. Since they only serve pizza, it's the best in town. I went for a Margherita- again, simple but delicious.
Formula 1, in San Lorenzo: This restaurant is excellent for the atmosphere. The waiters are super friendly and smiley. One of them was teaching us some Italian words and cracking dad jokes. Here you get thin, tasty pizzas for really cheap. Alcohol? Very strong and at a reasonable price! This was the perfect start to our night out in San Lorenzo, a very popular and young neighbourhood with plenty of bars, restaurants, and clubs.
Da Bucatino, in Testaccio: Get ready for some authentic Italian cuisine! While Testaccio is a great place to visit, this restaurant is perfect. Known for its tasty ox, cod, rigatoni, and delicious desserts. Come here for fresh, organic food, liquor, house wine, and grappa! Romans have been coming here for years.
Ivo, Trastevere: I bet you’re thinking, “not another pizzeria.” Yes, Rome is full of them, but it's hard to pick out the quality ones. Ivo, however, has got your back. Come here for some chilled vibes, friendly waiters, and more!
I'll never be the same again! Italian food has changed (or spoiled) me
If you think the foods good, check out the bars and gelaterias.
Bar San Calisto in Trastevere: loved among locals and tourists, this bar/cafe has been around for around 50 years. Coffees are 1 euro and beer/wine are cheap too. Come here in the morning for an espresso, or visit at night when the place transforms into a bar and locals crowd the piazza, drinking and chatting. It's the best bar in my opinion, with a lively atmosphere that has an authentic, local feel.
Two gelaterias that stood out to me are Gelateria La Romana on Via Ostiense and Giolitti, right near the Pantheon. All the locals recommend it. Get some ice cream and admire the majestic Pantheon! It’s one of my favourite attractions in Rome and what better way to spend your lunch break than with some ice cream sitting across a world-famous landmark. For some light, snacks try out: Casa del Suppli, in Piazza Die Re Di Roma for the best suppli yet!
So here you have it, the best food in Rome! Let us know what you think, Ciao.