13 Places to Eat in Rome
We’ve visited Rome a few times now - we've seen all the sights and taken in the many "must see" attractions. So, this time around we decided our trip to Rome would be about food. Not that it wasn't on our previous visits, but this time, without having to budget time for the sights, we could eat multiple lunches and dinners to fit in all the great food we wanted to try.
And we ate well. A big part of that had to do with a food tour we took through Localers, who showed us some great local spots to eat, along with a taste of the history and culture of Trastevere area.
Full disclosure, we did get to experience our food tour with Localers for free. We ate so well with our Localers host Sylvia! She also taught us a lot of interesting things about the area and about Roman and Italian history, art, film, and food. It definitely makes a huge difference to experience a city with a local.
Here is our list of 13 places to eat in Rome (broken down by neighborhood), spots found thanks to Localers, some of our Roman friends, and some of our wandering.
Bar S. Calisto
In our opinion, this inexpensive coffee shop and has some of the best coffee in Trastevere (and Rome). In addition to their great cappuccino, try a granita di cafe con panna, a delicious half-desert half-iced coffee with whipped cream.
You'll know when you’ve reached this local shop because it's always packed. It has a great selection of cheap eats like pizza and arancini. Be sure to try the supli balls, a tomato-based arancino with a little surprise inside (apparently, this is where it gets its name).
Great local enoteca with delicious local dishes. You will need to get there right when it opens at 8pm - the lines start early for this local spot.
Alimentari Fratelli Longhi
One of our favorite things to do in Italy is go to an Alimentari (a local food shop) and get a fresh Italian panini. Alimentaris always have the best meats, cheeses, olives and freshly baked breads. This one in Trastevere had some of the best olives and prosciutto around. Grab a sandwich to eat in the piazza or some snacks for later.
Go to this Jewish restaurant for the Carcofi alla Giudia (Jewish Artichokes), a deep-fried artichoke dish that is absolutely delicious!
Ai Tre Scalini
You'll see this one on a lot of "Where to Eat in Rome" lists, and there's a reason. Although it's a bit over run with tourists (we know we count in that group, but still), it's a great spot for a drink and food. Hands down some of the best lasagna we've ever eaten - and unlike the lasagna we seem to get in North America.
If you don't want to wait in line for Ai Tre Scalini, this family restaurant across the street is apparently delicious. We didn't get to try it ourselves, but we have it on good authority from a friend who was born and raised in Rome that the food here is amazing.
Near the Pantheon
Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè
This place is famous for it's coffee. Some Romans would go so far as to say it has the best espresso in Rome.
There's a reason this chain is known as the best gelato in Italy. We made it our mission to eat gelato every day we were in Italy and Grom was and still is our favorite. You'll find Grom all around Rome and Italy.
For some fantastic pizza with interesting flavours, try Bonci - a local chain with locations at Termini station and near the Cipro metro station, just north of Vatican City. Everything is by weight and the toppings aren't what you'll find at most other places. We walked 45 minutes here from Monti and it was worth it but if you're not into the walk, you can also find Bonci at the Mercato Centrale at the Termini train station.
Some of the most well-known restaurants and chefs in Rome have stalls here. Stop for a bite here while waiting for your train to the next amazing Italian destination.
Mordi y Vai
While in Rome, make sure to visit the Testaccio area. A little bit off the tourist track, this neighborhood has some beautiful buildings, sights and great food. We went to the market (Mercato Testaccio) and stumbled upon what turned out to be a famous sandwich spot. With a lot of sauce and some slow cooked meat, make sure to savor every bite - thinking about it now makes me wish we were back there.
Also in the Testaccio area, this is another one we didn't get to try ourselves but we heard from multiple local sources that it is worth visiting. Make a reservation for dinner or try your luck at lunch. Apparently there isn't an English menu so make sure to brush up on your Italian before you go.
If you're heading to Paris, Rome or Florence soon, we highly recommend booking a food tour with Localers. Get an extra 10% off your tour by using this code: HARBOR10 (valid until the end of 2017).
Also, if you're travelling around Italy and are visiting Cinque Terre, check out our post Cinque Terre: Some Quick Tips.