The 38 best restaurants in Rome, Italy
<figcaption>The view from the Court Cocktail Bar.</figcaption> | <cite>The Court Cocktail Bar</cite> </span>
Roman cuisine is defined by a unique set of ingredients, techniques and dishes that set it apart from the food of all other Italian cities. Generational trattorias serve up a delicious (if predictable) litany of specialties such as cacio e pepe, carbonara, roast lamb and assorted offal. Their ranks are bolstered by a number of neo-trattori who take a fresh approach to the classics – just one way young chefs are encouraging tradition in Italy’s capital. There are also plenty of international flavors that offer a break from the laden Roman classics of pecorino romano and guanciale.
Travelers tend to plan their dining itineraries well in advance, which means last-minute reservations are difficult. Consider booking a month in advance for sought-after spots. While some offer online booking, you’ll have to try your luck by phone elsewhere, including places so understaffed they can’t even answer the phone on some days; Calling right at the start or end of the service is your best bet.
Updated March 2023:
In huge news for central Rome diners, old-school trattoria Settimio al Pellegrino, which closed last year, has been reincarnated by the team at Cesare al Casaletto (also on this list). The new Cesare al Pellegrino serves a small menu of comforting classics and is open for lunch only for now. Meanwhile, cocktail enthusiasts will find a dynamic bar scene overlooking the Colosseum at the Court, Matteo Zed’s famous open-air terrace at Palazzo Manfredi, with prices to match the five-star hotel’s bar location. South of centro, in a chic industrial space by the Tiber River, Latta Fermenti e Miscele attracts a younger, budget-conscious crowd of cocktail, craft beer and natural wine drinkers.
Across the city, Rome’s winter temperatures give way to spring weather, which brings fava beans and peas with it. The city is emerging from its busiest low season on record and preparing for what promises to be record tourism in the peak season ahead. That means you should book your meals as early as possible, a process made easier by restaurants that are increasingly adopting online reservation systems. In some places you may need to call to reserve a table, but keep in mind that many restaurants are still experiencing serious staffing issues and may not have staff to answer the phone consistently. Bring a healthy dose of empathy and patience to every meal.
Eater updates this list quarterly to ensure it reflects Rome’s ever-changing dining scene.
Katie Parla is a Rome-based food and drink journalist, food guide and New York Times best-selling cookbook author. Her latest cookbook, The food of the Italian islandsis available now.