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 a delicious (if predictable) litany of specialties such as cacio e pepe, carbonara, roasted lamb, and assorted offal. Their ranks are bolstered by a number of neo-trattorias that take a fresh approach to the classics — just one way young chefs are nudging tradition forward in the Italian capital. There are also plenty of international flavors offering a break from the pecorino Romano- and guanciale-laden Roman classics.
Travelers tend to plan their dining itineraries far in advance, meaning last minute reservations are difficult. Consider booking a month ahead for sought-after spots. While restaurants are increasingly adopting online booking systems, you’ll have to try your luck by phone elsewhere, including at places so understaffed they aren’t even able to answer the phone some days; calling at the very beginning or end of service is your best bet.
Updated, June 2023:
The city is poised to top 2019’s record breaking tourism numbers and the streets of centro are packed with summer travelers. They’re revisiting old-school trattoria Settimio al Pellegrino, which closed last year and has been reincarnated by the team at Cesare al Casaletto (also on this list) as Cesare al Pellegrino, serving a tight menu of comforting classics for lunch and some famous pan-fried meatballs. They’re also exploring the dynamic bar scene, including the impressive lineup of mezcal labels and cocktails at La Punta Expendio de Agave. And they’re browsing botteghe (specialty shops) for artisanal gems, like small-producer Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella di bufala at Forme Dispensa a Ripa, or spongy focaccia and cinnamon rolls at Triticum Micropanificio Agricolo. When they need something sweet or caffeinated to end a meal, they’re heading for acclaimed gelato shop Otaleg, which is now serving specialty coffee at its Monteverde location alongside scoops crafted with fresh pistachios and chocolate.
Eater updates this list quarterly to make sure it reflects the ever-changing dining scene in Rome.
Katie Parla is a Rome-based food and beverage journalist, culinary guide, and New York Times best-selling cookbook author. Her latest cookbook, Food of the Italian Islands, is available now.Read More