The Best Places to Eat in Rome

By: James Stafford

Italy is like the Garden of Eden when it comes to finding heavenly bliss with food. There are so many amazing places that you can literally eat your way across the city and still not experience every delectable dish and restaurant the city has to offer.  We can say this; the best Roman food is made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. So as always, the best is made to order and seasonal. Here are a few tips for where to eat in Rome…


1. Follow the Locals

In Europe, like in every city in the world, the locals know best when it comes to food. So avoid that overpriced pizzeria beside the Parthenon, and follow the locals to those hidden restaurants and cafes. You know the ones, tucked down side streets, with unassuming signs that are open late—and dig in!

roman locals eating

2. Steer Clear of the Tourist Areas

Sure, walk around the tourist areas, see the Parthenon and the Coliseum, but when you’re done head in the opposite direction for the best and cheapest restaurants and cafes. You’re in Italy after all so avoid places with “Western” or American-style” menus for tattorias packed with crowds of locals and no-frills décor.

Italy Tourists

3. Invite a Roman Friend

As they say, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. That probably means only eating great food. And that means eating where the locals eat. The best way to eat where the locals do is by inviting a Roman friend along to dinner at his or her favorite bonhomie restaurant. If that doesn’t work, ask locals for recommendations. Don’t be afraid to seek advice from the bus driver, newspaper stand owner, or cabbie.


4. Put your Meal in Professional Hands

Another surefire way to eat well is to put your dinner options in the hands of a professional chef. Look to restaurants touted as go-to places to eat because of the chef. For instance, Trattoria is owned and run by prized chef, Filippo La Mantia, who still whips up his signature caponata with pine nuts at this location.

italian chef


5. Look for Roman Specialties

The best way to experience any city is to eat authentically, and pizza is the specialty dish of choice when in Rome. Consult the guidebooks and dining websites on the best authentic pizza in Rome and 2 names will be prominent—La Montecarlo and Baffetto, pizzerias both located near the Piazza Navona. Luckily, you don’t have to decide between the two as the prior is only open during lunch and the second is only open in the evening.

kids pizza

6. Dine Alfresco

If you want to truly eat fresh and local, look to a Roman market for quality eats—not only will you find the freshest local produce in season; you’ll also have the luxury of packing up whatever you buy into a picnic to dine alfresco so you can take in more of authentic Rome.

Farmer's Market