Love to eat? You’ll fall head over heels for Rome, Italy’s heartland when it comes to food. It’s part of the city’s soul. Eating out is a social affair here, with lunches and dinners stretched out for hours upon end.
Italy’s capital is a temple of pizza and pasta, with most dishes rooted in basic, local ingredients. That’s why you’ll find amatriciana made with pig’s cheek, not bacon, and carbornana with cheese and egg, not cream. One thing’s for sure though whatever you decide to dig into – Rome delivers memorable food experiences you’ll treasure for life.
The Italian capital is brimming with excellent places to eat, so you’ll never go hungry. If you want to swerve the tourist traps, we’re here to help you sniff out the best family-run trattorias and scout out backstreet bakeries for food on the move.
Rome’s best restaurants and bakeries
Start the day right at this coffee institute, just a stone’s throw from the Pantheon. Thought to sell the best coffee in the city, Tazza d’Oro first threw its doors open in the 1940s and is even thought to have inspired the man behind Starbucks. Come here first thing for a frothy cappuccino and flaky cornetto – sadly not an ice cream, but the Italian answer to the croissant. Find them gleaming behind the counter, filled with jam, chocolate and custard. Nom.
Looking for a laidback pizzeria? It’s got to be Alle Carrette – cheap, friendly and serving excellent food. Tucked down a cobbled backstreet near the Colosseum, this inconspicuous restaurant is the perfect place to chow down authentic Roman-style pizzas – super crispy and wood-fired. Take a seat in the hidden al fresco eating area and order the funghi e prosciutto, topped with ham, mushroom and olives, and wash it down with a crisp glass of pinot. Bon appetito!
Ristorante Carlo Menta
Schlep over to the Rome’s best after-dark district – Trastevere. Among the pretty, labyrinth-like streets, you’ll find restaurants galore. One of our faves? Ristorante Carlo Menta. This no-frills eatery is set in a bustling part of the area, serving up all the usual suspects on the cheap. Take a seat outside and plump for the carbonara, Roman style, a simple dish of pasta muddled with egg and pecorino romano. Wash it down with vino bianci and nibble at a marinara pizza on the side. Bliss.
Mimi e Coco
Wine lovers, you’ll be in heaven at this hole in the wall, not far from Piazza Navona. Dinky Mime e Coco may be first and foremost a wine bar, but it dishes up meat platters and classic dishes too. It tends to be packed to the rafters, but that only adds to the cosy atmosphere. Nibble homemade focaccia while you wait for your food to arrive – the meatballs and lasagne are firm faves.
Starving after traipsing around the Vatican and queuing for St Peter’s Basilica? You’re in luck. This is Rome’s equivalent of a fast food joint, serving up the Trapizzino – a pizza-sandwich hybrid. Doughy pockets are stuffed with pesto drizzled veg, tomatoey meatballs and other delicious toppings. Order at the counter and grab a handful of napkins, you’ll need them – Trapizzinos are a messy, but magnificent, affair.
If you’ve not got time to stop for lunch in between sightseeing, make a beeline for Forno Roscioli. This much-loved bakery is a magnet for pizza lovers and draws the crowds come lunchtime. Join the queue and order slices of pizza – there are plenty of types to choose from. Once you’ve got your tray of chosen goodies, wander around the corner to Piazza Benedetto Cairoli to munch them down.
Pasta e Vino Osteria
The clue’s in the name – this is Trastevere’s top spot for a lip-smacking bowl of pasta. Swing by this rustic eatery in the heart of the neighbourhood, where homemade pasta dominates the menu, with six types to pick from – fettuccine, gnocchi, ravioli, tagliolini, strozzapreti and spaghetti. Then you’ve got nine sauces to choose from, including Roman classics amatriciana, a fiery tomato concoction, and cacio e pepe, pasta ribbons sprinkled with pecorino cheese and black pepper. And the swan song? Tiramisu. Local love it, tourists rave about it. So order a slab and dig into the creamy, coffee-filled goodness.
Posted: 1st Apr 2020.