When it comes to eating out in Rome, if you’re not in the know, restaurants can be a little hit or miss. Dining establishments in the Eternal City come a dime a dozen and unfortunately, so do tourist traps. That’s why it helps to have an inside source like USA Today 10Best to guide your palate in the right direction.
If traditional Roman fare is what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with little hole-in-the-wall restaurants like Da Enzo but be prepared to line up with a queue stretching down the street. And if you’re looking for something a little bit more upscale to make your Roman Holiday complete, some of the Michelin star establishments like Riccardo Di Giacinto’s Ristorante All’Oro or Cristina Bowerman’s Glass might be more up your alley. For innovative and contemporary dining, you can’t miss Zia or Retrobottega.
For the prettiest garden in Rome (with the best focaccia to match), head to city hotspot Pianostrada or dine at Francesco Apreda’s Idylio and enjoy a cocktail with the Pantheon as the backdrop on the rooftop Divinity Terrace. Don’t miss Rome’s absolute best gourmet pizza at Seu Illuminati.
Wherever you choose to eat, be aware that Rome dining patterns have changed over the past few years and bookings are generally required anywhere and often in advance. So plan your Roman nights well and Buon Appetito!
Photo courtesy of Maria Pasquale
For an unforgettable evening in Rome, Rimessa Roscioli is quite hard to beat. Anyone who knows anything about food and wine in Rome will tell you that the Roscioli brand name is synonymous with quality. From their renowned restaurant and wine bar to the historic Roscioli bakery to Roscioli Caffe for a quick sweet, coffee or lunch and now Rimessa Roscioli – the brainchild of Milanese implant and sommelier extraordinare, Alessandro Pepe. It’s had a few incarnations but this wine bar slash wine event space has a permanent home now. The venue is light and modern with warm vintage hues and upon walking in and seeing a sea of wine glasses you know you’re in for something special. Here you come not only to experience and taste wine, but to be immersed fully in Alsssandro and Lindsay Gabbard (a California native – so yes, she sure knows her stuff too!) world of Italian wine – the culture, history and production of it. Their Wine Tasting menus aren’t just about the wine but special pairings. As you taste a selection of wines, feast on authentic produce selected by the Roscioli team. There’s everything from cheese and salumi to pasta to dessert. They boast something excessive like 2,500+ labels here, but don’t let that intimidate you. They cater for all wine levels and a variety of small and large production vineyards are showcased. Visit their website for bookings and more information about other special activities and events. The venue is also open as a quasi wine bar where you can drop by for a glass or two and ever changing menu pairings.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: One of the best names in Rome for wine and food.
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Read more about Rimessa Roscioli →
Photo courtesy of Madeiterraneo
Ramona Anello and Riccardo Di Giacinto are no strangers to the high-end restaurant sector in Rome. The owners of Ristorante All–Oro (with one star in the 2017 Michelin Guide) and their boutique hotel The H–all Tailor Suite have made their gourmet presence felt on the top floor of the hottest department store address in town, the Rinascente on Via del Tritone. Together with the Up Sunset Bar and Madeiterraneo, they’ve taken over the 6th and 7th floor with a fine contemporary dining and bar space in line with Rome–s latest minimalist design wave. As the name suggests, the menu here has a focus on Italian and Mediterranean produce with some ethnic influences including Moroccan and Greek including a Moussaka with Chianina rag– and an Iberian pork kebab on the entree list. Pasta dishes include gnocchi with salt cod and chicory and delicious mezzaluna pasta filled with tajine-cooked lamb, lemon and sage. There are many seafood options throughout the courses and vegetarian dishes too. Leave room for dessert and try Di Giacinto–s famous variations of the Maritozzo – the sweet bun that speaks nostalgically to Romans. The apple strudel version is to die for. Open daily 11am through to 11pm. Metro: Spagna
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Great service and a magical setting with fine food to match.
Maria’s expert tip: Don’t go past their savory maritozzi, a magnificent take on the old Roman classic.
Read more about Madeiterraneo →
Photo courtesy of Maria Pasquale
Located in the heart of Rome’s Trastevere, an area full of casual trattorias and bars, Glass Hostaria stands out as a contemporary gem. With a Michelin Star, Cristina Bowerman and her team deliver fine dining in a sophisticated, yet relaxed atmosphere. The fine-dining menu is inventive as modern as the interiors and the wine cellar is as impressive as one would expect of an establishment of this caliber. With an international and local crowd, the menu changes seasonally and a degustation experience is the best way to sample the outstanding selection. Tram: 8, Bus: 23, H.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Stylish interiors and the locale you don’t expect in Trastevere.
Maria’s expert tip: Don’t go past Cristina Bowerman’s steak tartare, it is the best in Rome.
Read more about Glass Hostaria →
Photo courtesy of Maria Pasquale
For four years Antonio Ziantoni worked with Anthony Genovese of Rome’s two-Michelin starred Il Pagliaccio and even with England’s Gordon Ramsey. For his own venture, he chose Trastevere – a neighborhood in need of dining evolution, and the dividends have paid with the venue now boasting 1 Michelin star in its first years of operation. The interiors and fit-out at Zia are an ode to those all too familiar Scandinavian lines infiltrating the city but with Made in Italy design touches, Ziantoni and co. have truly made it their own. With less than 30 covers, it’s an intimate space and away from the more crowded zones of the quartiere. The menu will attract a crowd looking for quality and innovation on the plate, but the prices remain extremely reasonable for Trastevere and for the refined technique you find on the plate. As you’d expect, the menu changes seasonally with some recent highlights including lamb sweetbreads with mozzarella and tomato; a delectable pulled pork salad; panzerotti with smoked cockerel; and a most tender lamb and mustard dish. And when it comes to dessert, Christian Marasca’s delights don’t disappoint, especially the spectacular Tourbillon. If innovative fine dining is what you’re after in Rome, Zia certainly won’t disappoint. TRAM: 3 8. BUS: 75, H.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Antonio Ziantoni and team already boast one star in the Michelin guide and are going places so get on the bandwagon early!
Maria’s expert tip: Let the chef treat you to a degustation that you won’t soon forget.
Read more about Zia Restaurant →
Photo courtesy of Maria Pasquale
Everyone in Rome is talking about Pier Daniele Seu, Rome’s pizza maker of the minute. His pizza, dough and leavening education started with Gabriele Bonci (touted by the foreign press as Rome’s ‘Michelangelo of pizza’) but he has carved his own way. His is a gourmet pizza and he plays with the format too â” pizzas cut in corners and a degustation style whereby one pizza at a time comes out to the table so diners get to share. All the classics are on the menu (Margherita, marinara, etc.) but Seu flirts with ingredients and you’ll find anything from a deconstructed capricciosa pizza to one with tuna tartare and burrata. A variety of seasonal and prized ingredients like chicory, yellow tomatoes, walnuts and cocoa powder all make appearances on the extensive list of his signature creations â” on a pizza base that has a thicker crust than the traditional Roman style. The fritti (fried treats) are divine, especially the suppli stuffed with a silky carbonara filling. Vegan and vegetarian options, desserts, craft beer and local wines are on the menu too.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Seu has won just about every ‘best pizza’ award there is and it never disappoints.
Maria’s expert tip: Challenge Italian pizza tradition and go with the tasting format where pizzas come to the table one at a time.
Read more about Seu Pizza Illuminati →
Photo courtesy of Idylio by Apreda
If a change really is as good as a holiday, it looks like this guy has had ten of them! One of Rome’s most prominent and talented chefs (Michelin stars and various awards under his belt) caused an uproar in early 2019 when news of him leaving the historic Hotel Hassler was no less shocking for the Roman food world than what would have been, say had John Lennon left the Beatles at the height of their fame! Francesco Apreda made the controversial move after more than a decade and so Idylio was born. Set within the five-star luxurious design Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel, the philosophy here is rebirth and it can truly be felt. The menu is devised by three distinct tasting menus (6, 7 and 8 courses, 120, 140, 160 euro respectively) and each dish can be ordered individually as you choose. Highlights include the panko-crumbed scallop with black truffle and a surprise buffalo mozzarella center, Apreda’s takes on the roman classics ‘Pollo ai Peperoni’ (his is slow-cooked for 4 days) and ‘Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino’ (this version is served with angel hair pasta and topped with smoked eel), and a delectable, sensory journey with a four-way prepared foie gras. As always, Apreda’s travels through Japan and India and his Neapolitan heritage can be savored throughout the menu. Apreda is supported in the state-of-the-art kitchen by the talented head chef Francesco Focaccia, sous chef Luca Caporilli and pastry chef Edvige Simoncelli. Around 600 labels make the wine list with more to come and the impeccable dining floor service led by Alessandro D’Andrea makes you feel right at home, a rarity in many fine dining establishments. Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday. Bookings can be made online. Tram: 8, 3.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Apreda is one of Rome’s finest chefs and gourmands won’t want to miss him while in town.
Maria’s expert tip: Bookings are a must and can be made online. Head over early in the warmer months to have a drink on the Divinity rooftop terrace.
Read more about Idylio by Apreda →
Photo courtesy of Eating Italy Food Tours
For traditional Cucina Romana (roman cuisine), you can’t go past Da Enzo. It’s literally a hole-in-the-wall with maybe about 10 or 12 tables which means you’ll have to line up for one and for a while at best. But it’s worth the wait and then some. Da Enzo definitely does up the most mind-blowing carciofi alla giudia (Jewish style fried artichokes) and keeps it real with their classic pasta dishes like carbonara (egg and pork cheek), amatriciana (tomato and pork cheek) and cacio e Pepe (pecorino cheese and pepper)and local offal dishes like tripe and braised oxtail (coda alla vaccinara). Throw in a bottle of house wine and dessert and you might walk out only spending about 20 euro a person! BUS: 23, H. TRAM: 8
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Wholesome and authentic roman fare, Da Enzo is family-run and simply delicious.
Maria’s expert tip: Order the creamy burrata cheese and stuffed fried zucchini to start, whatever you want in between and the mascarpone mousse with wild strawberries to finish.
Read more about Da Enzo →
Photo courtesy of Retrobottega
Sleek and chic. Retrobottega is one of the hottest addresses in town. Located right in the heart of the city, between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, there are only 26 seats at this modern eatery so you’ll have to book to get a seat. The venue has two dining spaces that are centered around the open kitchen so not only do you get to taste Giuseppe Lo Iudice and Alessandro Miocchi’s creations, you see their artistic preparation unfold right before your eyes. These young and experienced chefs (they count brands and names like Bulgari, Anthony Genovese, Il Pagliaccio and Enrico Crippa between them) are all about refined, seasonal dishes in a convivial, minimalist setting. Walking in off those old cobblestoned streets is a contrast from old and new and the design features and lighting stand out right away, here, your cutlery is built into the specially designed high-top tables which always make for a great conversation starter! You can choose to dine from the menu or a 5-course degustation (where you select two starters, a first and second course and dessert) for 50 euro. The menu changes frequently but think squid and wild boar tartare for entree and first courses like blueberry and veal shank risotto or sea eel and fennel tortellini. On the main course list, you’ll find anything from cuttlefish to pork to pigeon. Dessert is a decadent affair too with an almond, licorice and raisin delight or heartwarming chocolate and salted caramel treat. The wine list is extensive and the staff is super knowledgeable and friendly. Open daily for lunch and dinner. BUS: 64, 70, 85.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Cutting-edge, innovative dining at its very best in a city obsessed with tradition.
Maria’s expert tip: Look for your cutlery in a cute drawer built into the custom design tables and try their new 20 bites menu (taste the whole menu in a sitting!)
Read more about Retrobottega →
Photo courtesy of Ristorante All’Oro
Rome’s Ristorante All’Oro sits within the stylish, boutique The H’all Tailor Suite right by Piazza del Popolo. Owners Riccardo Di Giacinto and Ramona Anello dreamt up the idea of a complete pampering whereby this isn’t your average hotel restaurant but a fine dining restaurant with hotel rooms if you like. Riccardo and Ramona have thought of every particular detail to make you feel as though you’re dining at their place! The restaurant, which boasts one star in the coveted Michelin Guide, is fitted with plush and luxury colorful interiors and everything from the charcoal fabric covered tables to purple velvet sofa seats is designed with client comfort in mind. The menu brings the same fun and spunk to their age-old signature dishes with a few new ones on the list. Some of the standout dishes included the potato and salt cod tiramisu; a deconstructed carbonara cream in an eggshell; mascarpone ravioli with duck ragu and red wine reduction; and the cheeky take on the old Roman classic, a ball of coda alla vaccinara (slowly braised oxtail) that resembles the Ferrero Rocher chocolate. The fun doesn’t end after dinner with a mini wooden carousel (complete with music) arriving at your table with the petit fours after dessert. All’Oro is a gastronomic journey that surprises and makes you smile at every turn.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Riccardo Di Giacinto might have a Michelin star but this place isn’t stuffy. On the contrary, be prepared for a fun evening.
Maria’s expert tip: Bookings are essential and there’s also a boutique hotel here if you want to stay a little longer!
Read more about Ristorante All’Oro →
Photo courtesy of HeartRome
what began as a hole-in-the-wall in Trastevere, Pianostrada Laboratorio di Cucina has slowly and quietly evolved into a Roman institution. It’s one of the hottest addresses in town and brings together high quality ingredients, contemporary style and service with a smile. You can take a seat on one of the open kitchen bar stools, in the eclectic main dining area or in their pretty, fairylight filled garden. Start off with their homebaked focaccia (the one topped with prosciutto, basil and fig jam never disappoints) and then opt for one of the fresh daily past specials or a the classic, baccaburger – squid ink bun and a delectable salt cod and zucchini flower filling. The ever changing desserts are also an event. The place is packed at both lunch and dinner, so bookings are recommended. TRAM: 8
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: An all female touch and the prettiest garden in the city.
Maria’s expert tip: Try the ‘baccaburger’ a burger with a squid ink bun and baccala (salt cod). It’s absolutely to die for!
Read more about Pianostrada Laboratorio di Cucina →