Hostaria Isidoro Al Colosseo
via S. Giovanni in Laterano, 59/a, Monti
Just blocks from the Coliseum, Hostaria Isidoro is tucked inside a former 17th-century convent: Exposed brick, coffered ceilings, and dark woods all contribute to the restaurant’s charm. Excellent food (think Italian classics—ultra-fresh meat, seafood, and produce, handmade pasta) and a friendly staff make this an ideal spot for a romantic dinner.
Da Enzo al 29
Via dei Vascellari, 29, Trastevere
Wonderfully low-key and tucked away on a cobblestone street in Trastevere by the river, this is a great lunch or dinner spot; you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the fried artichokes and cacio e pepe are pretty hard to pass up. The wait here can get pretty long, but they do accept dinner reservations if you’re able to plan in advance.
Via Borgognona, 11, Centro Storico
Open since 1935, this trattoria serves classic Tuscan food—they’re known for having some of the best zuppa di fagioli (bean soup) in town, plus pretty incredible steak tartare. Despite being just around the corner from the Piazza di Spagna, the restaurant itself is a wood-paneled, relatively quiet dining experience—note: if you’re not a regular, service can be less than warm, but still good.
Piazza del Popolo, 1, Flaminio
Right on the corner across from a big, beautiful square, Piazza del Popolo, Dal Bolognese serves traditional Emilian food. This is a great place to get some fancy pasta; the dining room is elegant yet comfortable, with red leather chairs and couches punctuating the brightly lit space. Plus, if you’re looking to sit outdoors, their heated patio is spacious and boasts a view of the nearby square.
Cacio e Pepe
Via Giuseppe Avezzana, 11, Prati
Somewhat removed from the chaos of more touristy parts of Rome’s center, this unassuming restaurant in Prati—which isn’t as warm or charming as other parts of the city, but blessedly calmer—offers excellent, locals-approved classics. You can’t go wrong with any of the pasta on the menu, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t order the restaurant’s namesake dish, which never disappoints. Note: During the week, the area swells with the bustle of workweek foot traffic from nearby business, so nights and weekends are actually a bit more relaxed here.
Trattoria da Cesare
Via del Casaletto, 45, Monteverde
Slightly out of the way in Monteverde, this local adored, family-owned restaurant has become an essential stop for those looking for an epic meal. While the seconds are great, this is one of those places where you should double up on the pasta course—picking a favorite between the carbonara, porcini fettuccine, cacio e pepe, and more is impossible. They’ve also mastered the art of traditional, gently fried appetizers—calamari, anchovies, squash blossoms—something that’s a lot harder to do than it sounds.
Roscioli La Salumeria
Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22, Centro Storico
The restaurant piece of this chic, brother-operated gourmet grocery/wine bar/restaurant has become one the most difficult tables to come by. The menu is short compared to its traditional trattoria counterparts but the plates of fresh burrata, salumi, and house-made pastas are truly exceptional. The best part is that you can take home a scaled-down version of your meal thanks to a well-stocked market—the jars of cacio e pepe sauce and jugs of olive oil make for great (admittedly, difficult to pack) souvenirs. Note that the wine list and cocktail offering are some of the best in the city, so definitely come for aperitivo if you can’t get in for dinner or lunch.
Piazza de' Ricci, 144, Centro Storico
The specialty at this close to a century-old restaurant is fish, more specifically, super fresh oysters, and seafood-themed pastas. The kitchen takes great care to source almost exclusively from local fishermen, which explains why the menu is so heavily influenced by what’s in season and changes often. While so many local restaurants are on the casual side, this one, with its expansive wine and cocktail list and elegant outdoor seating area right on the Piazza Ricci, should be saved for a special occasion.
Piazza del Paradiso, 63/65, Centro Storico
Come for the novelty factor—the restaurant is built into what used to be the Pompeo Theater, so you’re essentially having your meal in an ancient cave (don’t worry, there’s a breezy patio if the enclosed space doesn’t sound appealing—and stay for the excellent food: An incredibly well executed menu of Roman classics like the excellent fried zucchini flowers—pending seasonal availability, of course. And trust us, don’t skip the pasta course. This is a popular spot, so make sure to call in advance.
Via Garibaldi, 18, Trastevere
The humble entrance on Via Garibaldi doesn’t exactly give it away, but this semi-fine dining restaurant has a solid reputation for being something of a hotspot. Specifically, it’s the private open-air terrace—particularly romantic at sunset— that draws locals and in-the-know tourists for return visits; inside, the walls are almost entirely covered in works by local artists. Food-wise, expect to find a lot of Roman classics (cacio e pepe, tripe, carpaccio), plus the occasional culinary curveball.
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