The Best Restaurants in Rome

Before leaving for the eternal city, you’ll talk of the many sights you wish to see. Upon returning home? You’ll fill friends in on all the tiny details about each and every meal you were lucky enough to eat in the city’s family-run Roman trattorias and the high-end dining rooms. You’ll speak of rich coda all vaccinara (oxtail stew) and pasta dishes so tender you’ll hesitate to ever make it at home again. And the olive oil! And the cheese and black pepper! And the wine lists and craft beer to wash it all down. Oh, Rome. So delicious.

59 Via Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli
Casually chic, L’Arcangelo is a small bistro styled like a yesteryear living room: Think credenzas, leather banquettes, and framed photos. The gorgeous wooden bar serves up chef Arcangelo Dandini’s creations in a friendly, accommodating, and just a tiny bit cluttered atmosphere—exactly the kind of place your nonno would love. Chef Dandini is the patron saint of la cucina romana, and his menu shows off his flair for traditional recipes, like gnocchi all’Amatriciana, the restaurant’s Thursday specialty.
Via Prenestina, 118, 00176 Roma RM, Italy
Hidden within a poorly marked courtyard, Mesob offers some of the best food in Rome. Chef Kuki Tadese prepares family recipes, which are served on sour and spongy injera (Ethiopian bread). Order every vegetable dish on the menu and bear with the slow service. It is a one- (max two) woman show in the kitchen and Kuki’s food is worth the wait. Dinner only.
Via Rialto, 39, 00136 Roma RM, Italy
An out-of-the-way bistro pretty much worth the flight to Italy on its own, Secondo Tradizione flips the traditional osteria on its capo. Experience paper tablecloths and chalkboard menus with gallery lighting, an exposed kitchen, and a Michelin star–worthy menu. The menu riffs off a yesteryear vibe, which is a tag team of classics (like carbonara and saltimbocca) and locavore products via haute cuisine recipes. The Dal Banco (counter) showcases specialty cured meats and cheeses, while Dalla Cucina listings are the daily creations of chefs Piero Drago and Jacopo Ricci.
Via del Politeama, 23/25, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
A local landmark, Taverna Trilussa has been a Trastevere hangout for nearly a century. The ivy-covered entrance opens to a lively family-run trattoria where prosciutto and dried herbs decorate the walls alongside the usual trappings of vintage photos, books, and paintings. Taverna Trilussa is most famous for its tableside serving of typical Roman dishes like bucatini all’Amatriciana and cacio e pepe, theatrically tossed about in a frying pan or even a Parmesan wheel. Reservations are a must, or else expect to queue up alongside all the tourists waiting for a plate of mozzarella in carrozza.
Via dei Condotti, 86, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Once the haunt of expat artists, poets, and dreamers, Antico Caffè Greco, on Rome’s glamorous Via Condotti, is a must. At this 18th-century caffè, you’ll learn that Romans can be very particular about their coffee. Cappuccino is a morning-only affair, and you’ll drink your first one of the day standing up at the bar. When the afternoon slump rolls around, you can sit and savor a caffè macchiato. Open since 1760, Antico Caffè Greco has preserved all of its old-school Renaissance charm. The coffee will cost you five times as much as what you may be accustomed to, but the experience is worth it.
16 Piazza Benedetto Cairoli
When Alessandro Roscioli, owner of the famous Roman delicatessen Salumeria Roscioli, took over an old caffè with his brother Pierluigi, owner of coffee mainstay Antico Forno, Romans knew they had a new morning destination. Every a.m., customers line up for homemade pastries—like old-fashioned granatinas, local favorite maritozzo, or traditional cornetto—to go with a cappuccino or espresso. Of course, the coffee is gourmet—Alessandro sourced Verona’s Torrefazione Giamaica Caffè, Italy’s premier artisanal roaster. In the afternoons, Caffè Roscioli serves savory panini sandwiches and aperitivi, the Italian take on happy hour.
121 Viale Aventino
Rome is famous for its ancient architecture and kaleidoscopic sunsets, but most locals know romance blooms in quiet corners far from the tourist stampede. Enter: The Corner, an 11-room boutique townhouse hotel. The townhouse grounds include an elevated terrace where you’ll find a stained-glass gazebo (backdrop for a lounge bar) and an ivy-covered garden-house restaurant (the perfect spot to kick off an evening tryst). Chef Marco Martini just earned a star in Rome’s Michelin galaxy for his culinary creations, which he pairs with equally stellar cocktails.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 250, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
If you love to eat, you cannot miss the fabulous new location of Rome’s famous Pipero, the restaurant that chef Luciano Monosilio put on the map with his unrivaled carbonara. Owner Alessandro Pipero’s incredible team earned it a Michelin star. Located in a former bank, Pipero is a luminous space with a chic interior—not your nonna’s trattoria—and Monosilio’s cuisine is more than just pecorino, parmigiano, and guanciale. His seasonal tasting menu reinterprets classic Roman flavors in unforgettable ways; try the duck tartare panino and rigatoni in a light broccoli sauce with sausage.
125 Via Labicana
Aroma, the rooftop restaurant at Palazzo Manfredi, is one of those bucket-list experiences. The tiny hot spot has the only unobstructed view of the Colosseum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and history’s greatest arena. When the sun sets and the amphitheater lights up, the jaw-dropping view is all yours. And oh yeah, there’s food here, too: Aroma’s got bragging rights to a Michelin star thanks to chef Giuseppe di Iorio, whose kitchen creativity is fueled by both classic Italian flavor profiles and his culinary inspirations from around the world. Order the tomato “tempura” shrimp to start.
77-101 Via Alberto Cadlolo
La Pergola dinners are extra special thanks to the restaurant’s exclusive location on the rooftop of the Rome Cavalieri hotel on Monte Mario hill. Gaze upon the urban sprawl of Italy’s Great Beauty while enjoying the only Michelin three-star menu in Rome. Chef Heinz Beck commands each table with his signature dishes, like venison with crisp licorice on polenta and persimmon, while waiters address your every need with the grace of ninjas. If a panoramic view of the Eternal City isn’t good enough, maybe you’ll find some solace in the 3,000 labels from La Pergola’s masterfully curated wine cellar.
Piazza de' Ricci, 144, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Romans flock to Pierluigi for the city’s freshest seafood—all of the fish here is Italian (with the exception of the oysters and lobsters). Get a table outside on the Piazza de’ Ricci and order the octopus carpaccio. It’s the most thinly sliced, perfectly prepped octopus you’ll ever have. The outstanding people-watching only adds to the experience, not to mention the 600 vinos you can conjure from the restaurant’s wine cellar. Reservations recommended.
Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, 2, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Ciampini has all the required three Ps (that’s a thing, right?): People-watching, prime piazza location, and perfect cappuccini to make it the most coveted caffè bar in Rome. From 8 a.m. to after dark, Rome’s best-dressed flock to Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina for a caffè and cornetto, a light pasta lunch, or the evening’s aperitivo. Counters are crowded, and tables are in demand (with a slightly higher fee for service) but well worth it to have your own oasis in the middle of the hubbub. A few minutes at the gelato bar is also worth your time—ice cream genius Sergio spends every morning making all the ice cream and granita flavors from scratch.
Viale di Trastevere, 53, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
A Trastevere institution since 1933, Ai Marmi (the official name is Panattoni, but no one calls it that) is exactly what you’d expect in an Italian neighborhood pizzeria—zero frills, lots of character, and authentic, thin-crust Roman pizza. This is the kind of place to hit for a quintessential Roman vibe, thanks to the requisite lineup of city favorites like fritti, fried cod, fried zucchini flowers, and supplì—mozzarella-filled fried rice balls. The shop gets its nickname from the long marble slabs that top the family-style tables (ai marmi means “marble” in Italian).
88 Via Giovanni Branca
You can try some of Rome’s best street food at Trapizzino, named for its heralded crispy pizza pockets filled with uniquely Roman flavors like pollo alla cacciatora (spicy chicken), picchiapò (stewed beef), and trippa alla romana (tripe), as well as some newer additions like zighinì (a spicy Eritrean stew). Trapizzino is a two-room shop: a lab where you can pick and choose fillings (and grab takeout), and a second room that serves both as a dining area and a gourmet delicatessen with artisanal beer, canned tomatoes, and tins of anchovies.
Via di Monte Testaccio, 97, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Deep fried globe artichokes likely have their origins in the Jewish Ghetto. Yet you will find this regional specialty on menus all over the city, including at Flavio al Velavevodetto where carciofi alla giudia (Jewish style artichokes) are only served in season, in winter and spring. Flavio serves all sorts of typical Roman cuisine, including stewed tripe and braised oxtail. Like many Roman venues, it has its ups and downs and isn’t always consistent, but on a good day the food is phenomenal.
Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo, 18, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Rome’s reigning king of carbonara Luciano Monosilio has revamped the Roman trattoria into a mod dining room, with an open pasta lab and kitchen. His Michelin-starred carbonara gets top billing, but perusing Luciano’s menu, you’ll find a celebration of Roman cuisine. First plates are antipasti which feature fritti, like suppli (quite possibly the best rice balls in Rome), while his dish line up is divided into traditional Roman favorites, contemporary dishes, and Ripiene, or filled pastas, so you’ll be able to test out Monosilio’s creative turns like Fettuccella ajo ojo e bottarga di muggine, pasta topped with garlic, pepper, and olive paste and cured fish roe. But, obviously, don’t miss the amazing carbonara.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: United States
Journeys: Sports + Adventure