13 Via Petrarca
Just south of Termini train station and Piazza Vittorio, Trattoria da Danilo is easily overlooked as another typical Roman trattoria—and hence its charm. Rustic wooden furniture and framed photos of local celebs converge to reveal the real scene: The city’s best cucina romana, with a menu of classics like carbonara, cacio e pepe, gricia, trippa, abbacchio, and bacala. Some seasonal surprises include a mind-blowing carbonara estiva (summertime carbonara). Unpretentious and reliably delicious, Da Danilo is the Roman restaurant you’ve been waiting for.
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.
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.
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.
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.
9 Via del Babuino
Hotel de Russie’s fabulous courtyard bar is the place to live Rome‘s 21st-century dolce vita. The hotel itself is the preferred address for VIPs and celebrities, so it makes sense that the garden bar is a posh and private Eden. At any time of year, the city’s best-dressed hold court at the outdoor tables, while a seat at the indoor bar is akin to winning the Iron Throne. It’s important to note that, since the Stravinskij Bar single-handedly resurrected Rome’s cocktail scene, drinks will cost you royally. Try the signature martini, The Gibson.
30 Vicolo Cellini
At this speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar near Chiesa Nuova, hipster bartenders pour and shake American classics like Manhattans, Sazeracs and Old-Fashioneds in a smoky lounge. To gain admittance, make a booking and come armed with the secret password, a clue to which can be found on the venue’s website. Once you enter, you’ll be shown to a table or barstool, handed a menu, and asked to fill out a membership card. Service can be slow and snarky, but drinks are worth the wait. Cash only.
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.
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.
Largo di Torre Argentina, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
There is nothing like Italian gelato. Strike that—there is nothing like Corona gelato. An unassuming gelateria sandwiched between a Vodafone shop and a bank, Corona dazzles hungry crowds with its incredible flavors. Though owner Alessandro keeps his selection to about a dozen freshly made flavors, each one is a winner. Traditionalists love the cioccolato fondente (dark chocolate) and stracciatella, but it is the seasonal flavors—like raspberry ginger, watermelon, lemon basil, and chestnut—that draw faithful clients from all over the city. In the summer, Corona’s granita-flavored crushed ice packs a cold punch.
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.
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Quietly inhabiting the lovely Via dei Banchi Vecchi, Il Goccetto (not to be confused with the Italian pro-marijuana organization by the same name) is a secret hidden in plain sight: a cozy, wood-paneled wine bar with 18th-century ceiling frescoes, more than 300 bottles of Italian and French wine, and a chilled-out atmosphere. Come in the early evening to sit alongside locals reading newspapers or playing checkers, or waltz in late to experience the buzz of young, professional Romans who frequent this local favorite after dinner. No matter when you arrive, order the cheese plate.
Via Fratelli Bonnet, 5, 00152 Roma RM, Italy
A popular wine bar in Rome’s Monteverde area, Litro is as famous for its clientele’s Instagram snaps as its rich wine listings. For those hunters of natural and biodynamic wines, Litro is the place: You can choose from many small and hard-to-find producers, and the staff know exactly what they are pouring. For something a little stronger, the bar is lined with Italian and international spirits. Edibles include tasty snacks, salads, and hot dishes celebrating local produce and prestige producers. Be on the lookout for weekend brunch and special dinners catered by guest chefs like Chris Behr from the American Academy of Rome.
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).
Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Romans know the best way to cool down in July: grattachecca. Hard to pronounce but easy to swallow, the local street food is just a cup of freshly shaved ice flavored with syrups and ripe fruit. The Preziosa is a mix of raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry syrups with a squirt of lemon and a pile of fresh berries, while the Cocolemon blends lemon and coconut. Keep your eyes out for green shedlike kiosks (typically along the Lungotevere, the road alongside the Tiber river) surrounded by crowds of people—that’s the grattachecca stand! Make sure to have spare change, because grattachecca is a cash-only experience.
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.
Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Want to source, prep, and savor Italian ingredients like a local? Friends Gina Tringali and Eleonora Baldwin teamed up to create Casa Mia, a Roman company offering curated shopping tours and heavenly food and wine tastings. Using Rome as the backdrop for its culinary adventures, Casa Mia tours explore street food, Roman dishes, pizza, gelato, cheese (Eleonora’s expertise), and wine (Gina’s passion). For a fully immersive experience, you can even organize a cooking “tour” in an Italian home.
Chef Daniela del Balzo is full-immersion Roman, and she shares everything she knows at this intimate cooking school on the Aventine hill. For travelers who love Roman or even Neopolitan cooking, nothing beats a personal lesson from a local, and del Balzo will customize each recipe for your palate. A morning lesson includes appraising produce at her market, then preparing and savoring lunch in her nearby home. Learn how to make dishes like fried zucchini blossom, Roman lamb cacciatora, and maritozzi (Roman buns with whipped cream). Reservations required.
Via Federico Ozanam, 30-32, 00152 Roma RM, Italy
Monteverde’s vibrant pizzeria and trattoria is an enclave of local flavor—from its excellent menu of fritti (fried starters), sfizi (delicious antipasti), and pizzas to its busy clientele. Owner Giancarlo Casa is a pizza perfectionist, and each month the blackboard menu features a dedicated pizza, often a creative pie not found anywhere else. Beer and spirits lovers will appreciate the extensive libations menu, which includes five pages of beer and a selection of fine whiskey and grappa.
Via dei Balestrari, 12, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Hidden on a quiet corner (hence angolo divino) in the Campo de’ Fiori neighborhood, the rustic l’Angolo Divino is a divine wine bar and cozy outpost. Owner Massimo is the encyclopedic custodian of hundreds of labels from all over the Italian peninsula and Europe, all charmingly displayed on wooden shelves lining the enoteca. Hungry? His light menu of cured meats, cheese, and pastas hits the spot.
Via dei Chiavari, 34, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
One of Rome‘s best bakeries and among the city’s most historic institutions, Antico Forno Roscioli is a family-run business. Depending on the time of day, you might find patriarch Marco or his son Pierluigi hard at work. There are a variety of baked goods, including pizza by the slice, flatbreads, loaves, and sweets. The pizza bianca (flatbread brushed with olive oil) and pizza rossa (crispy flatbread dressed with light tomato sauce) are sensational, and the pane di Lariano (crusty sourdough bread) is the best in Rome. Be sure to check out their wine bar/restaurant/gourmet food shop—called, simply, Roscioli—nearby.
Via Labicana, 125, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
The Court, an off-the-radar lounge bar with front row seats to the Colosseum, is the perfect place to wind down in Rome. The bar overlooks the archaeological ruins of the Ludus Magnus (the site where the gladiators trained) and offers a view of sunset over the Colosseum, the world’s most amazing arena. The cocktails are the creation of mastermind Matteo Zed, one of Rome’s top bartenders, whose tasty Rising Sun (a gin, yuzu, and matcha cocktail) may well keep you at the bar until dawn.
Piazza di S. Martino Ai Monti, 8, 00154 Roma RM, Italy
Drink Kong is the neo-noir, Manga-meets-Blade Runner–inspired bar created by Rome’s Patrick Pistolesi. A labyrinth of dark-colored lounge spaces, with long bars, neon lights, and harlequin-patterned floors, Kong is both hang-out and experiment. Pistolesi, who has curated some of the city’s best bar menus and is one of the key players in Italy’s cocktail evolution, created an instinctive menu based only on flavors: bitter, sweet, dry. Either peruse the menu for a Kong signature cocktail like “Big Trouble in Oaxaca,” a spicy and slightly fruity tequila and mezcal drink or chat with Kong’s expert bartenders who can craft cocktails customized to your tastes. Or take a leap of faith in the Omakase Room, a Japanese-influenced wood-paneled room for private tastings in the omakase style—your drink will be whatever the bartender chooses for you.
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.