Ciao! Here’s the post I’m sure you’ve been waiting for - where to eat and drink in Rome! If you missed the first part of my city guide, you can catch it here.
If there’s one thing to do when in Rome, it's eating. Eat, drink and eat some more. The Italians have one of the best reputations in the world for cuisine, so safe to say we were expecting big things from the capital. Disclaimer: This food guide doesn’t contain pizza. I'M SORRY. We did eat pizza, but it was a tired, wine-fuelled trip to a little pizzeria near our apartment and to be honest, I was thinking about eating more than taking photos. But I promise there’s pasta aplenty.
Okay, now I’ve got that off my chest, here are my top tips for dining in Rome and all of the places we found.
Tips for eating out in Rome
Lots of people warned us that Rome was very expensive to dine in, but we didn’t find it too much of a shock. Without alcohol, food probably came to €25 per head, depending on what we ate. We usually had a starter to share and a main course, then headed elsewhere to find gelato!
We usually had an aperitivo (pre-dinner drink) like an Aperol Spritz, G&T or a beer, followed by a bottle of wine to eat with our meal. A bottle of wine can cost anywhere between €15 and €50 depending on where you eat or which one you choose! Opt for an Italian wine like Chianti. We tried wines from the Tuscan hills which were absolutely beautiful.
Some of the more expensive restaurants require booking before you go. This can usually be done online, but you might have to call to book!
The closer you are to the tourist spots, the more expensive the restaurant, so head off the beaten track in the evening to find a spot for dinner and drinks. A ‘Trattoria’ means a traditional Italian restaurant, so if you see that you’re in the right place!
Tucked away in Trastevere is Tonnarello, a traditional Italian restaurant with a modern twist. If you want to try all of the food, then this is absolutely the place to head! From pasta to pizzas to focaccia to artichokes, there is plenty on the menu to try. Like most restaurants in Rome, the seating spills out into the street, so you can spend an afternoon soaking up the atmosphere of Trastevere.
We stopped off there on Friday afternoon for a ‘snack’ which ended up being a bucket of calamari, Roman artichokes and some rosemary focaccia. Jewish artichokes are a must try when you’re in Rome and there are several restaurants that claim to be the best but try the ones in Trastevere or the Jewish Ghetto. The ones we had were salted and deep-fried, making them crisp with a tender heart.
We decided to head back to Tonnarello on Saturday evening for a full evening meal. We went full-on Italian with bruschetta to start and pasta for mains. The bruschetta was topped with really fresh ingredients and the most amazing mozzarella. Dan had a carbonara and I had meatballs in a tomato sauce. Both were made with fresh pasta and tasted absolutely amazing - it was all we could ask for!
Il Chianti Vineria
Il Chianti Vineria is about a two-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain, so we stopped at this Tuscan-inspired spot for lunch after a morning of exploring. It isn’t the in the quietest location as it is right next to a busy street flanked by street sellers, but the food and welcome shade made up for it!
We had a simple spread of bread, a meat and cheese board and a bowl of beans. This was really tasty and made us appreciate the importance of high-quality ingredients! The beans are a Tuscan dish, cooked in oil and flavoured with herbs. This is a little more on the pricey side, but you can keep costs low if you stop for lunch.
Fa-bio sells a range of sandwiches, salads and cakes, containing organically sourced ingredients. All of their micro herbs are grown in the shop too. The food is cheap and good. If you are vegan or vegetarian, they have a great range of options to suit. I had a Greek salad (ironic) and Dan opted for a tuna salad, but boy it was a good salad, and just what we needed to fuel an afternoon at the Colosseum!
Felice a Testaccio
This was our fancy final night place. Dan found this online and it was a little out of the way, but easily reachable for us by tram. From the outside, it doesn’t look much, but inside, you will find yourself inside a trattoria which has been there since 1936! It is very basic inside, but don’t let that put you off because the food is exceptional.
I had the lasagne al forno which was possibly the best lasagne I’ve ever had in my life. The tomato sauce was very rich, and there was mozzarella in with the cheese which gave it a bit of bite as it cooled. Dan had Tonnarelli, their signature dish recommended by the waiter, which was pasta in a tomato sauce. The dream! You can eat to your heart's content here, as you can have a smaller pasta dish to start followed by a meat dish. However, we didn’t feel up to that challenge! Felice a Testaccio also have a sommelier who can recommend some beautiful wines for you to make your meal extra special.
Ristoro Della Salute
I know I mentioned to stay away from the tourist spots when dining in Rome, but I make an exclusion for Ristoro Della Salute! We stumbled across this spot and had a pre-Colosseum drink. As you can see it’s a great spot for enjoying the view. I had an Aperol Spritz (of course) and Dan had a rather large beer! It was fairly reasonably priced and they brought out a little bowl of nuts and crisps to go with our drinks. Had we not already eaten a salad for lunch we might have stopped here for food as it looked glorious!
Via Leone IV, 34, 00192 Roma RM, Italy
This is a fairly decent, cheap option for a quick breakfast. It's a really cute coffee shop with outdoor seating. For €5 you can get yourself a breakfast and a hot drink. It's not groundbreaking, but if you need something quick and want to do a bit of morning sunbathing, The Loft is a good shout, especially if you are near the Vatican.
There are Gelaterias (ice cream shops) everywhere with every flavour under the sun. To be honest, I don't think there was one disappointing Gelato! Our first one was probably the best as it was just so full of flavour, but I can't tell you which shop that was - it was after the drunk pizza...
Some of the best spots were Gelateria del Teatro, of which there are two in Rome. Another one we loved was Lemongrass Ice Cream, located near the Vatican City, just around the corner from Fa-bio. They did the best pistachio Gelato!
Basically, the Italians know how to do ice cream, so if the shop looks like it does good Gelato, it probably will be good Gelato.
This was one of Dan’s favourite spots, and I’m sure you can guess why. The craft beer scene in Rome is booming and Open Baladin is an Italian Brewery. Their bar near Trastevere sells all their different beers on draught and from the bottle. It has a really cool, trendy interior, although it didn’t have outdoor seating which would have made this bar even better. That said, it’s a welcome break from the heat!
Personally, I don’t like beer, but I had half a pint of honey ale and actually liked it! They do have ciders too, as well as food, so if you’re bored of pasta, try their chicken wings!
The Gin Corner
Have you been to Rome? What was your favourite dish?
How to use My Places on Google Maps
This tool enables you to save overlays on Google Maps so you can plan routes and mark destinations on a map - life changer for city breaks!
Open Google Maps on your browser, open the tab on the left-hand side and click on 'My Places'.
You can then create your own map overlays for different locations all over the world! I created a map for Rome for you guys to use detailing all the restaurants and sights we visited. You can save this map to your places and use it as a basis for your own maps.
Now, all the places you want to visit are easily accessible on your phone and you can quickly see what's around you, wherever you are. You can also add notes to each point on the map.
Top tip: Mark your accommodation on the map and start plotting what's nearby. You can also save routes on your map to get directions and see how far away you are.