Updated: Sep 3, 2019
Benvenuti: If you’re reading this that means you’re studying abroad or traveling to ROME! La cittá eterna…the eternal city and my favorite city. I lived abroad in this magnificent city for 4 months and always found my way back while visiting friends, English teaching, or studying in another city. When you take your time to get to know a city, you realize there is more than just famous monuments and a giant, chaotic place. Around each corner there is something amazing and you'll find yourself wrapped in this city's rich history full of breathtaking views and architecture. I imagine you're here because you'd like some tips for your trip to Rome, and you've come to the right place! The following includes my favorite restaurants, gelaterias, pizzerias, cafes, bars, as well as clubs/discotecas that I've compiled from my many trips back to a place I like to call home. First I'd like to give you a warning about some restaurants in Rome:
Tourist/English Menus: The city centers and tourist trap attraction are full of places where they have someone standing outside trying to entice you to eat there. Typically these places advertise a “tourist/english” menu. More often then not, these places are overpriced and the quality of food is not the best either (occasionally surgelato aka FROZEN). A lot of these places will put "tourist Italian food" or dishes from various locations on the menu to cater to the person who is coming to their restaurant. While this doesn't always seem like a bad idea, it takes away from the authenticity of a place for having their local dishes on the menu (that usually cost a lot less to make than the up charging at tourist spots). English menus aren't always a sure sign of a tourist trap and can actually be very helpful but the key is to search for the right places on your trip to Rome so that it is authentic, affordable, and delizioso! Continue reading below for my FAVORITE places!
How this works: I’ve listed my favorite places by first writing the name of the place in bold, the location in italics, and sometimes a brief description. All of the restaurants are grouped by neighborhood. At the end of this blog I also give some recommendations for the non-tourist attractions and my hidden gems as well as some recommendations for ordering wine and tasting the four pastas of Rome.
La Vaca m’briaca – Monti – (the name means – The Drunken Cow)
Urbana 47 – Monti
Pasta Imperiale – Monti – Here they make housemade, fresh pasta that is absolutely amazing. All of their pastas are made to order. I can still taste it when I think about it. It’s a small place, and it’s very good for a quick stop.
Al Peperoncino – San Paolo
Casetta Rossa – Garbatella
I Tre Fratelli – Garbatella
Eataly – Ostiense – Wholefoods-esque but they have restaurants inside!
Li Scalini De Marisa – Garbatella
Tanto pe ‘magna – Garbatella – This is very classic Roman food! I would always recommend the carbonara!
Cotto e Magnato – Garbatella – This is another classic Roman place, all locals and zero tourists.
Dar Moschino - Garbatella - Classic Roman food, and I'm almost positive they did not have a menu just a primo and secondo option for the night. I had some of the best cacio e pepe and tiramisu of my life here!
Porto Fluviale – Ostiense – This place has amazing food, and really unique things like gourmet hamburgers and different types of meatballs.
Trastevere, Testaccio, and the Sant'Angelo/Jewish Ghetto area are great for restaurants and bars.
Bacco In Trastevere – Trastevere – They press their own olive oil and have a great selection of wines, what more could you want? I always get their pasta here - their "pasta alla norma" is one of the best pastas I've had in Rome.
Nannarella - Trastevere - If you don't mind waiting in line for some of the best Roman food, this is the place to go! Their is a similar place call Tonnarello.
Osteria 22 Quattro – San Giovanni my friends said this was his best meal ever, i never ate here but I trust him!
Testaccio Market – Testaccio – only open for lunch! They have a place that is really good for panini, a place for fresh pasta, smoothies, and so much more!
The Meat Market - Testaccio - This place is a little bit pricier but they specialize in meat and in particular meat tartares and carpaccio (raw meat).
Trattoria Il Gallo Nero – Esquilino - my family loved this place, it’s near Termini station
Gelateria Danielgelo – San Paolo
La Romana – Ostiense
Gelateria Ai Cerchi - near Circo Massimo
*Anything that is artigianale*: if the gelato is in a giant hill or mound and there are more than 20 flavors it’s not a good place to go.
~I’m not good at this because I can’t usually eat Gelato~ If you have any recommendations that you'd like to see on this list, please get in touch with me!
MAMI - near Piazza Navona - Pizza al taglio (Roman pizza by the slice!)
Bar Foschi - Garbatella - The roman breakfast - cappuccino and cornetto, per favore!
Il Veliero – Ostiense – Great for your morning cappuccino and cornetto! If you’re studying in Rome, It’s next to the CLA for language classes
Erasmus Cafe – Ostiense – This place is good if you want something quick for lunch but still a filling meal, it’s right next to Universita Roma Tre
Il Forno Antico Di Roma - Ostiense - If you're looking for some freshly baked good or some focaccia to bring to the sea, this is the place to go!
Dolcenotte – Ostiense – This place is for all of your late night sweet tooth and probably drunk food cravings (I recommend highly: pizzette and bomba)
Romeow Cat Bistro – Ostiense - Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s a cat cafe! And it's vegan!
Mavà Cafè&Bistrot - San Paolo
Alice – pizza al taglio, you can find it everywhere. It’s nice when you want some pizza but don’t want to indulge in an entire pie.
*Try a piadina place for a panino alternative!*
Il Barone Rosso near Universita Roma Tre
Cioccolato e Vino – Trastevere – For a unique shot experience
G-Bar – Trastevere
Freni e Frizoni - Trastevere - aperitivo
On the Rox – Testaccio
Scholar’s – near Vittoriano monument – It’s an Irish pub that is popular amongst study abroad students. They have karaoke on Tuesdays.
Angeli Rock – Ostiense - aperitivo
T-Bar – Ostiense – aperitivo
Doppiozeroo – Ostiense – aperitivo
Bleid – San Paolo
El Chiringuito Libre - San Paolo
La Bibliotechina – EUR - also might only be around in summer, I only went for a cocktail once, didn’t go for the club, it is a VERY cool place
Teatro India - Gazometro - Where all the hip, cool Italians go to drink and dance in the summer months.
Circolo Degli Illuminati - Ostiense
Exess Live - Ostiense
Vinile - Ostiense – very different, kind of classy, older crowd, you can also eat here for lunch
Ex Dogana – San Lorenzo
Condominio di San Lorenzo - San Lorenzo
Coyote – Testaccio
Gay Village – Lungotevere Testaccio - (only summer) Entry fee is €10 and you get a free drink, it’s a lot of fun!
Lungotevere/Tiber River - During the summer all along the Tiber River (lungotevere) there are places to eat and get drinks and shop and even bars/clubs! I’m not sure how long these are open until but they weren’t open until around mid-June.
Any Given Monday is a group that changes their location for where they host parties every Monday, I went to one of these and usually cool with a crowd of Italians on Monday nights, you can find their event pages on facebook.
Freak&C – another event hoster, you can follow them on facebook. They have a really fun Carnivale event that they did last year
Terazza dei Gianicolo
Pincio above Piazza del Popolo
“The Keyhole” Near Giardino Degli Aranci
The Maxxi Museum is a modern art museum in Flaminio
MACRO Museum in Testaccio
Parco degli Acquadotti
Chiostro del Bramante - near Piazza Navona - art exhibition space
White Noise Gallery – they host gallery events every so often, my friend Giacomo worked here!
Tivoli/Villa D’Este – for your Lizzie Mcguire moment
Ostia Antica – never went but heard it’s a beautiful archeological site
Ostia/Santa Severa - beaches easily accessible by train from Rome
Basilica de San Pietro in Vincoli, Piazza San Pietro in Vincoli
Piramide and The Non-Catholic Cemetery
Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli – My favorite church near Vittoriano Monument. Get ready for some steps!
Terrazza delle Quadrighe – This is up the side steps of the Vittoriano where the above Basilica is but it closes around sunset, definitely go right when the sun is about to set, it’s breathtaking!
Everyone’s favorite topic: vino!
When out at restaurants *if you are a student and on a budget* I recommend ordering "vino della casa", – house wine. Usually not amazing but it’s wine so it’s always great. They will ask if you want rosso – red or bianco – white. You can buy any cheap bottle in a store and it will probably be good but the best are DOP and DOCG certified. Stay away from IGT wines - although they are cheap they are generally not the best. Also in italy, you pay for water which is either naturale – natural or frizzante – sparkling.
PASTA: In Rome, there are 4 typical pasta dishes and I recommend you try them all. Cacio e Pepe, Gricia, Amatriciana, and my personal favorite Carbonara!
*I add to this post frequently, if you’re looking for any immediate recommendations and have a chat about Rome or places to travel from Rome, you can send me a message through the contact link*