When you mention Italy, one of the first things that will come to mind is food. And when it comes to eating in Rome, good restaurants run the gamut from Japanese and Indian to grabbing a simple pizza on-the-go. But perhaps, nothing takes the cake than dining at one of the Eternal City's top rated Italian eateries. Whether you're looking for something modern, casual, mom-and-pop or a mix of all of the above, Rome certainly has something for all walks of life and wallet sizes.
With Italian cuisine renowned for being not only seasonal but regional, you don't even have to leave Rome to get a taste of some of Italy's other cities or regions. Across the city you can find a wide variety of restaurants that specialize in regional dishes from Rome, Naples and Venice to coastal seaside locations like Sicily and Calabria. In fact, most regions of Italy are represented by their cuisine here in the eternal city.
While you don't have to venture too far from the historical center, inner city neighborhoods like Testaccio, Trastevere and Monti are packed full of worthy and diverse dining options. So check out the list for the top authentic Italian eateries in Rome.
They don't serve what foreigners think of Italian food, only seasonal Roman classics. In winter, dine in cavernous rooms lined with plexiglass to protect the walls, a conglomeration of terracotta. In the summer, book well in advance to snag a table on the outdoor upstairs terrace.
The classic pasta dishes, like cacio e pepe (homemade pasta strands tossed with pecorino romano cheese and black pepper) and carbonara (pasta dressed with egg yolk, pecorino romano cheese and black pepper) are excellent and the tiramisu, a northern Italian import which has found its way to Rome, will change your mind about the dessert if all you've had are sticky, over-sweetened versions.
Flavio is waiting for you in Via di Monte Testaccio 97 and in Piazza dei Quiriti 4/5 in Rome.
PRICE RANGE: €20 - €35
Considering its location less than half a block from the Pantheon, a major Roman tourist attraction, it's no surprise that Armando al Pantheon books up well in advance.
The simple dishes the chef is known for, like spaghetti alla gricia (pasta with cured pork jowl, black pepper and pecorino romano cheese) and spaghetti aglio, olio, e peperoncino (pasta with garlic, oil and chili), are savory and satisfying. The depth of flavor of his coda alla vaccinara (braised oxtail) is unmatched in the city.
Excellent place, typical Roman atmosphere that feels like home. There was a time when the word osteria signified a simple eatery with paper on the tables, a small, seasonal menu, and a single glass for both water in wine. Now the word is trendy and has been co-opted by the city's posh restaurants. But at this busy neighborhood establishment in Tor Pignattara, Osteria Bonelli stays true to its name.
The menu, which is written on folding chalkboards, circulates through the osteria's dining room listing dishes rooted in Roman peasant cooking like horse skirt steak and stewed tripe. On Fridays, expect to find grilled and fried fish specials, while the daily menu features a long list of vegetable side dishes, which Romans believe promotes digestion, a pragmatic approach to a long and meaty meal.
Osteria Bonelli is located in eastern Rome and well beyond the third century Aurelian walls. To get there, hop on the Giardinetti-bound commuter train from Termini or Porta Maggiore and get off at the Berardi stop.
PRICE RANGE €20 - €35
Traditional Roman cuisine in an intimate and sophisticated atmosphere with art nouveau mirrors, marble counter and toy cars on the tables. Arcangelo Dandini is the one of Rome's most beloved chefs, a man who embraces seasonal, traditional recipes of the Italian capital. His dishes are inspired by time spent in family members' home and restaurant kitchens, but he also seeks to recreate specialties of the Roman Renaissance and even ancient delicacies.
Arcangelo's greatest successes are when he keeps things simple. His potato gnocchi, which are dressed with a light tomato and guanciale (cured pork jowl) sauce, are the absolutely lightest in town, and his stewed tripe simmered with tomato and mint has few rivals, while his braised oxtail is enhanced with a dusting of cocoa. Stick to Arcangelo's classics and be sure to kick off the meal with his suppli', fried rice balls studded with mozzarella and chopped chicken gizzards.