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Rome: 8 Restaurants to Dine at on Your Roman Holiday

A man in a blue long-sleeved shirt, wearing glasses and holding a bottle of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo as he sits at a table in a restaurant.

Chris and I spent five glorious days eating, drinking, and sightseeing in Rome. During our stay, we tried Rome’s four traditional pasta dishes: carbonara, cacio e pepe, amatriciana, and all Gricia. And, of course, we saved room for pinsa and pizza. Thanks to prior research (Stanley Tucci, Food + Wine, Google Reviews) and a little help from DoubleTree Rome Monti’s staff, nearly every meal we ate was amazing. Read on for eight great restaurants to check out on your next (or first) trip to Rome. 

1. Pinsitaly Trevi

A woman with blonde hair, wearing a gray sweater, holds an Eggplant Parmigiana Pinsa.

Pastas, salads, and pinsas, along with desserts and bottles of wine, are on the menu at Pinsitaly Trevi. Pinsas are similar to pizza in almost every way except the crust, which is lighter in taste, lower in calories, and higher in protein. The first historical record of their existence can be found in Virgil’s Aeneid, which was written between 29 and 19 B.C.  

Our pinsas, Eggplant Parmigiana for me and Diavola for Chris, were flavorful delights with light, airy, and crisp crusts. The portions were between generous and just right. Chris finished his. I was a slice short of being able to finish mine. We washed them down with a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, our favorite kind of Italian red wine. 

Service is quick, casual, and friendly. Pinsitaly Trevi is, as you might guess, close to Trevi Fountain. If Trevi Fountain is on your Rome itinerary (and it should be), you may want to grab a casual (and affordable) bite here. 

Armando al Pantheon is one of two restaurants that I put on our itinerary after watching Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy’s Rome episode. In this third-generation family restaurant, run by the Gargioli family since 1961, you’ll find typical Roman cuisine. Their wine list is extensive, but the dining room is small, so make reservations in advance. 

Give their Roman Artichoke a try. I was a bit uncertain about how to eat an artichoke prepared in the Roman way since I’d never had one like it before. After I managed all but the stem, our server stopped by and said, “Madam, I must tell you that is the best part.” So I ate it, and it was indeed delicious.

For my main, I copied Stanley Tucci’s choice and ordered the Rigantoni all’Amatriciana. I experienced another first – eating a meal with Guanciale, cured pork cheek, in it. Oh my — the salty contrast it gives to the rest of the dish is divine. Seriously amazing. If you watch the show, you can see how they prepare it.

For his starter, Chris tried the Crema di Zucca, pumpkin cream with crunchy bread, toasted pumpkin seeds, and gorgonzola cheese. For his main, he went with one of the day’s specials, Fussili with Broccoli and Sausage. He was delighted by both. 

Service was attentive but not rushed. We drank wine with our meal. Once our plates were cleared, as so often is the case in Europe, coffee was suggested. Tired from our morning of sightseeing and the indulgent meal afterward, it seemed the perfect choice. Our coffee arrived on saucers, each with a piece of chocolate. Perfection. 

To get to Pommidoro dal 1890 Ristorante, cross the train tracks from the touristy side of Termini station to the working-class San Lorenzo neighborhood. Here, table conversations are in Italian. If you go, you might also hear the voices of Stanley Tucci fans. This is one of his other stops, the second to make it onto our Rome dining itinerary. 

Pommidoro dal 1890 Ristorante is said to have the best Spaghetti Carbonara in Rome. Tucci ate it during his visit. Chris and I each ordered our own bowls, but first, we devoured Pommidoro’s bruschetta con pomodoro. I’m not sure how something as simple as chopped tomatoes on bread can taste so divine. Maybe it’s the olive oil produced by the same family that’s been running the restaurant for over a century. Maybe. 

Now, let’s talk about our bowls of Spaghetti Carbonara. I’ve only eaten Spaghetti Carbonara a few times and never in Italy. Is it the best in Rome? If Stanley Tucci and Daniele De Michele, aka Donpasta, say so, then probably. What I can tell you is that it’s the best Chris and I have eaten in our lives. 

After decimating our Spaghetti Carbonaras as best we could, we shared a fantastic cut of beef tenderloin cooked to perfection and served with a lemon wedge. After making it halfway through the steak, we decided to try squeezing on a bit of lemon. It was amazing. 

We shared a fabulous bottle of Vermentino (my favorite Italian white wine) with our first two courses. With our steak, we each drank a glass of Montepulciano. 

If part of the reason you’re going to Rome is the food, then Pommidoro dal 1890 Ristorante is worth going out of your way to visit.

Two cups of coffee on saucers accompanied by spoons with the Caffe Greco A.D. 1760 printed on them. Two goblets of water. All on a table with the lush interior of an upscale cafe in the background.

You might want to visit Anctico Caffè Greco for a coffee or cocktail and a snack if one of the following applies:

  • The idea of visiting the oldest café in Rome (2nd oldest in Italy) excites you. 
  • You love spending time in the same places celebrated intellectuals, writers, musicians, and artists of every kind have spent theirs.
  • You adore drinking coffee in sumptuous settings full of art, plush seating, crystal dishes — and posh service. 

If all you really want is a good coffee, a pleasant spritz, a tasty pastry, or a savory snack at a decent place for a low price, sitting at a table in Antico Caffè Greco is not for you.  

Opened in 1760, Antico Caffè Greco has hosted many intellectuals, writers, and artists of all sorts. The space is inspiring with its plush red seating and walls full of paintings. Their coffee is strong, and their service is elegant. I have never eaten such a fancy (or pricey) bowl of berries. 

Having coffee and a bite while seated is a splurge here. We went to experience its history, and because I really, really, really wanted to sit in the same café where Byron, Keats, Dickens, Twain, Ibsen, and Hans Christian Anderson sat and drank their coffee, or wine, or whatever. If we make it to Rome again, I will return and spend more time in Caffè Greco. For me, it’s worth it. 

Gnocchi con Patate di Avezzano AllAmatriciana served in a white bowl.

Make your reservations well in advance for Roscioli Salumeria, especially if you’ll be in Rome during its high season. I doubt you can get a table there any other way. Seating is limited. On a Wednesday afternoon in low season, the place was packed.

When you book, if all options are available at the date and time you select, you’ll see four: Bar, Deli, Wine Cellar, and Restaurant. If you can, we recommend choosing “restaurant.” We did and felt we had the best seating available in this vibrant eatery buzzing with a mix of anticipation and enjoyment depending on which stage of a meal the surrounding tables are in.  

Every bite, from our starters (Burrata con Perle di Tartufo for Chris, La Nostra Parmigiana Fredda for me) to the sweet given to us at the end, was an absolute delight. The star of both our meals was the Gnocchi con Patate di Avezzano All’Amatriciana — comfort food with salty swagger. After saying no to dessert, our server gave us four biscuits (cookies) with a side of chocolate sauce. There is something so heartwarming about being invited to have just one more snack before you head back out into the world after enjoying a leisurely meal.

L’Angolo di Napoli means the corner of Naples. Here, they serve more than pizza, but you stick to the pizza when you can eat Neapolitan Pizza in a city so close to Naples. Or not. I’ve read reviews that say their other dishes are delicious. We stuck to the pizza. 

The woman assisting us at DoubleTree Rome Monti’s front desk put L’Angolo di Napoli on a handwritten list of restaurants she personally recommended. The pizzeria is only a few blocks from the hotel and near Termini Station in the Monti neighborhood. 

In addition to pizza, we recommend trying a Jewish-style Artichoke Carciofi alla Giudia while you’re there. A Jewish-style artichoke is a deep-fried carciofo Romanesco artichoke. Once fried, its edges are like golden chips, and its center is soft. We ate it from its edges to its center and didn’t leave a bite behind on our plate.

L’Angolo di Napoli’s pizza menu has an extensive range of standard and innovative options to choose from. I ate the Cafonella (cheese, bacon, and wedges of baked potato). The saltiness of the cheese was just right, and the crust at the center was so thin – it was as if the cheese and crust had melded into an unbreakable bond, a union made to last, a perfect marriage.

As delicious as their pizzas are, you may want to refrain from eating every bite, so you have room for their tiramisu. 

Good to know: they have gluten-free options available. 

Parmesan Brûlée topped with Black Truffle Shavings served on a bed of greens, on a grey plate.

Trattoria Antonio al Pantheon’s elegance is enchanting – its ambiance is equal parts romantic and relaxing. In food, as it is with love, appearances can only do so much. Yet, I can tell you that our hearts were won the moment Parmesan Brûlée was brought to our table, and the server shaved the truffle onto it. Savory, yet I think I detected a hint of sweetness at its top. Pure magic. Incredible. Indescribable goodness. Like so many things put on plates in front of us in Rome, we devoured it.

We enjoyed the Parmesan Brûlée and our main course, a perfectly prepared T-Bone served with roasted eggplant, red pepper, zucchini, and potatoes with the server’s wine recommendation, a bottle of 2016 Fantini Montepulciano d´Abruzzo ” Colline Teramane ” DOCG

Donuts on the dessert menu tempted us. Surprise, surprise. They were served with one side of mascarpone and one of chocolate sauce. I couldn’t resist raving about the mascarpone to the gentleman assisting us. I’d never tasted anything quite like it. A few moments later, he brought out Pandoro Cake with mascarpone. Cinnamon and powdered sugar were dusted over the entire dessert. My mouth is watering as I write this. I so wish I could have more of it right at this moment. 

Cacio e Pepe served in a white bowl.

I will forever remember Osteria Il Riposto as the first place I tried cacio e pepe. It was a dream of pecorino cheese and black pepper. Chris ordered Gricia, short pasta with pork cheek and pecorino cheese, a first for him as well. I stole a few fantastic bites and finished my mission to eat Rome’s famous four pasta dishes. 

For unique starters that are also delicious, try their spicy salami and gorgonzola bruschetta and their vegetable caponata (fried eggplants, tomato, pine nuts, onion, olives, capers, and vinegar). Judging by how delicious these were, I’ll bet that you can’t go wrong with their other offerings. 

At the end of our meal, I mentioned to the gentleman guiding us through our dining experience that a woman working at the front desk of the DoubleTree recommended Osteria Il Riposto. He wasn’t surprised. “That’s because they eat here all the time.”

Buon Appetito!

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