Food & Drink Advice

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20 Novembre 2019

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With a city nicknamed Caput Mundi—Capital of the World—it’s only natural that Romans are accustomed to seeing their home as unrivaled in matters of history, culture, and food. And while it’s true that traditional local cuisine holds a sacred place at the table, the Rome is hardly impervious to change. The city’s classics, from carbonara to cacio e pepe, are still universally beloved, but Rome’s dining and drinking culture, like that of all cities, is in a constant state of evolution (albeit at a glacial pace compared to New York, Paris or London).

Recently, tightening purse strings, transitioning food systems, and changing palates have conspired to create exciting new ways of dining, drinking, and shopping for food.

Where to Eat & Drink in Rome

The innovative features of Rome’s flourishing food and drinks scene are at their best when they use tradition as a foundation: neo-trattorias like Santo Palato serve honest classics with a few clever twists, while the booming independent enoteca scene, embodied by wine bars like Il Sorì, La Mescita, and Mostò embrace natural and traditional wines. Craft beer pubs like Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa’ and Artisan, run by enthusiastic experts, promote small producers over conventional choices and a revived interest in food provenance has given rise to a growing number of farmers’ markets, which contrary to popular belief are relative newcomers to the city’s gastronomic landscape.

Visitors to the Italian capital will be endlessly satisfied, whether they are after traditional foods or fresh flavors–but only if they know exactly where to look! So, where should you eat, drink, and shop for food in Rome? SO MANY AWESOME PLACES. I have so many resources dispersed over so many platforms, I can hardly keep track of it all. Here they are all in one place so you’ll have all my personally and independently* vetted recommendations for dining and drinking in Rome.

Cucina Romana

If you are after traditional cucina romana at moderate prices, Armando al Pantheon and Cesare al Casaletto are your best bets. And for super honest, affordable, delicious Roman/Umbrian/Sardinian specialties, plus pizza, serve with a smile, Tavernaccia Da Bruno is it.

RoscioliSanto PalatoMazzo may not serve explicitly traditional classics, instead blending modern techniques with local flavors, but all three are excellent. I have a handy guide for getting the most out of your visit to Roscioli, a must-read before this must-visit.

Pizza

For Neapolitan style pizza, check out TondaSforno, Sbanco, and La Gatta Mangiona, while Da Remo and Pizzeria Ostiense serve excellent thin crust Roman pies. 180g Pizzeria Romana does thin-crust Roman style with a gourmet flare. Don’t miss pizza by the slice at Pizzarium and Panificio Bonci (or Bonci’s new spots in Mercato Centrale and the Flaminio district). I also like Prelibato for a slice. The pizza bianca at Antico Forno Roscioli and pizza rossa at Forno Campo de’ Fiori are delicious, as are the various flavored slices at the latter (Forno Roscioli’s pizzas are heavy IMO). For tasty little pizzette, visit Da Artenio in the Mercato di Testaccio. And for a round-up of these and other favorite places for pizza in Rome.

Fine Dining

You may wish to give fine dining a pass. So much of it is so disappointing, derivative, and precious. But if you must, I highly recommend Metamorfosi in Parioli, which is the only Michelin-starred spot in Rome that I really have fun at. Il Sanlorenzo, an upscale fish restaurant in central Rome, may not have a star, but you’ll find formal service, an elegant atmosphere, and the finest fish dishes in town. (Not everyone reports the same service experience–see comments below). For more fresh fish at prices that reflect their high quality (fresh fish in Italy is very expensive), I love raw dishes, fried starters, and seafood pasta at Tempio di Iside.

Jewish Classics

For kosher meals, try C’e’ Pasta…e Pasta, which serves Roman Jewish classics cafeteria-style. In the Ghetto, Boccione Forno del Ghetto does amazing fruitcake called pizza ebraica, as well as spectacular almond paste and ricotta cakes. Nearby, Nonna Betta serves kosher-style food in a restaurant setting. Stick to the the pezzetti fritti, concia (fried and marinated zucchini) carciofi alla giudia (in season in the winter), and spaghetti con bottarga e cicoria.

Street Food

Go to Testaccio or San Giovanni for brisket or artichoke or kidney sandwiches at Mordi e Vai. The trapizzini at the growing number of Trapizzino shops are a must (especially the chicken cacciatore)! I’m a fan of the Trastevere location in Piazza Trilussa, which is currently the only branch with table service and a full-on wine list. The suppli’, potato croquettes, and fried pastry cream at Supplizio are super tasty.

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