What to do - and where to eat! - in the Italian capital
Ah, Rome - my first and most beloved hometown. It's where I was born, and though we left for California's sunshine when I was a kid, we always made trips back to visit family, a tradition Jade and I carry on today. I love to take her sightseeing and visit my favorite old neighborhoods, but most of all, of course, we love to eat. These days, whenever we head to Rome, I have some favorite restaurants I just have to see, but I always try to make time to try new places as well. These are my all-time favorites that I recommend to everyone.
Via Panisperna, 251
Great wine bar in Monti that has a mix of locals and tourists alike. The food is amazing and the vibe might be even better. Wait outside with a glass of wine under the ivy while you wait for your table.
Via Panama 2 Roma
Classic and delicious Roman food.
Vicolo delle Bollette 13 Rome, Italy 00187
The best Spaghetti alla moro and Spaghetti alle telline! So delish!!
Via dei Serpenti 19
Near the Colosseum, it's a neighborhood place for wonderful Sicilian food and wine.
Via Garibaldi 18 00153 Roma
I love the pasta al'amatriciana. They have super delicious toasted bread with olive oil, salt, and a side of ganache! Sit outside under the canopy. You can also buy their fresh pastas and sauces!
Via del Moro, 38, 00153 Roma, Italy
Salita De' Crescenzi 31, 00186 Rome, Italy
Amazing classic spot. Go here if you want traditional pastas or a long Roman style lunch!
Via del Governo Vecchio, 114, 00186 Roma, Italy
Go here for some great casual Roman Pizza.
Via degli Specchi, 6, 00186 Roma, Italy
Best hamburger in Rome!
Via del Pellegrino, 87
Great coffee shop with the best cappuccino and fabulous chocolate cornetti. Cute spot with a hip vibe for breakfast or afternoon coffee.
Piazza della Repubblica, 47, Rome, Italy 00185
Hotel rooftop for cocktails, snacks and an amazing view of Rome.
Via Vittoria, 44, 00187 Roma, Italy
Casual and cute. This is the kind of all-day cafe/bar/neighborhood meeting place that I love most about Italy, with a welcoming, casual vibe that makes you want to come back again and again. In fact, one some trips I've gone here almost every day! In the mornings, I'd have an espresso and a fabulously flaky chocolate croissant. In the afternoons, it was aperitivi and Aperol spritzes. Fabulous!
Via dei Baullari, 106 00186 Rome
Charming place to relax and nibble on some tiramisu and sip on an espresso.
Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, 29 00186 Rome, Italy
I love the cappuccino with cornetti (nutella or gianduja filled croissants).
Piazza De’ Renzi 15, 00153 Rome, Italy
Via dei Vascellari, 29
Go for the pasta with clams, stay for the amaro. Be sure to call ahead and get a 7:30 rezzy, the only time slot they allow reservations.
Piazza del Popolo 1
This restaurant is famous for its - you guessed it! - bolognese. Jade went on a hunt for the best bolognese in the city, trying it everywhere we went, and this high-end restaurant was her winning pick. While you'd be crazy to eat here and not try it, don't skip dessert. They have the most incredible, dainty, gelato-filled fruits, and the tiramisu is to die for!
Via di Gesu' E Maria 18
Via Merulana 237
Excellent Neopolitan pizza!
Vicolo del Bologna 45 00153 Roma
Via Mario de Fiori 41
For a full meal in the same comfortable Buvette atmosphere, its sister restaurant, Dilla, was a fantastic find near the Spanish Steps. Their veal meatballs are perfectly light and juicy, and if you're craving a break from all the pasta or a little taste of home, the burger is on par with the best I've had in the U.S.
Via Tripolitania, 4, 00199 Rome, Italy
Amazing dessert that you order first!
Via del Monte della Farina, 28
Newer spot in Camp Di Fiori. Order the pizza with pomodoroni & arugula (mozz underneath) & Roman focaccia (no cheese) with thinly sliced mortadella.
You know Jade and I are serious about our gelato, and this is one of the very best in Rome. With a rotating list of all-natural flavors both classic (stracciatella, hazelnut) and creative (banana and sesame brittle, pink grapefruit and horseradish), you could visit every day and never get bored.
Piazza Campo de' Fiori, 22
If you find yourself in the Campo di Fiori around breakfast or lunch, stop by this little shop to grab a quick bite to enjoy on the piazza. The Pizza Bianca with mortadella is one of my favorites in town!!
Via San Sebastianello Rome, Italy
Very cool and hip, light food (salads, fish etc., casual)
Absolutely fantastic gelato - maybe the best in the city!
Piazza Augusto Imeratore 9, 00816 Rome, Italy
Via della Panetteria, 42 00187 Rome
Some of the best gelato in Rome.
Via dei Chiavarir, 4/5, Rome, Italy
They get fresh fish in from Ponza every day. I recommend the fish tartare, sea urchine, farro pasta with anchovy and breadcrumbs and the fritto misto.
Via Angelo Brunetti, 10, 00186 Rome, Italy
Fab Gnocchi, Rigatoni Carbonara & fun salads.
Via Alberto Cadlolo 101 Cavalieri Hilton, 00136 Rome
Above the city with a view of the spanish steps. It's a Michelin 2 star restaurant ( in the Cavalieri Hilton on Via Cadlolo)- a splurge!
Via della Rosetta, 8-9, Roma, Italy
This is the place to go for fish!
Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo, 18
Some of the best velvety smooth Carbonara in Rome - and the amatriciana is delicious as well.
Via del Leone, 4 00186 Rome
Slightly cramped but great food fritto misto and bucatini alla amatriciana (traditional Roman dishes) and local wine.
Viale dei Parioli, 122, 00197 Roma, Italy
Excellent brunch spot!
Via Borgognona, 11
Simple, well done fare with great service. Excellent for lunch as well as dinner. Another eggplant parm that must be tried!
Via del Portico d'Ottavia 16
This restaurant on the edge of the historic Jewish ghetto in Rome is known for their carciofi alla giudia, a classic Roman dish of artichokes that are deep-fried until they're incredibly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They're more snackable than potato chips! Don’t miss the handmade Tagliolini with Chicory! One of my favorite dishes!
Via Dei Laghi KM. 4200, 00047 Marino, Italy
20 minutes outside Rome. We shot there with Aunt Raffy for Giada's Holiday Special. You will be happy no matter what your order!
Via della Croce, 81, 00187 Roma, Italy
Great antipasti fritti & Lasagna & Spaghetti w/ clams)
Via di S. Cosimato, 14a
Gelato spelled backwards but the flavors are nothing less than straight forward. Bold interesting combinations mixed with silky texture, that should not be missed.
Piazza de' Ricci, 144
Excellent seafood! Great outdoor space overlooking the piazza!
Via della Meloria, 43, 00136 Roma, Italy
Via Pietro Tacchini, 26 (Parioli) 00197 Roma
Their eggplant parmesan is unbelievable!!!
Vicolo del Babuino 4
For an escape from the tourist throngs around the Spanish Steps, this locals-only restaurant hidden away in a quiet alley is just the ticket. The menu is seafood-focused - I loved the spaghetti with clams - with one of the best tiramisus in town.
Piazza del Popolo 5
An old-school cafe and pasticceria open since 1922, Rosati is the model of classic Roman dining. With a prime location on the piazza for people-watching and a menu of well-prepared Italian basics, there's a reason it's been in business for nearly 100 years! You'll never go wrong here.
Via Dei Giubbonari 21-22, 00186 Rome, Italy
Small market and restaurant with prepared foods. You have to try the hamburger with pesto and reduced balsamic vinegar. The mortadella and pizza bianca is also awesome. Great wines!
Piazza di Pietra, 42, 00186
This local’s bar near the Trevi Fountains has great ambience. Take a seat outside on the piazza and take in the atmosphere!
Via Urbana 56
With a shockingly affordable, ever-changing daily menu that focuses on seasonal vegetables, Sciue Sciue is a fantastic addition to the bohemian Monti neighborhood. No two meals there are the same, but when we visited, we were blown away by the pasta with swordfish, olives, and cherry tomatoes, and spaghetti with bacon, zucchini flowers and cheese.
Incredible young chef. Cool trattoria. Classic food with a modern touch. Amazing carbonara and rigatoni with pajata
Via Giovanni da Castel Bolognese, 63
Delicious spot on Italian cuisine with a great wine list and excellent service. Get the eggplant parm, lasagna and the roasted pork if you are lucky enough to find it on the menu.
Via di San Vito 13a 00185 Rome
Casual with great specials like scrumptious ravioli.
Via del Babuino 9 00187 Rome Italy
My favorite hotel in Rome. Total luxury.
Piazza della Minerva 69 00186 Rome
Great, central location. Large rooms that are well priced. Yummy complimentary breakfast. Beautiful view of the Piazza!
Via Ludovisi 49 Rome 00187
Their dining room has a spectacular view of the city. La Terrazza dell'Eden (restaurant) and a rooftop bar.
Via della Scrofa, 16, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
A cute store with unique kitchen and tabletop goodies.
Via Margutta, 53B, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
My favorite souvenir: marble signs with carved Italian phrases and sayings! You can get one that's already made, or a custom one - depending on the shop owner's workload, he can get it done in a few minutes while you wait, or you may have to wait a few hours.
Rome was made for walking - great news, since you'll want to work off some of those calories between meals! Standing in the middle of the Colosseum, you'll come face-to-face with the fact that people have been walking these same city streets for thousands of years. Rome's history is truly awe-inspiring, and nowhere is it more evident that in these incredible ruins. Don't miss the view from above!
To really burn some calories, climb the 135 stairs of the Spanish Steps up to the Trinita dei Monti church. The 18th-century landmark is the widest staircase in Europe, and a popular meeting place for visitors from around the world. From the top, you'll have an amazing view of the Piazza di Spagna and its fountain below.
Just behind the Spanish Steps is the Villa Borghese, the largest public park in the city, where you can enjoy a picnic among the beautiful gardens that once belonged to the Borghese family. It's a welcome breath of fresh air, whether you stroll, sit, or rent a bike to tour the whole park.
Before you leave town, stop at the Trevi Fountain to throw a coin in and make a wish to come back again soon! The grandest, most impressive fountain in Rome took more than 100 years to complete. Turn around and throw the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder, or your wish won't come true!
If you want a guided tour through the city, consult the experts below!
Katie Parla is an authority on all things Roman food. Historian, journalist, cookbook author and beyond, you'll be in good hands with Katie's picks!
Via della Polveriera, 40 00184 Rome
Via Angelo Masina 5 00153 Roma