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Rome’s best food & drink

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Last updated: 07 April, 2024

Roman cuisine is more straightforward than many visitors expect, dominated by pastas and pizzas made using simple local ingredients.

In Rome, seasonal eating is a way of life. In winter find carciofi (artichokes) along with puntarelle: a green enjoyed with an olive oil/anchovy dressing. Lentils (lenticchie) are another wintertime staple.

Spring tables showcase meaty fava beans and zucchini flowers (fiori di zucca).

Summertime is focused on fruits like peaches (pesche) and watermelon (cocomero).

What to try

Tuck into Rome’s best-known dishes – spaghetti alla carbonara, amatriciana or gricia, and porchetta (roast suckling pig). Other star staples include saltimbocca, fried artichokes and courgette flowers.

Also see our round-up of traditional Italian foods to try in Italy.

The dining scene

As a general rule, Italians consider food sacred and something to be savoured and enjoyed with friends and family. The exception to the rule is Roman street food. A huge part of the Eternal City’s lifestyle, it’s wholly acceptable to have a stroll while licking a creamy gelato or munching on crunchy suppli.

Meals are best taken in an open-air trattoria (family-run restaurant), ideally with enough time to enjoy the conviviality of the experience and plenty of local wine.

Another way to experience Roman ‘fast food’ is by partaking in the apericena – a more substantial version of the pre-dinner aperitivo. For the price of a glass of wine or cocktail, you’ll have admission to a buffet of authentic Roman finger foods.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Armando al Pantheon

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Carbonara with parmesan cheese

Experience

Just a few metres from the Pantheon, Armando al Pantheon has been serving outstanding spaghetti alla carbonara since 1961. One of Rome’s signature pasta dishes, creamy carbonara is a must if you want to ‘eat like a Roman’.

Good for age: 18+

Cesare al Casaletto

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Cesare al Casaletto

Experience

This bright and airy trattoria in Monteverde is regaled for another of Rome’s landmark specialties: pasta all’amatriciana. Cesare’s version is made with ridged rigatoni to properly hold onto the sauce.

Good for age: 18+

  • Frascati, Lazio, Italy

Frascati Wine Region

Bucket List Experience

Frascati Wine Region

A day trip to Frascati has long been a tradition for Romans, who savour a stop at the numerous fraschette (outdoor wine bars) to sample the many wines produced in these hills.

Frascati white wine, either dry or sweet, still or sparkling, is made from blends of the Malvasia and Trebbiano grape varieties. Tradition says it’s best immediately after production, namely at the source. Romans flock here just to drink it.

The area is also well known for its beautiful Tusculum villas, a 16th-century legacy of the aristocratic families who came here to escape the heat of the city. Many of these villas have been turned into hotels, such as the grandiose Villa Grazioli.

Good for age: 18+

Flavio al Velavevodetto

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Flavio al Velavevodetto

Experience

Another typical Roman recipe to try is Flavio al Velavevodetto’s cacio e pepe. The savoury and satisfying pasta dish, made with spaghetti, salty Pecorino Romano cheese, has just the right amount of pepper.

Good for age: 18+

Nonna Betta

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Nonna Betta

Experience

Romans do love their artichokes. To sample classic Roman-Judaic cuisine head to Nonna Betta in the Jewish Ghetto where they serve the best i carciofi alla giudia in the city.

Good for age: 18+

Pasticceria Regoli

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Pasticceria Regoli

Experience

This old-fashioned pastry shop in the Esquilino district is where they make maritozzi: a classic Roman breakfast brioche filled with fresh whipped cream. Stop by on your way to Rome’s main railway station.

Good for age: 18+

Pizzarium Bonci

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Pizzarium Bonci

Experience

Master pizza chef (pizzaiolo) Gabriele Bonci opened Pizzarium Bonci near the Vatican in 2003 and lines have been out the door ever since. Rest assured, the pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) is worth the wait.

Good for age: 18+

Roscioli

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Roscioli

Experience

For a really good pasta alla gricia, people in the know will send you to Roscioli for this white (bianco) rendition of amatriciana – sans the tomato sauce.

Good for age: 18+

Supplizio

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Supplizio

Experience

Supplizio celebrates Rome’s love-affair with suppli: a deep-friend ball of rice mixed with tomato sauce and mozzarella. The perfect accompaniment with a glass of wine or to take wrapped in brown paper to enjoy on the go.

Good for age: 18+

Testaccio Market

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Testaccio Market

Experience

A cluster of busy stalls offering delicious eats, Testaccio Market in Rome’s former meat-packing district, is where you’ll find authentic Roman delicacies, such as stuffed braised meat sandwiches, rustic piazza, and handmade pasta dishes. Eat in or take-away.

Good for age: 18+

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

Good food in Rome is pretty much ubiquitous. For the best service, value and quality, though, try and avoid the obvious tourist haunts.

The streets around Campo de Fiori and Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere are crammed with good, relatively cheap trattorias. The Jewish Quarter and Via Portico d’Ottavia are full of restaurants serving traditional Jewish-Roman fare.

The most exclusive restaurants are usually found in the top hotels.

When to do it

Most Romans eat three meals a day. A typical breakfast consists of a cappuccino and cornetto taken at a local bar, while lunch is consumed at about 1:30pm. Commonly, dinnertime in Rome takes place at 8pm, therefore you shouldn’t expect to find restaurants open for business before 7:30pm.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Rome

Traveler’s choice 2023 winner, this Food walking tour of Rome is perfect for anyone looking for a greater understanding of Roman culture and how food plays a part. Embark on this culinary escapade at the beginning of your trip, as it helps you to get acclimated to the city. Don’t eat before you come: the food is delicious and abundant likewise the wine. Indulge in the finest Rome's iconic delicacies: pizza, pasta, Jewish fried artichokes, zucchini flowers, supplì, fried pizza, bread, salami, cheeses, wine, and gelato. Meeting the locals in their daily routine, visiting historical venues with a priority access in Campo de Fiori, Jewish Ghetto & Trastevere. Real foodies and passionate guides will make you will feel as a local, learning all the do's and don'ts! Whether bathed in the morning market's hustle or the serene sunset glow, seize the moment to bask in Rome's culture and tradition. As the tour concludes, a splendid gift awaits: a complimentary PDF guidebook and cookbook.

Price €93

Min age 0

Rating 4.81 / 5 [2052 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Rome

Taste the best of Rome, with this 4-hour evening walking food tour & allow all your senses to come alive as we expose the real Rome. During this non-touristic experience, you will be taken off the beaten path to the foodie neighborhood of Rome. There are over 20 delicious food and fine wine tastings in 5 locally loved venues. Venues include include the number 1 pizzeria in Rome, owned by famed chef Gabriele Bonci, known as the Michelangelo of Pizza. The award winning gourmet good shop La Tradizione, with over 400 types of cheeses and 150 types of cured meats. At La Nicchia Cafe, try 30 year aged balsamic vinegar, truffles, genovese pesto, fresh buffalo mozzarella and more treats, with Fine wine. Visit the locally loved restaurant il segreto for hand made pasta with free flowing D.O.C.G wine. (Barolo) Your tour ends with artisanal gelato Unlimited food & wine offered Group size is limited to max 15 people Book now to reserve your place

Price €99

Min age 0

Rating 4.91 / 5 [1941 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Rome

The pioneering Food Tour of Trastevere! For 12 years now we have been giving VIP access to the hottest and most unique food venues in the neighborhood. Be sure to join us for an unforgettable night! Get exclusive access to two of Rome’s most famous restaurants. Skip the long line at local institution Da Enzo Restaurant to toast with DOC prosecco and enjoy some of their most famous dishes. Get the exclusive access to the oldest wine cellar in the city (2000 years) Taste Julius Caesar’s favorite dish while tasting amazing wine. Eat the most typical street food of Rome like suppli', fried artichokes, pizza and porchetta. Savour the best organic gelato in Trastevere. Learn the difference between the real and the ”fake” stuff. Become a true Roman and learn your way around the city by getting insider and food tips from your local guide. Traditional pasta in an authentic Ancient Rome setting, top-notch wine pairing at Enoteca Ferrara, and much more on our Alternative Route.

Price €131

Min age 4

Rating 4.89 / 5 [1925 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Rome

Take a great gourmet adventure through the charming alleyways of Rome to explore amazing street food and impressive historic monuments explained by a local expert guide. Street food has been a daily habit for the Roman students and office workers that still today want to have a genuine and delicious meal without wasting hours in ordering and waiting for the food to be served. You will explore some of the most famous and traditional street food vendors and taste a large variety of specialties, from pizza to suppli, from zucchini flowers to pastries. This tour is perfect for people that wanna have a first overview of the city center of Rome and get to know some of the best addresses for eating.

Price €45

Min age 0

Rating 4.83 / 5 [1499 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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