Great selection of food and wine at reasonable prices on the top floor of the monument. Outside and inside seating with the very best panoramic views of Rome for free. Relaxing seating and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Location is between Ancient Rome sights and Renaissance museums. There is also a new sky lift (small charge) to the very top, which is worth a look.
Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma, Italy
+39 06 678 0664
Google map: bit.ly/PyWPaU
Chef Riccardo Zanni has been here for six months, and his ambitious and delicious menu is a cause for celebration.
We arrived with no reservation, were warmly welcomed, and the service was the best I can remember in a long time. Over a glass of prosecco we considered the menu (just one dish was not available and we were informed right away). Though artichokes were only listed as a side vegetable, I am fond of them and the chef said they had just come out of the oven and would be great as a starter (and we were only charged the side veg price!). A tiny chef's salad arrived as a bonne bouche and meanwhile we had to choose wine: we enquired about something red, less usual, perhaps a less known region or grape variety. Six(!) bottles were brought to our table for a delightful discussion about the relative merits - and we were told right from the start that none of the bottles cost more than €25. We chose a Lacrima di Morro d'Alba which was terrific.
All courses served were excellent - the amount of tuna served sashimi style was so generous it was hard to finish. So there was no room for dessert, but the chef insisted on presenting his newest creation, an ice-cream of parmigiano cheese and kumquat marmelade, which was extraordinarily delicious. We declined further wine, but were nonetheless served a perfect vino generoso (sticky and dark, served chilled).
None of the extras appeared on the bill, a very reasonable €80 for two. We left a big tip and still felt we had enjoyed a bargain.
Recommended without reservation.
TuttiFrutti, in the heart of what used to be Rome's Smithfields, is an inexpensive family run restaurant. It's Italian, so you'll always find variations of the what makes Italian cuisine so famous (gnocchi, pasta dishes, pizza) on the constantly changing menu. TuttiFrutti does for food what Paul Smith does to traditional English fashion: old style with a twist. The wine list is extensive and the staff are sophisticated and incredibly genial. This restaurant has become my regular spot to take people when they visit Rome.
Via Luca Della Robbia, 3/A, 00153 Roma
Nearest Metro: Piramide
Google map: bit.ly/sRAJ7r
Its a typlical Roman trattoria with its own specialist dish. No pretension, no frills, no waiters at the door asking you to come in and the speciality of cacio e pepe tagliolini at 11 euros is worth the trip alone - pecorino cheese, pepper and butter served in a cheese basket. You can have two courses, a mezzo (half) a litre of wine and a coffee for 25 euros each.
Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24, 00153 Roma, Italy
+39(0) 6 5800757
Number 8 tram from Rome centre. Get off after you cross the river. From Trastevere railway station get off before the river, with the river behind you walk left off Vialle Trastevere and you will find it.
Google map: bit.ly/pofQdT
After days of picking out fish in my 'vegetarian' salads, and getting thoroughly bored of pasta with tomato sauce, it was a joy to find Il Margutta. The huge vegetarian buffet meant that I finally got to enjoy Italian food. And the beautiful, quiet location, tucked away near the bustle of the Spanish Steps, was magical. I half expected Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn to stop by.
Il Bacaro is an awesome restaurant about five minutes from the Pantheon. Like a lot of places in the area it's not exactly cheap, but it's also not astronomically expensive, and for sure less pretentious than many places in the center. One thing really separates it from the competition; the quality of the food. Prepared fresh daily by skilled, caring personnel, as much love as time and effort go into cooking these fabulous dishes and makes all the difference in taste. Seasonal menus are also a bonus, meaning you only get food REALLY in season at the time. The pumpkin sauce is to die for, the meat delectable, and leaving without dessert may just be a cardinal sin.
They even have a menu on their site. I also have to give props to those who recommended it to me, my apartment rental booking agency, Leisure in Rome. Their English was so good, and they were so helpful and informative, right down to tipping me off about this little gem and others. I'll paste a link to the apartment I stayed in too, a surprisingly quiet place in the heart of Trastevere (lovely) that I absolutely felt at home in: www.leisureinrome.com/_apartments_in_rome-in-trastevere/Trastevere_apartment,S,399.html
Round the corner from the Trevi fountain, a little bit away from the tourist hordes, is the San Crispino gelateria. There's usually a long queue, so you'll know where it is before you get there. The flavours are really inventive - last time I had honey, ginger and cinnamon - and the quality of the gelati is fantastic. Definitely the best gelati in Rome.
Forget Giolitti's (only really famous because of the number of flavours) - the Gelateria del Teatro on Via di Simone near the Piazza Navona is The best. Many flavours and made on the premises by the family who own and run it, and made with fresh local produce. Reasonable prices too (unlike San Crispino's). The only gelateria to which I gave repeat custom.
Via de San Simone 70, Rome 00100, Italy
Tel: 39 06 45474880
The best Pizza restaurant in Rome. Without doubt. When I first saw the entrance to this place I wondered why eight people were already waiting outside before it opened. It looks nothing from the outside, although parts of Trastevere are very pretty. Rather than the touristy places to eat in Rome here you get a real taste for Italian food (pizza mainly) at its finest. It's totally Italian, no English on the menu. Take a few minutes to see what others are odering, the staff are friendly so don't feel embarrassed to point and say you would like the same! It's tiny, full of character and if you are really lucky a cello player will sing and play to you. One of the best moments in Rome I have ever had.
0039 06 5880516
After staying in a fabulous place in Florence (see our other tip about Il Ghiro) we thought it couldn't get any better. How wrong we were. The Beehive is extraordinary. A beautiful, warm, clean, friendly hostel with free internet and the most incredible vegetarian cafe downstairs (you can also eat at the cafe if you are not a guest). We can't believe our luck and we are wishing we could stay in a place like this everywhere we go. By far, the best hostel possible. The term "hostel" doesn't remotely do it justice. It's home, in Rome.
Via Marghera 8
If you fancy something quieter than the big cafes in the nearby Piazza Navona and want a place where you will be able to watch real Romans going about their business, try this neighbourhood cafe which has excellent coffee plus cakes and pastries. Coffee and coffee flavoured chocolates are available to buy in signature yellow packaging.
Open: Daily 7.30am – 12midnight. 82 Piazza Sant' Eustachio.
Testaccio is a lively and cool area situated in the neighbourhoods of the Piramide and the thousand-year Circo Massimo, just under the famous Aventino Hill and demarcated by the River Tevere. Testaccio district is characterised by several typical Trattorie and offers a slice of trendy Roman life with its multiple nightclubs.
Testaccio district is situated at a comfortable distance from the archaeological area; enjoy the charming Colosseo by night and admire the nearby church of San Pietro in Vincoli with the Statue of Moses sculpted by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Find out what Rome is capable of offering beyond history and culture.
I had my best ice cream ever in Gelateria San Crispino. After discovering it, I had to stop there each single day. Sometimes, a great ice cream replaced my whole meal.
Close to the Pantheon I tried once Giolitti, was also great. But I'm in love with San Crispino! Ice cream is cheap too in Rome compared to Paris and London - with a couple of euros you get a big cone with three flavours with whipped cream. I was amazed by the number of available flavours! I found this blog post which is useful for deciphering them.
Pizzas are a speciality but the menu is great. Rossopomodoro is a chain (Maybe think Pizza Express?) around Italy. This one is in Largo di Torre Argentina, west of Piazza Venezia and three blocks south of the Pantheon. Go upstairs after entering the Tardis-like front door to a large, frantically busy local gem.
Google Map: tinyurl.com/6lwk38
Largo di Torre Argentina
This great little cafe/bookshop is what all cafes in Rome should be like. Not perhaps as achingly scenic as some other cafes in Rome, it's nevertheless a good bet for a coffee, a slice of cake and a browse through the books.
Via dei Fienaroli 28 (across the river in Trastevere)
This restaurant can be a bit hard to find but worth the effort. Tiny little place with the tables close to one another. Our waiter was wonderful. He brought the pasta dishes in the pot they were cooked in and sang while he put it on the plate, giving us each a taste of each other's meal. Very reasonably priced for the Pantheon area. Two courses with wine for two people was 55 euros. Reservations are recommended.
Via delle Colonnelle 5, 00186. +39 06 6793842
A massive and excellent eatery in central Rome (two minutes off via del Corso), incorporating a posh restaurant, more homely osteria, wine and cookshop and - the highlight for this family - a pizzeria, which on weekends serves a magnificent brunch.
You take a large tin plate, heap it with food from the buffet, and pay by weight (returning as many times as stomach and wallet permit). The kids loved it - as did the many Italian families queuing for tables. Brilliant.
Piazza Augusto Imperatore
It was like a burst of sunshine and all that I had hoped for. A relaxed and fun holiday set in the Sabine Hills just north of Rome. Cooking lessons, luxury accomodation, a stroll through an olive grove and a day trip to Rome. Eating the fabulous food and wine tasting really topped it off. Our host, Sally, and the chef, Guido really looked after us.
A Cafe-cum-restaurant on the Piazza del Popolo. Very cheap, great tasting authentic food and civilised atmosphere. It has the best beef lasagne I ever tasted for a very reasonable price. Also has great desserts.
Piazza del Popolo. Nearest metro station is Flaminio. It is located on the side of the piazza nearest to the Borghese gardens.
A friend who lives in Rome took us to Alceste, a shudderingly expensive seafood restaurant near the Piazza Navona, recently and the meal was a disaster. In fact it's been ages since we were so thoroughly ripped off.
Though the three of us speak Italian and explained that we wanted to split an assorted antipasto, we were served three full antipasti, which were awful, and charged for all three. The sea bass cooked in salt looked like it had been dropped on the kitchen floor and service was snarly. Best meal of our trip: Trattoria Monti, a superb little place with delicious food, a Roman crowd and charming waiters.
Trattoria Monti, Via San Vito, 13/A, (011 39) 06 446 6573
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