Kleinchik Rome Restaurant Reviews
Since 2004 when we were in Rome for the Queen's sabbatical we have eaten in many restaurants - in fact, we eat out almost every night when we are there. We have some favorites that we go to all the time and others that we have gone to only once or twice. We decided to write up a short description of some of the restaurants that we like as a reference for any one traveling to Rome. Restaurants shown with a 'red' background would be the ones we would tell you put on the top of your list.
For each restaurant listed we have indicated the year that we last had dinner there as a measure of how current the information is. All of these are not fancy - no dressing up required - and the first and second course dishes are less than 10 euros. If they are above that level we will indicate it. We have indicated the address and phone number and grouped the restaurants by neighborhood.
We have also indicated the ranking that Trip Advisor assigns the restaurant. (There are almost 4000 restaurants listed in Rome on Trip Advisor.) This may or may not have any relevance as far as what we think of the restaurant but it will give you some idea of how other people think about it. If a Trip Advisor ranking is not given it is probably due to the fact that not enough people have sent in ratings.
The neighborhood designations correspond to the following map of the city:
Area A (Spanish Steps, Via Veneto, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese)
La Lamapda (2022) (Via Quintino Sella, 25) (Trip Advisor: 554) If we have to pick one restaurant in Rome that is our favorite it would be La Lampada. We have been going there since 2004 and the same people still work there. Not only is the food very good but the staff is probably the nicest group of people we have met in Rome. They have one of the best `antipasti' bars that we have seen. If you tell them you know Hynda and Nolan they will tell you to take a plate and go and take whatever you want. Salvatore and Giaccomo are the owners and the restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. There is not one dish we have had there that we have not liked - but - our favorites are pasta with funghi porcini (mushrooms) and penne arriabiata (spicy tomato sauce). Tuesday and Friday are fresh fish days and the Spigola (sea bass) here is very good. The soups there are very big and are always excellent. The cicoria ripasetta that is a side dish is special and the roasted potatoes are very good. For desert, make sure you get the Panna Cotta with frutti di bosco - a cooked cream desert. Although we have never had meat there, those that have say they do meat very well. (NOTE: If they are wearing magenta aprons with the name of the restaurant on them - we gave them to the staff as a gift. Before our gift they just tucked napkins into their pants.)
Disco Volante (2022) (Via Alessandria, 50) (Trip Advisor: 1777) This is a small neighborhood restaurant in an area where there are few tourists. It is a little out of the way - just outside the Aurelian Wall. We discovered it when we lived in Rome in 2004 and we were walking late at night looking for restaurants that were still crowded with Italians. The prices are very low but the food is very good. The owners are a family who are always there. The daughter recently got married and she is always there with her new baby. We always get the Gorgonzola Pizza. They make excellent Penne Arriabiata (spicy tomato sauce). The suppli - a fried rice ball appetizer filled with cheese is excellent here. The cicoria side dish is wonderful here. The desert Panna Cotta with Fruiti di Bosco is very good.
Ristorante Monti Arci (2022) (Via Castelfidardo, 33) (Trip Advisor: 1849) This is the very first restaurant that our first landlord in Rome took us to on our first night in Rome. It is Sardinian and some of the dishes are unique to this restaurant. They begin by serving you an appetizer, which is thinly baked bread with tomatoes and garlic, and end each meal by giving the females a rose and small ice cream bars or chocolates to everyone. The prices are very low. The Gorgonzola Pizza is very cheesy and the fish is good. The Veal Monti Arci is one of their special dishes and is very good. The owner, Luigi, flits around to make sure everyone is enjoying his or her meal. The King is always greeted by the name - Professore.
Trattoria Cadorna (2022)(Via Raffaele Cadorna 12)(Trip Advisor: 495) This small restaurant, opened in 1947, is around the corner from our apartment. A father, mother and dog run it. The dog is old, small and sits on a stool with a bed. It has big teeth for a small dog and does not like attention. The food here is wonderful. They make an excellent fried scarmoza (cheese) with radicchio, eggplant parmesan and cacio e pepe. I could start to name our favorite dishes there but we have tried a lot of different things and all are good. This is one of the restaurants where you will need a reservation. This is not a tourist destination so you will not run into many here.
Ristorante Piazza Andrea (2021) (Via Castelfidardo, 30 )(Trip Advisor: 2,510 ) This restaurant is one of the favorites of our landlord in Rome. It is close to the apartment we rent. We have gone a couple of times with them and in the past we have not been too impressed. It is crowded and the service was always very slow even by Italian standards. The last two times we went we were pleasantly surprised. Andrea, who is almost always there, has hired some new people and they are a little more serious about service. There also may be a new cook since the food has also improved. The tables are pretty close together and when it is crowded it can be noisy. There is another restaurant close by with almost the same name but it is much more expensive and fancy. This is your typical small local Italian restaurant. If you can order the Ceci piazza in advance.
Fuocolento (2022) (Via Flavia 65)(06 4201 3084)(Trip Advisor: 356) This relatively new restaurant is located across the street from an apartment we rent in Rome every year. Our first landlord in Rome lives in the same building and they never ventured into the restaurant that used to be across the street. We always try to have dinner with them on each of our annual visits. Two years ago they claimed they now have a new favorite local restaurant - Fuocolento … so we tried it. We have now been there four times in the last two years and it is very good. This visit I had the cacio e pepe which was excellent. My wife had a tuna steak with sesame seeds and it was fantastic. The wine selection is very good. This is a slightly upscale restaurant than we normally go to but worth the slightly more expensive meals. The waiters are very nice and efficient. We highly recommend this restaurant.
Hostaria Romana (2017)(Via Statedel Boccaccio 1) (Trip Advisor: 76) (Phone: 06 474 5284) This small restaurant was written up in the NY Times in 2008 as one of the five best small restaurants in Rome. We went there as a result of the article in hopes of finding another restaurant to add to our list. We were not disappointed but since that time we have had to call for reservations whenever we go. Make sure you get the front room where the waiters have been there forever and you get a show with your meal. Pino has been there about thirty years and he makes funny noises and makes fun of the patrons. The food here is excellent and the portions are big. They are known for their antipasto bar and sometimes they let you go up and take what you want and sometimes they do it for you. The cacio e pepe is made at the table and is excellent here.
Ristorante Elenora D'Arborea (2021) (Corso Trieste 23)(Trip Advisor 215)(06 4425 0943) We were invited out by a Professor at Cattolica University who had taken us out to several restaurants in Rome and they are all good. This restaurant specializes in fish. They have a 25 euro appetizer which consists of lots and lots of courses. They did not stop coming and I lost count. I do not eat seafood and could not eat much of the appetizer but everyone at the table raved about the taste and quality of the many dishes. I had Rombo (Turbot) with a zucchini crust which was fantastic. This is a place where we will return.
Pro Loco Pinciano (2017)(Via Bergamo 18)(06 8414136)(Trip Advisor: 987) This restaurant was recommended by one of our Italian neighbors. He named three restaurants in our neighborhood and we looked at the menus at all three before deciding that this was probably our type. We normally rely on trip advisor recommendations and the ranking of 987 was just within our top 10 percent criterion. It turned out to be very good. Everything about the place is very simple except for the food which was excellent. All ingredients are locally grown. They are known for their pizza which we did not have. We had the cacio e pepe and it was excellent and sardines wrapped around vegetables. The presentation was very interesting. The portions are a little on the small side. It is a little out of the way for most tourists and I would not venture there but do go if you are staying in the area or are close by.
Dagnino (2022) (Via Torino, 95)(Trip Advisor: 1607) This is a famous Sicilian bakery and restaurant located in a small mall near Pizza Republica. We have never eaten any food here and only go for the pastries - especially the cannolli. You cannot get cannolli in many places in Rome - this is the best.
Da Alfonso 2 (2006) (Via Galle e Sidama, 9) (Trip Advisor: 1618) Rome has a fairly large community of Libyan Jews that came to country-regionItaly after the establishment of Israel in 1948 and then again in 1967. This restaurant is a Kosher one and it specializes in cous cous. If you get tired of Italian food and want a different kind of dinner this slightly out of the way place is special. It is a fixed price meal and they pile a huge amount of cous cous on the plate and then bring loads of little dishes.
Tratoria Coriolano (2011) (Via Ancona, 14) (Trip Advisor: 1031) : A scientist from ISS (where the Queen worked) and his wife took us out to dinner one night at a tratoria close to where they live - which is also close to where we live. The food was excellent and the deserts were even better. The Queen shared a seafood antipasto with them and she said it was very good. Service was excellent. The prices tended to be on the high side so this would be for a special meal. We had a number of excellent deserts.
Osteria dell'Arco (2012)(Via G. Pagliari, 11)(Trip Advisor: 179): You can see by the high marks it gets from Trip Advisor that this is viewed as a very good restauarnt. We met Anna from Roma Tre at an exhibit at the Quirinale and then walked to this restaurant which is just outside the Aurelian wall and near our apartment. We had been there about two years ago with Ruggero from ISS where the Queen worked in 2004. It is a very small place and the food is quite good. The menu is very limited and they have lots of seafood dishes. The specials are special and some dishes will be unique and not typical of Roman cuisine. the service is great and it appears that both the waiter and waitress are the owners.
Area B (Termini - train station)
Area C (Monti, Coliseum, San Giovanni Laterano, Santa Maria Maggiore)
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali (2022) (Via Madonna dei Monti, 19)(Trip Advisor: 8) (06 679 8643) This is probably on our list as our second favorite restaurant in Rome. It is a typical family run restaurant with the father cooking (Alessio), the mother (Gratzia) around and the son (Aldo) and daughter (Claudia) waiting on tables. This restaurant has leaped to the number 2 restaurant on Trip Advisor (out of over 4000 restaurants) so you definitely need to make a reservation. It is located on a small side street near the forum in an area called the Monti. Aldo will tell you the specials and unless you really see something on the menu you want go with the specials. If you order from the menu consider the Veal Balsamico - delicious. The Queen loves the vegetable plate with stir-fried radicchio. Save some room for the deserts. If Alessio, the owner and cook, is wearing his yellow apron with hot peppers on it - that is one we gave him and it is his lucky apron which he wears often.
Taverna dei Monti (2022) (Via del Boschetto 41)(06 481 7724)(Trip Advisor: 289) We have very good Italian friends who live in the Monti and we have dinner with them on every visit to Rome. We always look for new restaurants on our visits and our route to our friends is down Via del Boschetto which has many restaurants. Taverna dei Monti is the first one we pass and in 13 years we have never looked at the menu or eaten there. Last year we decided to stop and look at the menu. It looked like your basic Italian restaurant and we noticed it was always crowded late at night when Italians go out to eat. We decided to try it and we were not disappointed. Food is excellent, service is good and staff is very friendly. On our last visit my wife had the eggplant parmesan - very good and I had the scarmoza - a fried cheese - I prefer it with radicchio but they make it very plain and it was a nice sized portion. Make sure you have the meloncello an after dinner drink made from cantaloupe.
Ristorante Due Colonne (2015) (Via dei Serpenti, 91)(Trip Advisor: 459) This restaurant is also in the Monti and we discovered it one night when Fori Imperiali was packed and we did not want to wait. The best item on the menu was the gnocchi with Gorgonzola. We have tried some of the other dishes and they were all very good. The restaurant is located in a busy area of the Monti but did not seem to have many tourists.
Il Bocconcino (2012)(Via Ostilia, 23)(Trip Advisor: 487) This is a very small restaurant close to the Coliseum. Although in a very `touristy' area it is off the main streets enough so that it appears to be more local than for tourists. Our friend Rebecca had picked it for our dinner together but it was closed that night so the King and Queen went back another night to have dinner there. It was quite good - but a little pricey. We had a fish rollatini and cacio and pepe. They serve a lot of seafood at this restaurant which the King cannot eat.
Gli Angeletti (2008) (Via dell Angeletto, 3 Piazza Madonna dei Monti) (Trip Advisor: 1139) A small restaurant located in the main piazza of the Monti. It is definitely a neighborhood place. Food here is a little pricier than some others in the neighborhood and the service can be very slow if they get busy.
Osteria Al 16 (2015)(Via del Boschetto, 16)(Trip Advisor: 283) This place, located in the Monti, used to be owned by folks from the Ukraine that served very good cheap Italian food. They were homesick and returned to the Ukraine and the restaurant reopened with new owners. We went there last year and liked it so we returned this year. The dishes we have tried that are very good are eggplant Parmesan, gnocchi with Gorgonzola and radicchio, mushrooms with garlic and hot peppers and chicory with garlic and hot peppers. (NOTE 2014: On our visit this year we found the service pretty awful. The wait for dinner was over an hour and the restaurant was not full. Food was still good but a word of caution.)
Da Nerone (2012)(Via delle terme di Tito, 96)(Trip Advisor: 764) We went here with Rebecca when we could not go to the restaurant which was her first choice. This was recommended by someone in her office. The location was close to the coliseum with a nice view from the outside tables of the coliseum and the park where Nero's house used to be. We ordered a chicken dish which we do not normally do. It was very good. We also ordered the penne salmone (salmon) and that was also good. It was a little pricey since it is close to the tourist area. It is definitely a local hangout at night - probably not during lunch - and is family run.
Area D (Testaccio, Baths of Caracalla, Forum, Campidoglio, Piazza Venezia)
Trattoria Perilli (2010)(Via Marmorata 39)(Trip Advisor: 567) This is supposed to be one of the oldest traditional Roman restaurants - in 2010 it was 99 years old. The food was quite good but a little on the pricey side. We ate there with out Italian friends and they go there often. The restaurant was quite crowded and reservations are suggested. It is in an area of Rome that is quite popular and the Aventino hill is a short walk away. If you go leave enough time to walk the Aventino hill where you can see the American Embassy to the Vatican (as opposed to Rome), the keyhole of the Templar Church that frames the Vatican in the distance and a beautiful park at the top overlooking Rome.
Pizza Nuovo Mondo (2012)(Via Vespucci 15)(Trip Advisor: 430) This is the pizza place we went to with the hash after a run. It is located in Testaccio and the only people there except for us were Italians. We had pizza and it was very good - typical Roman pizza - very flat bread. If you are in the area and wanting some pizza this is perfect. Try to get an outside table. The inside was pretty noisy and hot.
Area E (Camp di Fiori, Largo Argentina, Jewish Ghetto, Piazza Farnese)
Da Sergio alle Grotte (2017)(Vicolo delle Grotte, 27) (Trip Advisor: 1339) There are lots and lots of restaurants located in Campo di Fiori and the surrounding streets. This one is a little hard to find as it is on a very tiny street. We like to get the Spigola (sea bass) there and make sure that we go on either a Tuesday or Friday - the fresh fish days. They also make a very good penne ariabiata (spicy). They have some tables outside on the street and that is where we normally eat. The inside can tend to be very noisy as the tables are very close together. The price is inexpensive. We have been going to this restaurant since 2004. NOTE: As of 2021 they no longer have any fish on the menu and the menu is quite abbreviated.
La Fiaschetta (2022) (Via dei Cappellari 64)(06 6821 0599)(Trip Advisor: 152) My wife has some friends in Rome that are university professors. We have dinner with them several times on each of our visits. (We spend two months in Rome each year and have been doing that for 13 years.) They know we like to find new restaurants and this visit they took us to La Fiaschetta on the hat maker's street. It is a small restaurant close to Campo de Fiori but far enough away from the tumult so it is not found unless you know about it. The food was excellent. Service was great. This visit I had the cacio e pepe which was excellent. The Queen had a tuna steak with onions and tomato and it was fantastic. They had some very interesting specials. Reservations are a must although the night we were there a couple of people showed up and got in without one.
Osteria Romana di Semmi (2022)(Via di San Paolo Alla Regola 29)(39 06 686 1917)(Trip Advisor: 1119) Located on a small quiet street near Campo di Fiori we recently found this small wonderful restaurant. We were walking by at lunch time and the waiter motioned us over and told us to come in and he would make some pasta for us. We told him we would be back another day and when we went to our apartment we checked out the place on Trip Advisor. It had a good rating and I found on the 15th review someone mentioned going to the basement to see the museum. After our first dinner there we asked about the museum and the waiter turned the lights on and led us to a basement area of 3 rooms. It turns out we were standing in a 4th century Roman house. One of the rooms had part of the floor removed and we were told the stones exposed was a road that went by the house. There were many marble statues, Roman coins and other artifacts - most found in the nearby Tiber River. And the bonus was that the food was great and Maximillian was a wonderful host. He loves the Queen and Lorenzo.
Area F (Trastevere)
Osteria Le Mani in Pasta (2019) (Via dei Genovesi, 37)(Trip Advisor: 230) Another of the many small restaurants located in Trastevere. The advantage to this one is that it is tucked in a small street a little off the main tourist streets of the area. It was recommended by Judith, a friend from the US who has spent a lot of time in Italy and wrote (in 1978) one of the best guide books for Rome - Amor is Roma Spelled Backwards. The waiter spoke very fast and our friend Judy, who speaks Italian, could not even follow the specials. The Queen got a dish with artichokes but it also came with pieces of octopus which she was not expecting. No outside seating. They often have a tuna special with a crust of pistachio which is sensational. The penne ariabiata is one of the best in Rome.. ask for it molte piccante.
Meridionale (2021)(Via dei Fienaroli 30A)(Trip Advisor: 175)(06 5897 196) (Romantic, Need Reservations, Quiet Location)
We have lived in Rome for two months each year for last ten years and enjoy just wandering around to see if we can discover new restaurants. One night while wandering in Trastevere we were on a very quiet side street and saw the lights for Meridionale. We looked at the menu and saw that one of the dishes they had was tuna encrusted in pistachio. There is another restaurant that sometimes has this dish and we like it at the other restaurant so we put this on the list to try. We made reservations for a Tuesday night (Tuesday and Friday are normally fresh fish nights in Rome).
The food was fantastic. The tuna in pistachio was cooked perfectly. We also had a special which was gnocchi in a pumpkin sauce with a picante (spicy) cheese which was great. The house wine was fine. We do not eat meat but we saw some meat dishes which looked very good.
Reservations here are a must since we saw that it is highly rated on Trip Advisor. There are two outdoor tables that are at the entrance but I suspect you have to book early to get these. The place is very small and is popular with Italians so I would recommend that you go at 8 PM for dinner. Most of the people who had reservations and were Italian came at 9 PM and after and then it got rather noisy. The tables are reasonably spaced so you did not feel like you were on top of the next table. It would be a fine restaurant for a young couple on their honeymoon who want to whisper sweet nothings across the table without everyone around them hearing. Prices are very reasonable. The staff is very good but as in most real Italian restaurants it is hard to get a check. Just be prepared for a long evening.
La Botticella (2019) (Vicolo del Leopardo 39A) (Trip Advisor: 525) (06 5814 738)(Huge Portions, Not Intimate, Great Food, Wonderful Staff)
NOTE: As of 2021 this restaurant is closed - a victim of Covid. We have lived in Rome for two months each year for last ten years and have a number of Italian friends who we always ask for restaurant recommendations. A few years ago we asked for some in Trastevere and one was La Botticella. We had called for reservations a few times but they seemed to be always booked. One night on this trip we called about two hours before heading out to dinner and they had space so off we went. It is now on our list of go-to restaurants.
The food was great. They had special ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese in a cream sauce of mushrooms. It was big enough for my wife and I to share. We also had some other pasta dishes which were all very good. We observed other tables and whatever was being served had very generous portions.
The inside of the restaurant is very small - maybe four tables. The outside tables stretch across many doorways. I asked one of the waiters what they do if it rains and he said they put up umbrellas and we witnessed that on a return visit a week later. Fortunately, there was no wind and the rain was coming straight down. I have no idea what they do when it gets cold but my assumption is that they are reduced to the few tables inside.
If you are a young (or old) couple who wants to sit at an intimate table and whisper sweet nothings to each other - this is not the place for you. The tables are very close together and since it is always crowded you can be assured you will be sitting close to other diners. If you enjoy talking to people at the next table to discuss what they ordered or what they should order this is the perfect place.
Alle Fratte di Trastevere (2022)(Via Alle Fratte di Trastevere 49)(Trip Advisor: 570)(06 583 5775)
There is a sign in Trastevere that has been there for about two years advertising that on Saturdays Alle Fratte di Trastevere sells bagels. I have always wanted to go there to see what they are like. This year we took our son who was visiting there on a Saturday morning to experience bagels in Rome. Turns out that the person making the bagels, Slyvana, is an Italian-American from New York who moved back to Rome a few years ago. She used to work in a bagel shop in East Meadow on Long Island in New York and the bagels she makes are very good. She spends all night every Friday in the basement of the restaurant making them.
We returned to the restaurant for dinner twice on our Fall 2018 trip to Rome. The food is excellent. The penne pasta with salmon in a spicy vodka sauce was fantastic as was the tuna Sicilian style. We also had the standard Cacio e Pepe which was good and a grilled salmon. The Pana Cotta there is excellent.
You do need a reservation on most nights. It is located in a very crowded area of Trastevere. Make sure you visit the bathroom. The owner collects strange dolls in his travel and they are on the walls. Many many dolls!!!
Cioccolata e Vino (2021)(Vicolo de Cinque, 11/A)
There is a small bar and book store in Trastevere where they serve shots in chocolate cups filled with a selection of liquor of your choosing and topped with whipped cream and nuts or chocolate chips. If we are in Trastevere with guests we try to stop there after dinner. A little hard to find but worth a visit after dinner if you in Trastevere.
La Boccaccia (2021)(Via di Santa Dorotea 2)(Trip Advisor:53) This is a little hole in the wall pizza place in Trastevere. After my favorite place in Trastevere closed (Pizza Pazza) I was looking for another one and stumbled across this on one of my bike rides. Thought the pizza was pretty good for a small out of the way place. Although on a busy street in Trastevere it can easily be missed. I have now made it my go to stop for pizza when I bike down the bike trail on the river. Not sure how it got such a low number on Trip Advisor.
Pontesisto di Oliviero (2022) (Via di Ponte Sisto, 80) (Trip Advisor: 238) This is favorite of Ron and Marilyn Bush who are from Philadelphia and Oxford, England. We went there for the first time in 2010 with them and they know the owner, Oliviero. It was a little pricey but the food was very good. If you are in Trastevere and need a little upscale food this is a good place. I would suggest calling for reservations here. NOTE: 2022 It seems that the management has changed. The service was awful and the food is not as good as it has been in the past.
Miraggio Club da Franco e Marisa (2017)(Via della Lungara, 16A)(Trip Advisor: 663) Ron and Marilyn are living in Trastevere for a year and they found this very Italian and very family restaurant. It is not in the heart of the tourist section of Trastevere so the night we were there for dinner there were only Italians. The food was excellent - fish was very good. It is also relatively inexpensive compared to some of the other restaurants in Trastevere. It has two small outdoor tables.
Pizza Pazza (2016) (Piazza Trilussa, 42) (Trip Advisor: ????) This is a small hole-in-the-wall pizza place. It is similar to many in Rome but this one for many years advertised that they won the International Pizza Contest in some year. The dough that they use is a little thicker than they normal Roman pizza which is more like burnt matzah than pizza dough. It is a great place to grab some pizza and go sit in Piazza Trilussa and watch the people walk by. There will be lots of `goth' kids and dogs there. There is something about the dough they use that makes this special. They have several selections of pizza everyday and you tell them how big a slice you want, they weigh it and that is how you pay - by weight. (NOTE: The last time we were there (2010) the usual girl who works behind the counter was not there and they have expanded the menu to include some pastas. It seems that they have changed ownership. They also took down the World Championship Pizza sign. The dough was good but seemed to not be the same.) (NOTE 2012: The restaurant in the original location has closed. I will leave this entry in place since I cannot seem to take it out. There is now a new pizza place there but the selection is poor and the crust is not as good.) (NOTE 2014: They are back and right next door to the old location with the same Champion of the World pizza.)(NOTE 2017: Closed again.)
Spirito Di Vino (2010) (Via dei Genovesi, 31)(Trip Advisor: 409) (06 589 6689) A little on the expensive side but the perfect place for a special meal. The mother who is a retired cell biologist is the chef and the father is the waiter who delights in telling the story of the building. The son is the sommelier and knows about every wine on a very extensive wine list. The building that the restaurant is in is the highlight of the meal. The site is the oldest still functioning building in Rome. Around the corner on Vicolo di Atleta you can see columns on the building with Hebrew writing. The building was used as a synagogue in the 12th century. The wine cellar, accessible by some stairs, is located about 30 feet below ground level and is made of all ancient Roman bricks and was a small public square in the town when that was ground level. The food list changes constantly and is small but all the meals we had were good - although truthfully not worth the extra money. If you eat pork the highlight of the menu is a recipe that was found in a cookbook of Julius Caesars' chef.
Roma Spirita (2021) (Piazza S. Cecilia, 24)(Trip Advisor: 641) When we first came to Rome one of the first restaurants that we ate at was in Trastevere and they served the traditional Roman dish of Cacio and Pepe (cheese and pepper with pasta) in a baked Parmesan cheese shell. It was excellent and it seemed to be the only restaurant that served it this way. A few years ago we stopped going there because although the food was still good the service had become terrible even for Italian standards. This trip we went back to a restaurant that we had not been to in a few years - Roma Spirita - also located in Trastevere. We discovered that they make the dish in the baked Parmesan cheese shell and it was probably the best we have had in Rome so far. You will probably need to make a reservation since Anthony Bourdain has recommended it on his TV show. Try to book an outside table.
Casetta di Trastevere (2010) (Piazza De Renzi) (Trip Advisor: 2010) We found this restaurant in 2004 in a tiny piazza in Trastevere. We actually were going to go to another one that was listed in a guide book we had but it was very busy and there was a long line waiting. Casetta was empty so we decided to try it. It is definitely one of the least expensive restaurants in Rome. We have been back a number of times and it has changed management three times since 2004. The dish to order here is the Cacio e Pepe which is a pasta with cheese and pepper which is served on a baked parmesan cheese shell. Their ravioli with butter and sage is also very good. This is the only restaurant where the waitresses (they only have females working there) are not too friendly and as many times as we have been back they show no recognition. The last time we were there the service was very slow. (NOTE: The restaurant across the piazza from Casetta is still very busy every night and people still wait in line for it to open at 8PM. We always see people waiting for food and it seems that no one ever eats. (NOTE 2010: We were not very happy with our last two meals there. There are now new owners again and new staff. It seems to be very crowded all the time and the service was not good and the food was cold.)
Area G (Vatican, Castel St. Angelo)
Area H (River North, Prati)
MoveLab (2017)(Viale Mazzini 94a) (06 8976 6863) This new restaurant is located just north of the Prati neighborhood on the Vatican side of the Tiber River. It is small on the inside and has a couple of outdoor tables. It is not really a true Italian restaurant. It would fit nicely in downtown Manhattan or Washington DC as it specializes in fresh organic and healthy options. I had a vegetarian sandwich which had avocado, tomato, ricotta cheese and some other greens. The fries that came with it were excellent. It was made on a green roll??? My wife had a very good salad. A little out the way of the normal tourist location so I would not go out of my way to eat here but if you are in the area this is very good for a light lunch or dinner.
Cacio e Pepe (2012) (Via Avezzana, 11) (Trip Advisor: 1270) We went to this restaurant with our Italian friend Eduardo. He has been going here for 15 years. It was very good and prices were very reasonable. The King had the gnocchi gorgonzola and the Queen had cacio e pepe. Both dishes were excellent.
The Trip Advisor number is not correct. The following is a review the King wrote for Trip Advisor:
Some of the folks here are getting confused between two restaurants with the same name. This is for the one in the Prati area - NOT the one in Trastevere. They are two completely different restaurants. We went with one of our Italian friends who has been coming for many years. The actual restaurant has only two or three tables inside - the rest of the tables cover the sidewalk in both directions and around the corner. I do not know how the small kitchen can service this many people but they manage. The food is excellent.
Il Bar Sotto il Mare 2 (2015)(Via Tunisi, 27)(Trip Advisor: 767) (06 397 28413) This is primarily a seafood restaurant. We went with a family that we know in Rome and they told us that this is one of the more popular restaurants in Rome for Italians. It was packed the weekday night we went. This is slightly out of the way but if you want to go to a different neighborhood and get truly wonderful seafood this is the place. This place needs a reservation.
Area I (Piazza Navona, Pantheon)
Cul de Sac (2015)(Piazza Pasquino 73)(Trip Advisor: 40) Sandra and Yence took us to this small wine bar near Piazza Navonna. It is very popular with Italians and with the 40 rating on trip advisor it is obviously popular with tourists. The food is very basic - mainly cheese plates - and there are thousands of wines to choose from. The wine list is enormous and it comes as a very fat loose-leaf book. All the wines are located above the tables and the waiters get them down with old grocery store hooks. There does not seem to be any ordering of the wines on the shelves and we have no idea how they know where any wine is located.
Antica Taverna (2011)(Via Monte Giordano,12)(Trip Advisor: 425) One night a few years ago when the King was watching a Redskin game on Sunday night the Queen went on a mission to find a new out of the way restaurant near Piazza Navonna. She found Antica Taverna down a small street and we try to go there at least once or twice per visit. When we first started to go there they gave everyone a glass of Prosecco (Italian champagne) before dinner. They have stopped doing this. One thing not to miss here, if you like vegetables, is the white cavoli (cauliflower) with lots of garlic. The Eggplant Parmesan is very good here. Do not get the panna cotta for desert here. (NOTE: When we first ate there we put up a business card on the wall with thousands of other cards. When Brenan was in Rome we sent him there to eat and when he sat down he looked up at the wall of cards and he was seated at the same table and our card was still there.) Note for 2011: The last two times we went to this restaurant they were very crowded and the service was not very good. The food was still very good. They are in many guide books now and I think that is why they are always crowded with tourists.
Da Francesco (2017) (Piazza del Fico 29)(06 686 4009) (Trip Advisor: 639) This is a restaurant that is always crowded and close to Piazza Navonna. We have eaten here three times in the last 13 years. There is always a line out the door and reservations are needed. On the last visit we had the eggplant parmesan and a pizza. Both were fine. The problem with this restaurant - and it may be due to how busy they are - is that I feel like they want you out for the next customer. There are very few restaurants in Rome that seem to care about turnover of tables - something that always happens in the US. Normally in Rome you can sit at a table all night and they do not care even if you order nothing. That is not the case here. It does mean you get the check fast and if that is what you want it should not bother you. If you get into the Italian thing of loooong dinners this is not the place for you. If you want a nice intimate evening - this is not the place for you. The tables are quite close together and the place tends to be very noisy.