In the residential Parioli neighborhood, this restaurant is not to be missed. What’s Nearby: 20-minute taxi ride from the city center.
Armando al Pantheon
At this excellent trattoria near the Pantheon, the food is always fantastic and reservations necessary for dinner. What’s Nearby: The Pantheon.
Checchino Dal 1887
Those craving traditional Roman cuisine (oxtail, wild boar) should make a reservation at this old-world favorite in a hidden corner of Testacchio, a fifteen-minute taxi ride from the historic center. The wine list is excellent. What’s Nearby: Macro Testacchio.
Cul de Sac
The wine list is what sets this place apart, but its very good antipasti also makes it a popular spot for lunch.
Consistently ranked as one of the top pizzerias in the city, this family-run joint near the Piazza Navona almost always requires a wait for a table, but the thin-crust pies are worth it. There is a second outpost now near the Campo Fiori.
Foodies have long argued whether the cucina romana is better at Felice or Checchino. In truth both places serve excellent traditional fare, though the dining room at Felice is slightly more updated (which is a plus for some and a major detraction for others). Come here for pasta cacio e pepe (in a simple sauce of crushed pepper oil and fresh Pecorino cheese) and abbacchio al forno (lamb baked in the oven). Ever since it was featured in The New York Times as “the best trattoria in Rome,” Felice is less of a find, but loyal visitors report tha the quality of the food and atmosphere remain high. Deep in Testaccio, Felice is best-reached via taxi.
Dal Cavalier Gino
Just around the corner from the Camera dei Deputati (lower house of Parliament) and in walking distance to the Pantheon, this Roman trattoria is as old school as they come. It pays to book ahead of time as you will find the place filled with the city’s politicians who come for the nostalgia induced by its classical Roman menu. Try the restaurant’s famous cacio e pepe.
Felice a Testacchio
Ever since it was featured in The New York Times as “the best trattoria in Rome,” Felice has been less of a find, but loyal visitors report that the quality of the food and atmosphere remains high. What’s Nearby: Macro Testacchio.
The restaurant of this concept store serves excellent light lunch fare. What’s Nearby: Spanish Steps; Piazza del Popolo.
The owners of this local gem also run Umbria’s Relais Gli Ulivi, which includes a vineyard and a farm, so the focus is on seasonal dishes. What’s Nearby: A 15-minute taxi drive to the historic center.
Writes Indagare Insider Cristina Ferraro-Cenci: “This is one of the most incredible restaurants in Rome. I know the owners, the Conti family, from childhood (they also own Relais Gli Ulivi, a beautiful boutique hotel in Umbria). It’s the best food! They also own a farm and a vineyard, were they produce all the elements they use in the kitchen of the hotel and restaurant… basically: paradise. I highly recommend it.”
A complex of restaurants, Gusto sprawls across a couple of buildings and offers a variety of moods and menus. The Osteria has an old-fashioned Italian pub feeling with subway tiled walls, an open kitchen, banquettes, wooden tables and a wine bar. The emphasis here is on fresh pasta and home-style dishes like omelettes and fried fish. Portions are large; mozzarella is served up by the half pound. Be sure to check out the back room with historic photos on the walls. In warm weather, there are tables set under an awning outside.
Hostaria da Pietro
Says Indagare insider Alberto Moncada, the owner of boutique hotel Margutta 54”: “This is another traditional spot just a few steps from the Piazza del Popolo which serves great pasta and meat dishes.”
Hosteria del Pesce
The Micalusi brothers, former fishermen, opened this restaurant in 2001, and it quickly became a neighborhood favorite and a contender for the title of Rome’s best seafood restaurant. Reservations are a must. Located near the Campo de’ Fiori, this fish restaurant is a dinner favorite of fashion designer Soledad Twombly.
This is a good choice for seafood cuisine in Trastevere.
Matricianella fully lives up to the descriptor, cucina tipica Romana, stated proudly on its website. The restaurant delivers an authentic trattoria experience serving up well-executed, rustic Roman cuisine that is as unpretentious as the blue-and-white checked table cloths that don its small tables. Don’t be fooled by its simple trappings—this place is popular, so be sure to reserve an outdoor table in advance. Closed August.
City Secrets is a series of innovative guidebooks whose contributors, from art historians and professors to novelists and architects, choose their personal “city secrets” to share. Read a Q&A with founding editor Robert Kahn. The following is a pick from City Secrets: Rome by Jeanne Giordano, who runs an urban design and retail-planning practice based in New York City.
Most of the seats in this wonderful restaurant are outside, where the street is busy with shoppers by day and quiet at night. Order the specialty: pasta carbonara for primi, followed by the whole fish of the day, baked in salt, for the entire table. Be sure to watch as the server breaks open the salt shell to reveal the moist, delicious fish.
Taverna di Fori Imperiali
Don’t be put off by the restaurant’s touristy look, and ignore its red-checked tablecloths and candles in Chianti bottles. This well-hidden secret, in the Monti neighborhood, has some of the best food in town. The menu may sound ordinary, but listen closely to the nightly specials. Recent dishes include veal ragu with truffles over handmade pasta, egg-stuffed meatloaf and a zabaione-topped apple strudel—all delicious.