The 8 Best Restaurants In Rome – Where To Eat & Drink In The Eternal City
(Photo by Elena Noviello, Getty Images)
— Updated on 11 September 2023

The 8 Best Restaurants In Rome – Where To Eat & Drink In The Eternal City

— Updated on 11 September 2023
Chris Singh
WORDS BY
Chris Singh

Looking for the best restaurants in Rome? You’ll be looking for a very long time. The dizzying number of options in the Eternal City means you’ll be flooded with choice anxiety, I want to help you avoid that, giving you a quick and decisive “where to eat in Rome” guide.

I’m by no means an “insider.” I’ve only been to Rome once so I’ll obviously be missing a few of the essentials. But this is where I ate and drank on a recent trip that matched my admittedly very fussy palate. I’m confident enough in my standards and judgement to recommend the following restaurants, wine bars and classic Roman bakeries.

This isn’t everywhere I ate. Despite Rome’s reputation, there were a lot of places that I did not like at all. The common thread is that these were popular, heavily touristed spots that probably used to be institutions. But, for whatever reason, they have declined in quality.

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Popularity isn’t always a gift. But just in case my experience was a one-off, I won’t be mentioning where they were. I will say, however, that the hip neighbourhood of Trastevere has some vastly overpriced shockers. I’d recommend doing some proper research (go beyond listicles and TripAdvisor reviews) before heading to the area.

Service in Rome is also quite patchy. In general, you’ve going to get far better service in Europe (or the USA) than you would in Australia. Hospitality just sits on another level north of the Equator. Rome is an interesting one because you never really know what you’re going to get. Those family-owned bakeries always have great service, but restaurants that are popular with both locals and tourists are a mixed bag. It’s understandable, of course.

If you had to deal with that many tourists, you’d be slightly bitter as well.



Best Restaurants In Rome

1. Pianostrada – Best Modern Trattoria

Best things to do in Rome.
(Photo by Pianostrada)

This is the first spot I recommend to anyone I know heading off to Rome. Owned by two local women, the restaurant looks like just any old quaint cucina on a Roman backstreet. Yet it opens up into this fantastic, fairy-lit courtyard that feels like a genuine escape from the heavily touristed area. The pasta was some of the best I had during my recent month-long trip to Italy, leaning heavily on simple farm-fresh produce. The non-traditional kitchen is rather playful too, even having “Italian Sushi” on the menu. I ordered some and didn’t expect much, but the large rolls with things like wagyu pastrami and fresh seafood on top were two-bite pops of pure heaven.


2. La Barrique – Best Enoteca

(Photo by La Barrique)

One of the best wine bars I’ve been to in Europe. Hands down. You’ll find La Barrique in the central neighbourhood of Monti, sporting a spectacularly tight and concise wine list and some incredible home-style pasta. I had lunch at the Enoteca on a weekday and it seemed like the small space was just all locals, stopping by to partake in Rome’s most popular sport, day drinking, and catching up over aromatic, pared-back pasta dishes that reiterate how restraint is the most valuable trait for any chef working with Italy’s storied produce.


3. Roscioli – Best Dining Institution

(Photo by Roscioli)

Roscioli is an easy exception to what I mentioned above. That Rome’s dining institutions are often disappointing. This homely kitchen is anything but lacklustre, from the beautiful little buns with Cantabrian anchovies, fresh chopped tomatoes, ricotta and Sichuan black pepper to classic pasta dishes like homemade ravioli with Roman oxtail and pecorino in a delicious foie gras sauce with slow-cooked figs. If you’re staying at a hotel, get the concierge to book for you. You’ll need the reservation.


4. Pizzeria La Boccaccia – Best Roman Pizza

(Photo by Pizzeria La Boccaccia)

I spotted two of these during my short time in Rome. It’s not exactly a chain, but La Boccaccia is one of the more widely recognised spots for classic Roman pizza (pizza al taglio). And it’s very affordable as well. It’s one of the places you’d just rock up and grab a slice then leave. And while that might not inspire much confidence (I’ve been stung many times in New York and Florence by ‘must-try’ pizza joints), these squares are actually good and surprisingly light.


5. Fatamorgana – Best Gelato

(Photo by Fatamorgana)

You’re in Italy so gelato cravings are an inevitability when in Rome. And it won’t be hard to find satiation either. You don’t want to waste your time on anything average, though, so your best bet is Fatamorgana. It’s a chain with a few locations throughout Rome but I’ve found the strong, interesting flavours. I went basic and had the strawberry and vanilla bean on my visit, which was surprisingly just as good as what I had at the world-renowned Gelateria Dondoli in San Gimignano.


6. Felice a Testaccio – Best Pasta

best restaurants rome
(Photo by Felice a Testaccio)

Locals consider Da Felice’s cacio e pepe with tonnarelli to be the best in the city. That’s why when you Google “best pasta in Rome” this is one of the first listings you’ll see. Truth be told, the service is awful if you’re not a local. I’ve experienced it myself and have been told the same by a few ex-pats. Yet I can’t fault the food. The famous cacio e pepe is tossed tableside and has just the right amount of rich pecorino Romano. Simplicity is a virtue.


7. Pasticceria Barberini – Best Bakery

best restaurants rome
(Photo by Pasticceria Barberini)

A breakfast pastry in Rome is a non-negotiable so in the early hours you’ll see most locals queuing up at their nearest bakery. There are so many around Rome that I’m certain I’ve missed out on the very “best” one. However, my favourite out of the few I tried was Pasticceria Barberini. This old-guard institution has been around since 1925, one of the focal points of Testaccio and a must for a pre-midday espresso and a maritozzi.


8. Drink Kong – Best Cocktail Bar

best restaurants rome
(Photo by Drink Kong)

A classic moody cocktail bar that’s a regular in the World’s 50 Best. Stepping into Drink Kong is like tearing yourself away from the heart of Rome and planting yourself in Ginza, where studious bartenders tinker away at all sorts of techniques to bring you forward-thinking cocktails. I was told they were the best in the city and from the two I tried, both brimming with fresh fruit, I can’t argue with the quality.


How Boss Hunting Chose The Best Restaurants In Rome

While the scope is a bit bigger than just restaurants in Rome, this list is designed to help push you towards some immensely satisfying food and drink in the Eternal City. As mentioned above, this is simply where I ate and drank on a recent trip to Rome. And if I liked it enough to recommend it to mates, then I’ve included it here.


Best Restaurants In Rome – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best restaurant in Rome?

If you’re looking for great restaurants in Rome you can’t go past the dining institution, Roscioli.

Where can I find the best gelato in Rome?

The best gelato in Rome can be found at Fatamorgana.

Where can I find good Roman pastries?

There are many classic bakeries dotted around Rome but one of the most reliable is Pasticceria Barberini.

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Chris Singh
WORDS by
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.

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