If you have read my 3 Day Rome Itinerary, congratulations that you didn’t get too exhausted and hold it to the end! Both my friend and I are passionated about the idea of eating like a local while traveling. Authentic Roman food, best pizza, great gelato and more other local deli are our daily targets. If you are also a foodie, take the notes of our 3-day food hunting story in Rome. I promise you that, this is the ultimate list of the best places to eat in Rome.
Day 1: When we were near Vatican city and ended at Piazza Navona
Before leaving for Vatican City by metro in the morning, I suggested Roma Termini as an easy one-stop for many different options including my favorite breakfast spots.
i Magnifici by Carmelo Pannocchietti
Mercato Centrale inside Roma Termini, is my NO.1 choice. I love the chic vibe there and there are some artisan food counters. For sweet breakfast (or even fast grab-and-go), Carmelo Pannocchietti’s shop, i Magnifici, is perfect! They do amazing Sicilian special bites including the most famous Cannolo and Arancia, which ensure a “full” morning.
To experience a standard Italian breakfast, Bottega Portici at Terrazza Termini is the place.
It is a fresh hand-made pasta restaurant, however, in the morning, they serve beautiful cornetto (croissant) with pistachio cream and a good cappuccino with soy milk.
After the whole day sightseeing, we ended up at Piazza Navona with cold hands and slightly wet hair because of the rain. Instead of coffee, we went for the hot chocolate.
Vivi Bistrot on Piazza Navona, is the perfect place. It is cozy and just located at the entrace of Museo di Roma (Palazzo Braschi) – an art bistro! Drinking a mini cup (tazzina in Italian language) of espresso in their covered outdoor space would be perfect for summer time, especially if you are lucky to get a seat right next to the marble sculpture! However, let’s hide inside in the winter days. If you are lucky, the spot near the window gives a beautiful view of Piazza Navona! Hot chocolate and coffee are great there, but Vivi is also a place for healthy food and vegan dishes.
Visiting Italy, you cannot miss some drinks with small bites. The Italians call it “Aperitivo“. If you go to the right place, an Aperitivo can be a casual dinner that you will never forget!
I Pizzaicaroli in the narrow street near Piazza Navona is a good option. I discovered them from the Instagram account “aperitiroma“! I was immediately captured by their grotto-like store-front. You don’t want to miss their famous cold cuts, cheeses and fresh olives on that big tray!
Day 2: When we were near colosseum and wandered near Tiber River before heading to dinner
Before walking to Colosseum, we explored the small corner near Via Merulana. That corner offers 2 of my favorite pasticceria (dessert shop) in the area. Both of them serve great artisan sweets, but also fresh-made bread and pastries.
Panella has a fancy old-fashion coffee machine in shop and a cute outdoor space. The standard tables will be charged in a slightly higher price, but you can also pick up a self-service table (higher one) with the same charging like from the bar. I suggest to try their cappuccino with table service, because you will have their special zabbaione-like cream and wrapped cream instead of the normal coffee sugar.
D’Amore is both a pasticceria (pastry shop) and an enoteca (wine shop). The wall is covered by the bottles and the floors are occupied by the boxes of wines too. Their cappuccino is cute and well-made and they have a selection of beautiful traditional Italian sweets. The locals love to take away a tray of desserts in the weekends.
After walking around Palatine and Aventino, a comfort dinner was what we craved for. Just one metro stop away, we reached Pyramide for the Rome neighborhood, Testaccio. Authentic Roman food, was that night’s topic!
I have a few restaurants in Testaccio to recommend.
It is one of my favorites in Testaccio. We visit it quite frequently for the traditional Roman pasta likeCarbonara, Buccatino all’Amatriciano, Cacio e Pep. Sometimes, we also order Coda and other meat dishes. There is a waiter always almost running and sweating while working. We like him to take our order as he is kind of the best model of the traditional Roman restaurant culture!
Flavio al Velavevodetto
Velavevodetto has a slightly complicated location, where you really need to take a bit effort and motivation to go. However, this makes sure they offer authentic food to meet a local’s criteria. They’ve got the classic Roman dishes like Rigatoni al Sugo di Pajata, and their Carbonara is frequently recommended by my Roman friends. I’ve been so amused by their menu and even shared it on my earlier post, if you are interested, you can read more here.
Perilli is old and therefore, well known by different generations (I mean locals). When we had our dinner there, we were probably the only one tourist table if the other expat table wouldn’t be counted. They also have the most classic Roman dishes like Rigatoni al Sugo di Pajata, however, I recommend Coratella. It is a very traditional Roman dish with mixed organ parts of a baby lamb. Also, you cannot miss their Tiramisu and Zabbaione mousse!
Day 3: When we went through Cavour and had a zig-zag walk along Via Corso
Coming back to the Rome city center, you would never be left starving among hundreds of restaurants, however, picking up a good one is not that easy!
We went for a lazy brunch on Day 3 morning, while passing through Cavour to Piazza Venezia. La Boccaccia, is a must-visit pizza shop! It is a small shop with very limited seats. Most of people do take-away or eat while standing. It is quick, yummy, with plenty of pizza choices and cheap! Perfect, right?! Also, they make new pizza throughout the whole day, so whenever you go, there is a warm one or even fresh from the oven. I like asking for smaller pieces and try the flavors those I never try before! They have pizza with nutella as well! I know, it’s a bit weird, but who doesn’t like nutella?!
If you follow my 3 Day Rome Itinerary, walk from Cavour to Via Corso, visit both Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, or even go further until Piazza di Spagna, congratulations! I have a list of great gelato, dessert, and classic cafes for you, before you go for dinner!
If you are in Cavour, I recommend not to leave without a gelato from Gelateria dell’Angeletti. It’s an artisan gelato shop with some rare flavor, especially if you are a big fan of Nutella! They’ve got vegan Nutella, exactly like the one from the jar! This is also a friendly place for diary-free, vegan, or gluten-free options. You can read more here from my previous writing.
If you are near Pantheon, you will be among Venchi and many other gelateria (Gelato shop), however, the classic Giolitti seems to win everyone’s heart! There is always a reason! Their gelato is huge like a mountain. Everyone loves their home-made wrapped cream and that’s free. There are more than 20 flavors plus the seasonal ones! I’ve tried few weeks ago, check it out here.
If you are near Piazza di Spagna, why not have a break with something sweet? Italians, normally don’t have tiramisu as their afternoon tea (only small biscuits or sweet bites) however, Pompi is an exception. Their tiramisu is with rich texture – very much Italian, but also with a few creative flavors like, pistachio, strawberry and more to explore!
If we are talking about a classic Italian cafe in a classic street of Rome, that’s Cafe Greco, right under Piazza di Spagna and it is the neighbor of the top luxury brands in the world. They do very good Macchiato and Cappuccino (if you are interested to know Italian coffee’s names, check out this). I love their mini cannolo whatever the classic flavor or the one with pistachio. If you want to visit Cafe Greco without spending a lot, stay at the bar to avoid the table service and higher charge.
It is not easy to find a good authentic restaurant in Rome center. Actually I believe it would be equally challenging to do the same thing in any big tourism city in the world.
Gino Sorbillo is for pizza lover, especially for a fan of Neapolitan pizza. It is a young, energetic, fashionable pizza house and they have landed in US market. Their special way to impress you is, to make pizza bigger than the plate! The pizza menu is very simple – mostly red sauce base (with tomato), and even if you choose a white pizza, it will be with a yellow cherry tomato – lovely! Surprisingly, I finished the whole pizza without feeling overwhelming. I guess that’s because their way of making the pizza dough is different. Maybe you can have a try, and let me know?
Matriccianella has the beautiful outdoor dining area in the typical Rome narrow street. Even in winter, it’s warm and chic. They’ve got a private cellar, which hosts thousands (maybe) of wines! You can definitely ask to visit. It is a traditional Roman cuisine restaurant, so order whatever you want for a local gourmet experience! Carbonara, Bucatini all’Amatricciana, Coda, Trippa and more are their signatures. If you are going in Autumn/Winter season, try the seasonal chestnut mousse for dessert. I fell in love with it!
I hope you will love my recommendations for good food and nice dining experience in Rome.
By the way, if you are coming to Rome for the first time, check out my 3 Day Rome Itinerary. It can help you to optimize the routes and the daily plan.
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