When living in a big city such as Rome, the opportunities to experience new things are nearly endless. Fascinating works of architecture greet you around every corner, and getting to spend time experiencing another culture is incredible. For me, however, it’s the food in Rome that is at the top of my list. Unfortunately with so many great restaurants, it can be nearly impossible to know exactly where to eat when visiting Rome. Here are a few tips that can help you narrow down the list, and guide you towards some of the better places to eat in Rome.
Avoid central tourist locations: It goes without saying that Rome has many incredible places for sightseeing. Unfortunately dining at a hot-spots such as Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiori, or Piazza del Popolo means that you will be paying twice the price (sometimes more) per meal. Many of these restaurants are also geared towards tourism, not food quality. I would highly recommend searching for restaurants that are just off of prime locations, smaller side streets and piazzas often have restaurants that are not geared for tourism. This also allows you to stay close to busy locations without having to deal with long waits or crowds.
If they have to ask: Many establishments will employ individuals to stand outside and lure unsuspecting people to come and dine there. If you find yourself in this situation while looking for a place to eat, just say no and keep going. More times than not these places are pricey and will not offer you as enjoyable of a dining experience. If they have to ask you to come inside to eat there, it’s probably not worth it.
You pay for patios: I love eating outside as much as the next person, and Rome patios are some of the most scenic places to eat. Just be aware that places with patios will often have higher prices per dish, and the price increase often times doesn’t mean better food. Always check the menu before deciding to eat somewhere to see if the price increase is going to be worth sitting outside.
Look for stickers: If you are unsure about whether or not you want to eat at a particular restaurant, check the front door for stickers. Many restaurants will place stickers for awards or reviews they have received over the years. You can make a better decision based off of the number of stickers a place has received. If you have access to Wi-Fi, you can oftentimes look up and read about a restaurant before deciding to eat there. Trip advisor stickers are usually a pretty safe bet when looking for places to eat.
Finally, here are a few restaurants that I would recommend to anybody looking to enjoy a great meal while in Rome!
Il Gabriello: Located on Via Vitorria 51 this restaurant is only a few streets from the Spanish steps. Il Gabriello’s carefully designed basement dining area creates the perfect atmosphere for a romantic dining experience. This is not the most inexpensive restaurant, but the quality of food and atmosphere more than surpass the cost per dish.
Casa Coppelle: Located not far from the Pantheon, Casa Coppelle is certain to make for the perfect Roman dining experience. Between their wild berry risotto or their savory fillets, you will be certain to leave with a very full stomach. Casa Coppelle has won numerous awards and recommendations throughout the years, and is a must for anyone wanting to try some of the best Rome has to offer. The staff is friendly and will work to seat you even without a reservation, but making a reservation in advance is recommended. Casa Coppelle’s prices are higher than most, but they are equal to the quality and portion size of the meals they serve. Located in Piazza delle Coppelle, 49.
Al Duello: This is the best of the best! Located in a humble alleyway northwest of Piazza Navona Al Duello is a truly a hidden treasure within Rome. Don’t expect to run into many English speaking individuals here, this place is all Italian. Be sure to try their Roman style artichokes and eggplant starter dishes, you won’t be disappointed! The staff here is incredibly friendly and will not leave you feeling unwelcome. The chef here is passionate about his cooking, and it shows through with every dish. With Al Duello’s reasonable prices you should try and order a full course meal if you think you’re able, just be sure to save room for their one of a kind Tiramisu. Located on Vicolo della Vaccarella, 11.