When in Rome, eat like a local

We asked bloggers with extensive knowledge of the Italian capital to tell us their favorite places to eat in Rome.

Category Food & drink

Date 29th June 2015

If you’re looking to go beyond the travel guides for an authentic Roman experience, check out our recommendations from momondo’s unique expat blogging community. Each of our expats know Rome like the back of their hand, so we have gathered all of their own unique and extensive knowledge of Italy’s beautiful capital city.


Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9, 00186, Rome

Pizza Ciliegina from 'Gusto by Birgitte Brøndsted
Pizza Ciliegina from Gusto © Birgitte Brøndsted

My absolute favorite restaurant in Rome is Gusto. I think it was a friend of mine who introduced me to the place right after it opened more than 15 years ago, and since then I have kept coming back again and again because of their fantastic pizzas.

Must try:
I always order the Pizza Ciliegina, the so-called “white pizza” (no tomato sauce). It has the perfect combination of ingredients, especially for warm summer nights when you feel like eating something a bit lighter: cherry tomatoes, rocket salad, baked olives, parmesan flakes and, of course, lots of mozzarella cheese.

Recommendation: Birgitte Brøndsted of Adustyolivegreen.com@birgittebrondsted

La Maisonnette Ristrot

Via Giacinto Pullino, 103 (Garbatella), 00154, Rome

La Maisonnette Ristrot is a new restaurant that has lots of people talking. They have coined the term “Ristrot”, a novel hybrid of restaurant and bistro. For those foodies wanting to escape Rome’s well-trodden tourist routes, this 1920’s house is highly recommended.

Must try:

  • Mini beef and pork meatballs lightly fried on toasted bread with ginger and sweet and sour onions from Tropea
  • Strozzapreti homemade pasta with mussels, swordfish, cherry tomatoes and salted ricotta
  • Scrumptious and tender fish of the day (salmon, swordfish or tuna) on a bed of potato puree with lime

Recommendation: Antonio of Romeing.it @Romeing

Taverna dei Fori Imperiali

Via della Madonna dei Monti, 9, 00184 Rome

Taverna dei Fori Imperiali is a family-owned spot located just four doors from my front door. My front door also happens to be steps away from the Colosseum and the Roman Forum – this friendly place is popular with locals from the neighborhood and with tourists and celebrities.

Must try:
My favorite dish at Taverna Fori Imperiali is Pasta alla Norcina. Claudia, one of the servers, doesn’t even ask me what my order is any more! This dish is a hearty plate of spaghetti with a fragrant sausage and porcini mushroom sauce. If you are visiting in summer, don’t miss the starter of burrata with oven roasted tomatoes or the ravioli stuffed with burrata and topped with either a fresh tomato sauce or pesto. Not sure what burrata is? Burrata is mozzarella’s creamier, richer cousin.

Recommendation: Gillian Longworth McGuire of Gillianslists.com@gmcguireinrome

Antico Arco

Piazzale Aurelio, 7 00152 Rome

Spaghetti carbonara with black truffle from Antico Arco
Spaghetti Carbonara with black truffle from Antico Arco © mylifesatrip.com

There are so many wonderful restaurants and it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one. However, Antico Arco is one of my favorite places, situated near Giancolo and away from the crowds. I discovered the restaurant a while back but recently dined here again when family was in town.

Must try:

  • Spaghetti Carbonara with black truffle (pictured above)

Recommendation: Diana of Browsingrome.com@browsingrome


Via Germanico 43 00192, Rome (Vatican area, metro A stop Ottaviano)

Fa-bìo in Rome
Fa-bìo in Rome by © younginrome

Not the typical recommendation for a place to eat in Rome, I stumbled into Fa-bìo one hungry afternoon a few years back on my way home from the Vatican Museums. Tucked down a quiet side street, this little place (standing room only) is open from mid-morning to late afternoon and has saved me on many an afternoon where I just wasn’t sure where to find a good, healthy meal in an area that can be tricky. From spelt salads and wraps to fresh juices and smoothies, the service is impeccable, and no matter how packed the place is, the owners always take the time to make sure your to-go order is personalized, offering suggestions and fresh options based on what is in season. Fabio makes unbelievable salmon salads topped with your choice of bread or whole-grain crackers, and Claudio creates one-of-a-kind juices.

Must Try:

  • The cinnamon apple raisin cookies

Recommendation by Flavia Brunetti Proietti of YounginRome.com@younginrome

Cantina Cantarini

Piazza Sallustio, 12, Rome

Spaghetti alle vongole from Catina Cantarini
Spaghetti alle vongole from Catina Cantarini by © younginrome

Don’t let the understated interior fool you, Cantina Cantarini has been serving food since 1903 and for good reason. From Thursday to Saturday the menu offers an impressive all-seafood menu.

Must try:

  • Fritto misto (deep-fried seafood)
  • Spaghetti alle vongole, AKA spaghetti “to die for” (pictured above)

Recommendation by Christine Cantera ‏of Missexpatria.wordpress.com@MissExpatria

Da Tonino

Via del Governo Vecchio 18, 00186 Rome

In 2011, I was working in an office in Piazza dell’Orologio. One day at lunch time I was walking down Via del Governo Vecchio and saw this “hole-in-the-wall” type place with no sign out front, and these old-fashioned string curtains hanging in the door. It seemed worth a try. One “quartino” of white wine and a rosetta later, I was already in love.

Must try:
Da Tonino does all the typical Roman pasta dishes well but, for a quick lunch, I love the roast veal with potatoes and salad.

Recommendation by Shelley Ruelle of Unamericanaaroma.com – @shelleyinrome

The Market Trastevere

Via della Luce 3/5, 00153, Rome

Fried calamari with lemon and white wine
Fried calamari with lemon and white wine. © younginrome

I was introduced to Fish Market by some friends a few years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite spots to enjoy fresh seafood in the city. On Friday nights, I would finish work a few blocks away and head straight over to celebrate the end of a long work week with a plate of fried calamari with lemon, a slab of garlic bruschetta and a glass of crisp white wine. The atmosphere is very laid back with brown paper place mats, white tiled walls, and a chalkboard menu and you even pick up your own drinks at the bar. Stay inside for the bustling market atmosphere or sit outside in the summer air within sight of Tiber island and the motorini zipping by on their way to a night out in Trastevere.

Must try:

  • Fried calamari with lemon
  • Garlic bruschetta
  • A glass of white wine

Recommendation by Lauren T. Mouat of YounginRome.com@younginrome

If you want to go and try some of these amazing restaurants, take a look at the cheapest flights to Rome.

Originally published

29th June 2015