Dining in Rome

Only in Rome: Dining at a sidewalk table between ancient Roman columns at Da Giggetto. (Photo courtesy of Da Giggetto)

A guide to dining in Rome and some of my favorite restaurants, trattorie, osterie, pizzerie, and gelaterie

This site includes some of my favorite Roman eateries, from a holy hospice run by lay sisters to a trattoria frequented by the families of convicts.

Great dining experiences

There are some of Rome's greatest pizzerie to its most classic wine bars, an old-fashioned German-style beer hall to a modern cafeteria-like tavola calda.

We cover everything from classy restaurants with wine lists longer than Moby Dick to tiny osterie that don't even print menus and are tucked into Trastevere's back alleys and hidden in corners of the Jewish ghetto.

Finding the perfect Roman restaurant

Even in the Eternal City's third millennium, you can still enjoy a feast fit for a Roman emperor. The tricky part is finding an inexpensive one. Your best bet is to hunt down one of a handful of traditional Roman osterie, the sort of down-home, family-run restaurant holdover straight out of a 1950s Fellini film.

There are several reviewed on this site, but to find your own just listen for the clink of glasses and murmur of Roman dialect emanating from behind the strings of beads hanging in a doorway with no sign and no menu posted.

Pop your head inside and a beaming papa will stride over to welcome you, ushering you to a communal table while his son abandons the soccer game on TV to slice you a basket of bread.

Mamma shuffles out from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron and asking with a feisty smile, "So, what do you want?" to which you retort, "What do you have?" and she inevitably replies, "I got spaghetti!" so you order the spaghetti.

The food will be simple, hearty, and delicious, the wine home-made, the atmosphere convivial, and the bill a fraction of that in a proper restaurant.

Rome restaurants, pizzerie, gelaterie, and more

Tips & links

General dining tips
Culinary tours of Rome
Italian dining phrases
English (Inglese) Italian (Italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...a restaurant un ristorante oon rees toh-RAHN-tay
...a casual restaurant una trattoria
oo-nah trah-toar-RHEE-yah
oon ohst-air-EE-yah
I would like to reserve... Vorrei prenotare... voar-RAY pray-note-ARE-eh
a table for two una tavola per due oo-nah TAH-voal-lah pair DOO-way
...for 7pm per le sette pair lay SET-tay
...for 7:30pm per le sette e mezzo pair lay SET-tay eh MET-tzoh
...for 8pm per le otto pair lay OH-toh
I would like Vorrei... voar-RAY
...some (of) un pó (di) oon POH (dee)
...this questo KWAY-sto
...that quello KWEL-loh
chicken pollo POL-loh
steak bistecca bee-STEAK-ah
veal vitello vee-TEL-oh
fish pesce PEH-shay
meat carne KAR-neh
I am vegetarian sono vegetariano SO-no veg-eh-tair-ee-YAH-no
side dish [veggies always come seperately] cotorno kon-TOR-no
dessert dolce DOAL-chay
and e ay
...a glass of un bicchiere di oon bee-key-YAIR-eh dee
...a bottle of una bottiglia di oo-na boh-TEEL-ya dee
...a half-liter of mezzo litro di MET-tzoh LEE-tro dee
...fizzy water acqua gassata AH-kwah gah-SAHT-tah
...still water acqua non gassata AH-kwah noan gah-SAHT-tah
...red wine vino rosso VEE-noh ROH-so
...white wine vino bianco VEE-noh bee-YAHN-koh
...beer birra BEER-a
Check, please Il conto, per favore eel COAN-toh pair fah-VOAR-eh
Is service included? É incluso il servizio? ay een-CLOU-so eel sair-VEET-zee-yo

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