These are some of our favorite Rome restaurants. From Al Pompiere's Roman Jewish cuisine to Broccoletti's organic offerings, you'll find yourself in food heaven.
Al Pompiere serves traditional Roman fare and Roman Jewish cuisine. It's a good place to try the famous carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-style fried artichokes) or fiori di zucca (fried stuffed zucchini flowers) as an appetizer. A local favorite since 1962, there are several rooms that usually fill up with the dinner crowd.
Address: Al Pompiere: Via S M Calderati 38, off Piazza delle Cinque Scole
Armando al Pantheon is a lively and crowded restaurant on a street just off Piazza di Rotonda, the square where the Pantheon sits. The food is good and prices aren't too high. They have some interesting specialties and offer a vegetarian menu. In business since 1961, the restaurant usually has a mix of locals and tourists. Before or after dinner, splurge on a drink outside in Piazza di Rotonda.
Address: Armando al Pantheon: Salita de' Crescenzi, 31
Le Mani in Pasta in Trastevere, across the Tiber, serves great dishes made from scratch (so not the place to go if you're in a hurry). The homemade pastas were fantastic. There is a good selection of appetizers, pastas, and seconds including seafood, meat, traditional, and vegetarian options. The lunch crowd when we were there on a weekday was mainly locals. Since it's small, you may want to reserve.
Address: Le Mani in Pasta: Via dei Genovesi 37
In Rome's Monti neighborhood, very close to the Forum and Colosseum yet away from the tourist crowds, there are several good restaurants. Our friend Gillian, who lives in the neighborhood, took us to Broccoletti (see photos of our lunch), a small, organic restaurant with a menu written on a chalkboard that changes to reflect seasonal offerings. We had 3 different pastas, all excellent. Broccoletti is also recommended by Elizabeth Minchelli, Rome food writer.
Address: Broccoletti: Via Urbana 104
For a taste of traditional Roman working-class food, head to the Testaccio neighborhood, the old slaughterhouse area, where you'll find lots of dishes based on innards. Checchino dal 1887 is a good place to try these foods in a more refined setting where you can see an English menu to be sure of what you're getting. There is also a large selection of wines.
Address: Trattoria Checchino dal 1887: Via di Monte Testaccio, 30
A great place to sit outside is the Campo dei Fiori and Obicà offers an unusual choice of foods, all based on mozzarella. If you don't want a heavy meal or want a substantial appetizer, Obicà is a good choice. A drink comes with a small taste of mozzarella, tomato, and grilled vegetable. The menu includes a number of plates, either cold cuts or vegetables, all paired with mozzarella. There's a good selection of wines by the glass to go with your food.
Address: Obicà Mozzarella Bar: Piazza Campo dei Fiori, 16
Antica Osteria da Giovanni
If you're looking for a cheap meal outside the tourist areas, head to Antica Osteria da Giovanni, near the river between the Vatican and Trastevere. Don't expect anything fancy or exceptional just a very good, inexpensive Italian meal with good house wine. The small osteria has been in business for more than 50 years.
Address: Antica Osteria da Giovanni: Via della Lungara, 41/a, by Ponte Mazzini
For a pleasant day out in the Appia Antica Park, we enjoy eating on the spacious outdoor patio at Cecilia Metella. In addition to the ala carte menu, there are four special menus to choose from (somewhat expensive). The restaurant has a good selection of wines.
Address: Cecilia Metella: Via Appia Antica, 125-129, near the Catacombs of San Callisto
Ristorante Camponeschi, on Piazza Farnese, is the favorite of Dianne Hales, author of La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language and honorary Italian knight. The elegant restaurant has a large selection of pasta, meat, and fish dishes.
Address: Ristorante Camponeschi: Piazza Farnese, 50
Betsy Malloy says, "In two visits more than two years apart, this place has maintained its quality. At first glance, the menu looks quite traditional, until you start looking more closely at the ingredients. On our last visit (and the best meal we had during a two-week trip), we had bruschetta topped with salmon, buffalo mozzarella, and a roasted tomato; pappardelle with octopus and asparagus; thick pasta with artichokes and fresh ricotta and the house specialty tiramisu.
Address: Trattoria Moderna: Vicolo dei Chiodaroli, 16, near Campo dei Fiori
OK, it's expensive but you're sitting on one of Rome's most famous squares and eating the famous Tartufo dessert where it originated. This is a treat everyone who likes chocolate should indulge in once - Tartufo at Tre Scalini in Piazza Navona. If you don't want to pay top price to sit in the piazza, go inside and get one to go for half the price.