So, you’re in Rome. Its beauty and historical palaces and landmarks are captivating. After a long day you’re feeling a little lethargic from your exploring. It’s time to wind down and choose where to go for dinner. You will never be stuck to find a place to eat, the problem is which one to choose and do you stick with the tried and tested? My advice is be adventurous as Rome’s restaurants overall, serve decent food, however I would recommend that you stay to the side streets and veer away from the city centre. You’ll find the more authentic restaurants are in the more residential areas around the centre itself. Although saying that, my number one choice for excellent food, value for money and authenticity is in fact quite central, this being an exception to the rule, in my opinion.
A great spot with many affordable restaurants is near the Coliseum. If you are on a budget, I’d be more inclined to wander up the little streets, where you will stumble across some of the most rustic restaurants where you’re likely to meet the locals and perhaps even strike up a conversation or two with them.
Below I’ve outlined my top five restaurants.
1. Antica Osteria da Benito (Via dei Falegnami, 14, 00186 Rome)
This is my top choice for eating out either day or evening in Rome. It’s situated between the Vittorio Emmanuelle monument (the grave of the Unknown Soldier) in Piazza Venezia and Largo Argentina. I happened to stumble across this trattoria one day while out exploring and had lunch there. The staff is fun and friendly and they are very helpful in recommending what would tantalize the taste buds. On recommendation I chose the lamb, and to this day, my mouth still waters at the thought of it. The food is exceptional and of high quality and outstanding value for money. I can’t wait until my next trip back to sample this nook again.
2. Li Rioni (Via dei S.S. Quattro 24, 00184 Rome)
Li Rioni is a family owned and run restaurant. It’s always busy with locals and you might find one or two tourists there, but mainly locals. The staff is courteous and friendly to tourists and the service is quick. This restaurant always seems to have queues outside so if you plan on going there on a weekend night in particular, get there early as they don’t take reservations. If you choose to sit indoors, it’s beautifully decorated with coloured flower pots resting on window sills and painted windows on the walls. They have effectively brought the outside in. The food here is very tasty, it’s reasonable and you get more than what you pay for. They also serve some wonderful Italian (of course) wines which are far less expensive than were you to buy them at home. The waiters are also quite eye-catching.
3. Luzzi (Via Di San Giovanni In Laterano 88, 00184 Rome)
Luzzi is a quirky little place. It’s packed with locals and the staff are loud, fun and friendly. It’s for this reason it’s so well-known and always busy. People love it and it adds a certain sense of fun to a night out. However, if it’s extra busy, they do tend to have a quick turnaround time. If you’re looking for romance, it probably wouldn’t be the ideal setting as it’s quite a loud and jokey atmosphere. If it’s fun you’re after, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s inexpensive, with good quality, tasty food and drink. A wonderful trattoria, based close to the Coliseum.
4. Trattoria da Valentino (Via Cavour 293, Rome)
This trattoria is half way up via Cavour. It essentially is what I think of when I think Italy. Decked out in its red and white table cloths with an old style setting, the staff are friendly, service is fast and the food is truly magnificent. There is a lively atmosphere with a mixture of tourists and locals which makes a nice blend. People are friendly and you’ll almost certainly make a new friend or two in this restaurant and leave with a feeling of satisfaction.
5. Pasqualino,( via dei S.S. Quattro 66, 00184 Rome)
Pasqualino is a little more expensive than the others mentioned above but the food again is wonderful, tasty and the service is excellent. This again is a trattoria with a mixture of pizza, pasta, meat and fish dishes. The menu is extensive and it could take even the most decisive person a while to choose from it. Pasqualino is one to save until the end of your holiday, as it’s a nice treat.
I hope you find these five restaurants as good as I have and all that’s left for me to say is Buon Appetito!