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Spending 7 days in Rome is the foodie adventure of a lifetime. There is no shortage of places to eat and drink in Rome, which makes it a million times harder to figure out where to go because there are SO many amazing options! I read blogs, researched reviews, and stalked Instagram, you name it! Thankfully, my uncle, a food and wine connoisseur (see my post on Madrid for his other foodie recommendations) came prepared, and we ate! We tried so many different places, but I am narrowing the list down and only sharing my absolute top experiences in this food guide to Rome.
Foodie tips before you dine in Italy:
- Traditional Roman pasta dishes include cacio e pepe, carbonara, and amatriciana, so make sure you try to savor those dishes wherever and whenever you can.
- Cappuccinos are typically only ordered for breakfast. Italians only order espresso in the afternoon/evening, so don’t make the rookie mistake of ordering a cappuccino after dinner.
- Not sure how much to tip? The rule of thumb is “leave the change” for smaller transactions. For larger transactions like dinners etc, do what you are comfortable with. Leaving 20% is not expected.
Top 4 restaurants:
Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina: If you want a casual yet moody restaurant with amazing food, this is your place! Roscioli is a deli with a restaurant tucked away in the back, and I felt like I had stumbled upon a secret gem in the middle of Rome. This is where I had Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara, we also ordered oxtail stuffed squash blossoms, burrata and caviar, fresh mortadella, and two desserts. WOW. If I could eat here every meal I would. If you find yourself near Campo di Fiori or the Pantheon, definitely stop by (but make a reservation). BONUS: If you want something for lunch or an afternoon snack, go across the street to Antico Forno Roscioli for some baked goods, suppli, or pizza.
Address: Via dei Giubbonari, 21, 00186 Roma
Pierluigi: Pierluigi is one of the best seafood restaurants in Rome. It was very elegant with a sophisticated European crowd- not at all touristy. I don’t think the wait staff took us seriously because we were a tad underdressed and American, but as soon as we ordered the wine (a Gravner Ribolla), they realized we knew what we were doing… We ordered monkfish with chickpea fritters, uni carbonara, a whole seabass, salad, potatoes, and langoustine (basically prawns). It was incredible all around.
Address: Piazza de’ Ricci, 144, 00186 Roma
Zia: A Michelin-star restaurant where every bite was divine. Zia is an incredible experience. You can order a la carte or opt for a 6 ($100 pp) or 8 ($130 pp) course tasting menu. We did the 6-course tasting but had no idea what was going to be on the menu, you just have to trust the chef. Everything from the decor to the stemware was a vibe. The starter was a 15 year aged smoked pancetta with roasted tomato, next was a mussel dish, followed by their signature sweetbread (it was delicious although I did mentally struggle with what I was eating). Next was a stuffed pasta which was my favorite (obviously, it’s pasta). Our main was something I can’t believe I ate… pigeon. YES, I KNOW. Dessert was a sinful tiramisu-like dish and an ice cream. Everything was a 12/10, and very reasonable for the Michelin experience.
Address: Via Goffredo Mameli, 45, 00153 Roma
Pizzarium Bonci: You might recognize the name Gabriele Bonci from Netflix’s Chef’s Table Pizza. Although pizza is not a typical Roman dish, we had to try Pizzarium Bonci and HOLY MOLY it did not disappoint. Lunch spots in Rome are very casual and you just stand around and eat. To avoid long lines, we got there before it opened and ordered a few types of pizza as well as carbonara suppli. We tried a classic margarita, a porcini mushroom, feta & artichoke, and an onion and cheese pizza. Each bite was mouthwatering and I’ve never tasted bread quite like it before. My favorite was the mushroom pizza and the carbonara suppli. The restaurant is located close to the Vatican, so it makes sense to pair the two together.
Address: Via della Meloria, 43, 00136 Roma
Top 3 bars:
Drink Kong: Rated one of the top bars in the world, so naturally I HAD to try it. Drink Kong is one of the coolest cocktail bar experiences I’ve been to. No detail was overlooked, everything from the menus to the ice cubes is unique. We were welcomed with prosecco, olives, and shrimp dumplings. I had the “Enki” which literally looked like water but tasted like a dream. I wish I could go back every night to try more of the food.
Address: Piazza di S. Martino Ai Monti, 8, 00154 Roma
Jerry Thomas Speakeasy: A classic to-do in Rome. I read about Jerry Thomas Speakeasy everywhere so wasn’t sure if it was going to be a cool spot or if it was gimmicky. I made a reservation in advance and was emailed the password for that night. The speakeasy was charming, moody, and lively. They had live music for part of the evening (live music isn’t my vibe, but that’s a controversial opinion). The cocktails were also really unique and delicious.
Address: Vicolo Cellini, 30, 00186 Roma
Il Goccetto: Il Goccetto is one of the oldest and coziest local wine bars in Rome, it has such a charming feel and is not at all touristy. We stopped by here before dinner and it was packed with locals. The selection of wine was great and we also had their burrata with partially sun-dried tomatoes which were some of the best tomatoes I’ve had…I hope I get a chance to go back and try more!
Address: Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14, 00186 Roma
Top 2 desserts:
Two Sizes: Two Sizes is a tiramisu spot that looks like a full-on tourist trap. I was skeptical because I saw it all over Instagram, but it is 100% worth it. You order at the counter and have your tiramisu “to-go”. I got the “classico” tiramisu which was not too sweet and the perfect combination of flavors and textures.
Address: Via del Governo Vecchio, 88, 00186 Roma
Giolitti: Giolitti for gelato was *chefs kiss*. You feel like you’ve been transported to an old-school ice cream parlor. I got 2 flavors, hazelnut and pomegranate. I was particularly excited to see a pomegranate flavor (like any Persian gal would). The hazelnut was rich and creamy, while the pomegranate was tart. Loved them both.
Address: Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, 00186 Roma
Hopefully, this food guide to Rome gives you a great start to having the ultimate Roman food experience. Have you been to Rome? What were your favorite restaurants? Comment below!