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Courtesy of Cavalieri Rome

The Best Old-School, Traditional Restaurants in Rome

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To try and call something a classic in Rome is an exercise in futility. You think this 80-year-old restaurant has been around awhile? Try this one, open for 500 years. Think you’ve found the best version of gelato? Pop into this place around the corner and try to decide which one is better. Unlike any other city in the world, Rome is a place that has reinvented itself — and its food — over millennia. But there’s a direct line through all of it that brings the history alive. Time-honored, weathered favorites earn the affection and praise by becoming indispensable to locals, no matter how long they have been in business.

There is no possible way to dub any one restaurant the best in a city with so many incredible choices. Still, “when in Rome,” you’ll be sad to forgo any one of those restaurants when visiting. Here’s where to eat for a traditional Roman meal you won’t soon forget.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. La Pergola

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Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101
00136 Roma RM, Italy

If you want to go big when in Rome, this is your spot. The only three-star Michelin restaurant in Rome, the views alone from the top of the Rome Cavalieri hotel make it a must on any list. But the cuisine from Heinz Beck, who has run the restaurant since 1994, is enough to make anyone swoon and forget the steep price tag. Choose between the prix fixe 10- or 7-course tasting menu, which currently features duck foie gras with berries, white asparagus with seaweed pesto and squid, and rabbit tortellini.

Courtesy of Cavalieri Rome

2. Pinsere

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Via Flavia, 98
00187 Roma RM, Italy

Eat pizza like the original Romans: standing up and straight from the oven. This takeaway spot makes pinse, a flatbread which is often touted as the first kind of pizza and one that only exists in Rome. Pinsere is a quick stop for something a little different from the constant barrage of typical Roman pizza. There are a variety of toppings to suit any taste, including some veering from the traditional — ricotta, figs, and honey, for instance — but you won’t go wrong with a pinse topped with anchovies or zucchini flowers.

3. Settimio al Pellegrino     

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Via del Pellegrino, 117
00186 Roma RM, Italy

If you want a traditional trattoria that’s been open for nearly a full century, then you have to stop into this institution. Don’t come in with a set idea about what you want to eat: The menu comes from the kitchen daily and you’ll want to try whatever they tell you to. (But note: If your Italian is rough, it’s best to visit with someone who speaks the language.) Expect old-school Italian comfort food in the best possible way, with a homey setting to match.

4. Piperno Restaurant

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Via Monte dè Cenci, 9
00186 Roma RM, Italy

This historic restaurant, open since 1860, is tucked away in a hidden courtyard deep in the Jewish Ghetto that will make you feel like you are stepping back in time. Sip a glass of wine while you eat Roman specialties like carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-style fried artichokes) or fiori di zucca ripieni e fritti (fried stuffed zucchini flowers). Enjoy the breezy outdoor seating away from the noise or relish in the ornate indoor dining room. Either way, you’ll have a true Roman experience.

Courtesy of Ali Rosen

5. Fata Morgana

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Piazza di S. Cosimato
00153 Roma RM, Italy

Gelato is a necessity in Rome. And when one of the best shops has multiple locations, it means you are never too far from perfection. Fata Morgana has an unimaginable number of fresh ingredients and innumerable choices of gelato to choose from. Go for classic chocolate or get an in-season fruit varietal.

Courtesy of Ali Rosen

6. Pizzeria da Remo

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Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice, 44
00153 Roma RM, Italy
06 574 6270

You have to have thin-crust Roman-style pizza when in Rome, and this spot has a wood-burning oven along with a boisterous, fun, crowded atmosphere. Order up a traditional margherita pizza, topped with bufala mozzarella or wurstel, or try the house specialty with mushrooms, eggplant, and sausage. Aside from the pizza, you can also try Roman staples, like arancini (rice balls).

Richard Nowitz

7. Trattoria Perilli

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Via Marmorata, 39
00153 Roma RM, Italy

Far away from the tourist crowds is Trattoria Perilli, serving classic Roman dishes in a room with murals lining the wall and white tablecloths at the ready. If you like meat, then this is your spot because they happen to specialize in offal. But locals also say the carbonara is the best in the city. So get meats or pasta, or both — you can’t go wrong.

Isabel Pavia

8. Gelateria Giolitti

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Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40
00186 Roma RM, Italy

Some things never change, and in Rome, that would be the gelato. Open since 1900, Giolitti has laid claim to being the oldest gelateria in the city, and is still owned by the same family since its opening. The lines may be long, but it’s worth it for a scoop of cioccolato (chocolate) or limone (lemon) gelato — or, if you want to go big, the Coppa Giolitti. It’s a massive sundae made with gelato, custard, chocolate, zabaione (a type of whipped custard), cream, and hazelnut shavings.

9. Antico Forno Roscioli

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Via dei Chiavari, 34
00186 Roma RM, Italy

Those who say that Antico Forno Roscioli is an institution aren’t exaggerating, The bakery has been running in the family for four generations, and they have perfected the traditional styles of Roman pizza: pizza al taglio (rectangular and sold by weight) and pizza Romana tonda (round, thin, and crisp). You can order al taglio (by the slice), or better yet, pick up a pizza bianca — crispy dough brushed with olive oil and topped with salt — with a bottle of wine, also sold at the bakery.

10. Il Norcino Bernabei

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Corso Vittoria Colonna, 13
00047 Marino RM, Italy

Although the butcher is about an hour’s trek outside of the city, it’s for a good cause: mouthwatering porchetta from butchers that have mastered the art of meat for centuries. How do they do it? The owner, Vito Bernabei, seasons the porchetta “trunk” with salt, pepper, garlic, and fennel, and then slow roasts it for six to seven hours. The result is unlike any other porchetta you’ll try in Rome. Eat it with a crusty loaf of bread and a bottle of wine before heading back to the city. (Also worth snacking on? The capicola, coppa di testa, and salami.)

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

1. La Pergola

Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101, 00136 Roma RM, Italy
Courtesy of Cavalieri Rome

If you want to go big when in Rome, this is your spot. The only three-star Michelin restaurant in Rome, the views alone from the top of the Rome Cavalieri hotel make it a must on any list. But the cuisine from Heinz Beck, who has run the restaurant since 1994, is enough to make anyone swoon and forget the steep price tag. Choose between the prix fixe 10- or 7-course tasting menu, which currently features duck foie gras with berries, white asparagus with seaweed pesto and squid, and rabbit tortellini.

Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101
00136 Roma RM, Italy

2. Pinsere

Via Flavia, 98, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

Eat pizza like the original Romans: standing up and straight from the oven. This takeaway spot makes pinse, a flatbread which is often touted as the first kind of pizza and one that only exists in Rome. Pinsere is a quick stop for something a little different from the constant barrage of typical Roman pizza. There are a variety of toppings to suit any taste, including some veering from the traditional — ricotta, figs, and honey, for instance — but you won’t go wrong with a pinse topped with anchovies or zucchini flowers.

Via Flavia, 98
00187 Roma RM, Italy

3. Settimio al Pellegrino     

Via del Pellegrino, 117, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

If you want a traditional trattoria that’s been open for nearly a full century, then you have to stop into this institution. Don’t come in with a set idea about what you want to eat: The menu comes from the kitchen daily and you’ll want to try whatever they tell you to. (But note: If your Italian is rough, it’s best to visit with someone who speaks the language.) Expect old-school Italian comfort food in the best possible way, with a homey setting to match.

Via del Pellegrino, 117
00186 Roma RM, Italy

4. Piperno Restaurant

Via Monte dè Cenci, 9, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Courtesy of Ali Rosen

This historic restaurant, open since 1860, is tucked away in a hidden courtyard deep in the Jewish Ghetto that will make you feel like you are stepping back in time. Sip a glass of wine while you eat Roman specialties like carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-style fried artichokes) or fiori di zucca ripieni e fritti (fried stuffed zucchini flowers). Enjoy the breezy outdoor seating away from the noise or relish in the ornate indoor dining room. Either way, you’ll have a true Roman experience.

Via Monte dè Cenci, 9
00186 Roma RM, Italy

5. Fata Morgana

Piazza di S. Cosimato, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Courtesy of Ali Rosen

Gelato is a necessity in Rome. And when one of the best shops has multiple locations, it means you are never too far from perfection. Fata Morgana has an unimaginable number of fresh ingredients and innumerable choices of gelato to choose from. Go for classic chocolate or get an in-season fruit varietal.

Piazza di S. Cosimato
00153 Roma RM, Italy

6. Pizzeria da Remo

Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice, 44, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Richard Nowitz

You have to have thin-crust Roman-style pizza when in Rome, and this spot has a wood-burning oven along with a boisterous, fun, crowded atmosphere. Order up a traditional margherita pizza, topped with bufala mozzarella or wurstel, or try the house specialty with mushrooms, eggplant, and sausage. Aside from the pizza, you can also try Roman staples, like arancini (rice balls).

Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice, 44
00153 Roma RM, Italy

7. Trattoria Perilli

Via Marmorata, 39, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Isabel Pavia

Far away from the tourist crowds is Trattoria Perilli, serving classic Roman dishes in a room with murals lining the wall and white tablecloths at the ready. If you like meat, then this is your spot because they happen to specialize in offal. But locals also say the carbonara is the best in the city. So get meats or pasta, or both — you can’t go wrong.

Via Marmorata, 39
00153 Roma RM, Italy

8. Gelateria Giolitti

Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Some things never change, and in Rome, that would be the gelato. Open since 1900, Giolitti has laid claim to being the oldest gelateria in the city, and is still owned by the same family since its opening. The lines may be long, but it’s worth it for a scoop of cioccolato (chocolate) or limone (lemon) gelato — or, if you want to go big, the Coppa Giolitti. It’s a massive sundae made with gelato, custard, chocolate, zabaione (a type of whipped custard), cream, and hazelnut shavings.

Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40
00186 Roma RM, Italy

9. Antico Forno Roscioli

Via dei Chiavari, 34, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Those who say that Antico Forno Roscioli is an institution aren’t exaggerating, The bakery has been running in the family for four generations, and they have perfected the traditional styles of Roman pizza: pizza al taglio (rectangular and sold by weight) and pizza Romana tonda (round, thin, and crisp). You can order al taglio (by the slice), or better yet, pick up a pizza bianca — crispy dough brushed with olive oil and topped with salt — with a bottle of wine, also sold at the bakery.

Via dei Chiavari, 34
00186 Roma RM, Italy

10. Il Norcino Bernabei

Corso Vittoria Colonna, 13, 00047 Marino RM, Italy

Although the butcher is about an hour’s trek outside of the city, it’s for a good cause: mouthwatering porchetta from butchers that have mastered the art of meat for centuries. How do they do it? The owner, Vito Bernabei, seasons the porchetta “trunk” with salt, pepper, garlic, and fennel, and then slow roasts it for six to seven hours. The result is unlike any other porchetta you’ll try in Rome. Eat it with a crusty loaf of bread and a bottle of wine before heading back to the city. (Also worth snacking on? The capicola, coppa di testa, and salami.)

Corso Vittoria Colonna, 13
00047 Marino RM, Italy

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