Roman cuisine is defined by a unique set of ingredients, techniques, and dishes that set it apart from the food of all other Italian cities. Generational trattorias serve a delicious (if predictable) litany of specialties such as cacio e pepe, carbonara, roasted lamb, and assorted offal. Their ranks are bolstered by a number of neo-trattorias that take a fresh approach to the classics — just one way young chefs are nudging tradition forward in the Italian capital. There are also plenty of international flavors offering a break from the pecorino Romano- and guanciale-laden Roman classics.
Travelers tend to plan their dining itineraries far in advance, meaning last minute reservations are difficult. Consider booking a month ahead for sought-after spots. While some do offer online booking, you’ll have to try your luck by phone elsewhere, including at places so understaffed they aren’t even able to answer the phone some days; calling at the very beginning or end of service is your best bet.
Update, September 2022:
Rome is emerging from an extremely hot and crowded summer, and fall promises little relief from the crowds. Staffing challenges of late mean service can be chaotic or idiosyncratic, so it pays to turn up with a healthy dose of empathy and patience.
The contemporary dining scene is most interesting (and affordable) at places like Marzapane and Dogma, where chefs trained in fine dining have settled into their own styles. Some of the best bites in town continue to be fast food, like the sheet pan pizza at Pizzarium and the sourdough pizza pockets at Trapizzino. The seated pizzeria category is also absolutely booming — a silver lining of the pandemic — as the expansion of I Quintili and 180g Pizzeria Romana attest. Meanwhile, diners in search of lighter meals or vino from small producers will enjoy wine bars like L’Antidoto, Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi, and the Sardinia-focused new entry Latteria Trastevere.
Katie Parla is a Rome-based food and beverage journalist, culinary guide, and New York Times best-selling cookbook author. She is the host of Katie Parla’s Rome and Katie Parla’s Roman Kitchen on Recipe.TV, and the co-host of the GOLA podcast and GOLA on the Road television show about Italian food and drinks culture.Read More