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. While traditional trattorias and osterias still dominate the dining options with a predictable (if delicious) litany of specialties such as cacio e pepe, carbonara, roasted lamb, and assorted offal, there is now an increasing number of alternatives, from fast-food riffs on local recipes to international flavors and neo-trattorias.
Though the past decade has seen some serious shifts in local dining habits, generally speaking, lunch is served from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Once the pandemic subsides and travel resumes as normal, consider booking at least a few days in advance, or a few weeks ahead at sought-after spots like Armando al Pantheon and Salumeria Roscioli. At the moment, you can still walk in at many of Rome’s historic hotspots, though check directly with restaurants before making plans.
One major silver lining of the pandemic is that outdoor seating, once prohibitively expensive or impossible to secure, is now the norm, even at places on busy streets, like wine bar Il Goccetto. Another plus is that pizzerias are booming, as the expansion of I Quintili and 180g Pizzeria Romana attest. But COVID also continues to foment uncertainty, causing staffing issues at restaurants and making customer regulations feel like moving targets. Currently, in order to eat indoors, Italians over age 12 are required to produce a Green Pass, which proves vaccination, recovery from COVID within the last 6 months, or a recent negative test. Travelers should be prepared to show equivalent documents.
Still, Rome’s greatest feasts are worth navigating any difficulties. Dining and drinking in the city is as special and exciting as ever.
Prices per person, excluding alcohol
$ = Less than 15 euros (less than $18 USD)
$$ = 16 - 39 euros ($19 to $46 USD)
$$$ = 40 - 66 euros ($47 to $78 USD)
$$$$ = More than 66 euros (more than $78 USD)
Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in Italy, please visit the Ministry of Health.
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Katie Parla is a Rome-based food and beverage journalist, culinary guide, and award-winning 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 about Italian food and drinks culture.Read More