Rome is such an enormous city: it’s enormous in population, it’s enormous in personality, and it’s enormous in scale — but, then enormous is how the Romans thought. That’s why visiting Rome can be overwhelming.
The reality is Rome is like our hometown of Los Angeles — if you plan your trip wrong you risk having a crappy time — say with a less-than-ideal hotel or even an outright bad meal in Italy — in a city that’s anything but. We could devote this whole site to food in Rome (in fact, our Rome travel guide does just that) because there’s so much to talk about.
But seeing as most visitors stay close to the major landmarks (ie Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain) in the centro storico (historic city center), let’s start there!
Here is our list of where to eat in the city center of Rome right now (a mix of new and old, just like Rome):
Classic Roman Food At Armando al Pantheon
Some restaurants live up to the hype and Armando al Pantheon is one of them. It’s been around almost as long as Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and is just as much of a classic. This family-run place has a reputation for great traditional pastas (like carbonara and the lesser-known pajata) and classic sides like chicory or baby artichokes, but, honestly, it’s really hard to go wrong.
Oh and make sure to order wine because they have a list with all sorts of interesting bottles from across Italy with a nice selection from the Lazio region (where Rome is situated) as well as natural and organic wines.
Salita dei Crescenzi 31
Quick And Healthy Slow Food at Ciao Checca
I’m the first to admit that I can’t make every meal a carb-loading fest when I travel. Sometimes I just want clean, healthy, simple food, which is exactly what Ciao Checca serves. From salads to soups and sandwiches, they have really quick, affordable food that won’t weigh you down.
Piazza di Firenze 25/26
Classic Carb Loading at Forno Roscioli
People either love or hate the Roscioli family of restaurants and bakeries and we’re firmly on the love side. There is a lot of great pizza Bianca in Rome but you have to try the version at Roscioli at least once. If you’re in the neighborhood of Trastevere, be sure to try the version at Forno Prelibato. Via dei Chiavari, 34 (Campo de’Fiori)
Rustic Trattoria Food at Osteria dell’Ignegno
If you’re on a mission to tour the city center, it can be easy to just eat at the closest trattoria. For rustic Italian food that’s reliable and quick enough you can get back out touring in a few hours’ time, check out Osteria dell’Igngeno.
Piazza della Pietra 45
Throwback Espresso at Tazza D’Oro
Along with nearby Sant’Eustachio, Tazza D’Oro is one of the most classic cafes in Rome. But, whereas Sant’Eustachio has super dark roasted (too much so for us) beans, Tazza D’Oro is a bit less aggressive.
Via del Pastini 11
Go For High End Seafood at Pierluigi
There are way fancier places with many Michelin stars in Rome but, when it comes to high-end, we’ll stick to the classic service and exceptional seafood at Pierluigi.
Piazza Dè Ricci, 144 (Campo de’Fiori)
Those are our must-eat restaurants in Rome’s city center. For more of our travel tips for Italy check out our Italy travel guides for food lovers! Any other additional spots you’ve discovered when you travel in Italy? Let us know in the comments below!