This self-proclaimed restaurant and micro-bakery is oh-so-much more. Marigold is hard work, dream chasing and living by Danish implant Sofie Wochner and her Calabrian husband Domenico Cortese. He is a passionate cook, she a baker and so comes together with the perfect mix for Rome's latest trendsetter in Rome's former industrial heart of Ostiense. Rome's foodie obsessed were until recently treated by Sofie and Domenico at their outstanding pop-up dinners under the guise of The Eatery but now this permanent locale puts on a pretty show with a counter full of decadent baked goods - think cinnamon rolls, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate brownie cheesecake - breakfast, brunch and weekend dinners. At breakfast and brunch, there's avocado on rye with poached eggs and at dinner, Domenico shows off with his homemade pasta-filled creations. It really feels like you're welcomed not only into their home but into their little dream-come-reality. Open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday to Friday, brunch on weekends and dinner on Friday and Saturday. Metro: Piramide.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Delicious comfort food and all served with a smile.
Maria's expert tip: Get in early for weekend brunch as the line is out the door after 1 pm.
Mirabelle is perched on the 7th floor of the luxurious Hotel Splendide Royal and is home to one for the most elegant terraces in Rome. Unobstructed views of everything from the Pantheon to the dome of St Peter's Basilica can be enjoyed from the roof garden which acts as a magical panoramic space all year round. Executive Chef Stefano Marzetti and Food and Beverage Director Luca Costanzi run the show here and what a delightful show it is. Their impressive wine cellar boasts a never-ending selection of Italian and international labels (over 700 to be exact) and the refined menu with gourmet touches will delight even the fussiest of fine diners. In addition to the a la carte menu, there are three tasting menus to choose from, including Rome's current complete gluten-free degustation consisting of 5 delectable courses. The classic decor with the live piano gives it an olde world cabaret feel. One thing's for sure: the meal, the staff and lively atmosphere will more than impress. The view will leave you speechless. Metro: Barberini.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Fine food with views of all of Rome. Need we say more?
Maria's expert tip: Try to get in before the sun sets for a pre-dinner cocktail with unforgettable views of the city.
When Pianostrada came on to the Roman dining scene in 2014, it was a breath of fresh air. Four smart, friendly and talented women in the tiniest of open kitchen spaces in the heart of Trastevere. Fresh, creative and gourmet street-food and other dishes on a menu that changed regularly, (often daily) together with their flair and charisma, was a recipe for success from the start. Cut to 2016 and they had outgrown their space, moving across the river to Via Delle Zoccolette in swanky new digs – think vintage furniture and a garden complete with herbs, plants and fairy lights. And now they have Pianoalto. Along the river in one of Trastevere's quiet streets, the venue is set across two floors and includes a gorgeous plant and flower-filled rooftop terrace with an L-shaped bar offering views across the Aventine and Mount Testaccio. The decor is eclectic and funky with the Pianostrada design stamp. Think fun, custom-made bench stools, armchairs, communal tables and more. The menu has a wide selection of new and seasonal dishes as well as the signature ones they are famous for including the Bacca Burger (the squid ink bun baccalà - salt cod - burger, deconstructed fried zucchini flowers, slow-rise focaccia and their ever familiar love for lemon zest) and added outstanding cocktails to the offering. To provide a familiar face for regulars, the women now divide their time between the two venues.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Great service and a magical setting with fine food to match.
Maria's expert tip: Be sure to book as spots fill up fast and in summer ask for a spot on the rooftop terrace.
Located in the heart of Rome's Trastevere, an area full of casual trattorias and bars, Glass Hostaria stands out as a contemporary gem. With a Michelin Star, Cristina Bowerman and her team deliver fine dining in a sophisticated, yet relaxed atmosphere. The fine-dining menu is inventive as modern as the interiors and the wine cellar is as impressive as one would expect of an establishment of this caliber. With an international and local crowd, the menu changes seasonally and a degustation experience is the best way to sample the outstanding selection. Tram: 8, Bus: 23, H.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Stylish interiors and the locale you don't expect in Trastevere.
Maria's expert tip: Don't go past Cristina Bowerman's steak tartare - it is the best in Rome.
Young Roman chefs who take a risk with the drive to open their own restaurant in this current Italian economy must be applauded. And Antonio Ziantoni is the latest to venture out on his own after stints in some very reputable dining establishments. For four years he worked with Anthony Genovese of Rome's two-Michelin starred Il Pagliaccio and even with England's Gordon Ramsey. He chose Trastevere - a neighborhood in need of dining evolution - and his could very well be the Rome restaurant opening of the year. His stellar curriculum and talent will certainly stand him in good stead. The interiors and fit-out at Zia are an ode to those all too familiar Scandinavian lines infiltrating the city but with Made in Italy design touches, Ziantoni and co. have truly made it their own. With less than 30 covers, it's an intimate space and away from the more crowded zones of the quartiere. The menu will attract a crowd looking for quality and innovation on the plate, but the prices are extremely reasonable for Trastevere and for the refined technique you find on the plate. There are 5 entrees,5 first course and 5 main courses to choose from as well as a 5-course tasting menu (55 euro) and a 3-course lunch menu (30 euro). The menu will change each season and some of the current highlights include lamb sweetbreads with mozzarella and tomato; a delectable pulled pork salad; panzerotti with smoked cockerel; and a most tender lamb and mustard dish. And when it comes to dessert, Christian Marasca's delights don't disappoint, especially the spectacular Tourbillon. If innovative fine dining is what you're after in Rome but you don't want to break the bank, Zia certainly won't disappoint. TRAM: 3 8. BUS: 75, H.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Antonio Ziantoni and team are going places so get on the bandwagon early!
Maria's expert tip: Let the chef treat you to a degustation that you won't soon forget.
Everyone in Rome is talking about Pier Daniele Seu - Rome's pizza maker of the minute. His pizza, dough and leavening education started with Gabriele Bonci (touted by the foreign press as Rome's 'Michelangelo of pizza') but he has carved his own way. His is a gourmet pizza and he plays with the format too â" pizzas cut in corners and a degustation style whereby one pizza at a time comes out to the table so diners get to share. All the classics are on the menu (Margherita, marinara, etc.) but Seu flirts with ingredients and you'll find anything from a deconstructed capricciosa pizza to one with tuna tartare and burrata. A variety of seasonal and prized ingredients like chicory, yellow tomatoes, walnuts and cocoa powder all make appearances on the extensive list of his signature creations â" on a pizza base that has a thicker crust than the traditional Roman style. The fritti (fried treats) are divine, especially the suppli stuffed with a silky carbonara filling. Vegan and vegetarian options, desserts, craft beer and local wines are on the menu too.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Seu was just listed in the top 10 of the world's 50 best pizzas and it never disappoints.
Maria's expert tip: Challenge Italian pizza tradition and go with the tasting format where pizzas come to the table one at a time.
If a change really is as good as a holiday, it looks like this guy has had ten of them! One of Rome's most prominent and talented chefs (Michelin stars and various awards under his belt) caused an uproar in early 2019 when news of him leaving the historic Hotel Hassler was no less shocking for the Roman food world than what would have been, say had John Lennon left the Beatles at the height of their fame! Francesco Apreda made the controversial move after more than a decade and so Idylio was born. Set within the five-star luxurious design Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel, the philosophy here is rebirth and it can truly be felt. The menu is devised by three distinct tasting menus (6, 7 and 8 courses, 120, 140, 160 euro respectively) and each dish can be ordered individually as you choose. Highlights include the panko-crumbed scallop with black truffle and a surprise buffalo mozzarella center, Apreda's takes on the roman classics 'Pollo ai Peperoni' (his is slow-cooked for 4 days) and 'Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino' (this version is served with angel hair pasta and topped with smoked eel), and a delectable, sensory journey with a four-way prepared foie gras. As always, Apreda's travels through Japan and India and his Neapolitan heritage can be savored throughout the menu. Apreda is supported in the state-of-the-art kitchen by the talented head chef Francesco Focaccia, sous chef Luca Caporilli and pastry chef Edvige Simoncelli. Around 600 labels make the wine list with more to come and the impeccable dining floor service led by Alessandro D'Andrea makes you feel right at home, a rarity in many fine dining establishments. Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday. Bookings can be made online. Tram: 8, 3.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Apreda is one of Rome's finest chefs and gourmands won't want to miss him while in town.
Maria's expert tip: Bookings are a must and can be made online. Head over early in the warmer months to have a drink on the Divinity rooftop terrace.
Rome's Ristorante All'Oro sits within the stylish, boutique The H'all Tailor Suite right by Piazza del Popolo. Owners Riccardo Di Giacinto and Ramona Anello dreamt up the idea of a complete pampering whereby this isn't your average hotel restaurant but a fine dining restaurant with hotel rooms if you like. Riccardo and Ramona have thought of every particular detail to make you feel as though you're dining at their place! The restaurant, which boasts one star in the coveted Michelin Guide, is fitted with plush and luxury colorful interiors and everything from the charcoal fabric covered tables to purple velvet sofa seats are designed with client comfort in mind. The menu brings the same fun and spunk to their age-old signature dishes with a few new ones on the list. Some of the standout dishes included the potato and salt cod tiramisu; a deconstructed carbonara cream in an eggshell; mascarpone ravioli with duck ragu and red wine reduction; and the cheeky take on the old Roman classic, a ball of coda alla vaccinara (slowly braised oxtail) that resembles the Ferrero Rocher chocolate. The fun doesn't end after dinner with a mini wooden carousel (complete with music) arriving at your table with the petit fours after dessert. All'Oro is a gastronomic journey that surprises and makes you smile at every turn.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Riccardo Di Giacinto might have a Michelin star but this place isn't stuffy. On the contrary, be prepared for a fun evening.
Maria's expert tip: Bookings are essential and there's also a boutique hotel here if you want to stay a little longer!
For traditional Cucina Romana (roman cuisine), you can't go past Da Enzo. It's literally a hole-in-the-wall with maybe about 10 or 12 tables which means you'll have to line up for one and for a while at best. But it's worth the wait and then some. Da Enzo definitely does up the most mind-blowing carciofi alla giudia (Jewish style fried artichokes) and keeps it real with their classic pasta dishes like carbonara (egg and pork cheek), amatriciana (tomato and pork cheek) and cacio e Pepe (pecorino cheese and pepper)and local offal dishes like tripe and braised oxtail (coda alla vaccinara). Throw in a bottle of house wine and dessert and you might walk out only spending about 20 euro a person! BUS: 23, H. TRAM: 8
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Wholesome and authentic roman fare, Da Enzo is family run and simply delicious.
Maria's expert tip: Order the creamy burrata cheese and stuffed fried zucchini to start, whatever you want in between and the mascarpone mousse with wild strawberries to finish.
Sleek and chic. Retrobottega is one of the hottest addresses in town. Located right in the heart of the city, between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, there are only 26 seats at this modern eatery so you'll have to book to get a seat. The venue has two dining spaces that are centered around the open kitchen so not only do you get to taste Giuseppe Lo Iudice and Alessandro Miocchi's creations, you see their artistic preparation unfold right before your eyes. These young and experienced chefs (they count brands and names like Bulgari, Anthony Genovese, Il Pagliaccio and Enrico Crippa between them) are all about refined, seasonal dishes in a convivial, minimalist setting. Walking in off those old cobblestoned streets is a contrast from old and new and the design features and lighting stand out right away - here, your cutlery is built into the specially designed high top tables which always make for a great conversation starter! You can choose to dine from the menu or a 5-course degustation (where you select two starters, a first and second course and dessert) for 50 euro. The menu changes frequently but think squid and wild boar tartare for entree and first courses like blueberry and veal shank risotto or sea eel and fennel tortellini. On the main course list, you'll find anything from cuttlefish to pork to pigeon. Dessert is a decadent affair too with an almond, licorice and raisin delight or heartwarming chocolate and salted caramel treat. The wine list is extensive and the staff is super knowledgeable and friendly. Open daily for lunch and dinner. BUS: 64, 70, 85.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Cutting edge, innovative dining at its very best in a city obsessed with tradition.
Maria's expert tip: Look for your cutlery in a cute drawer built into the custom design tables and try their new 20 bites menu (taste the whole menu in a sitting!)