It's not often you can say you've eaten in an ancient landfill site. Located within Monte Testaccio, this entire hill was created from Romans dumping their amphorae (pots used to store liquids), and the dining room is decorated with these terracotta fragments. Now an institution, their carbonara, amongst other Roman classics, has made it famous amongst gastronomes. Other dishes to try include the cacio e pepe, a pecorino cheese and black pepper speciality and the polpette di bollito (breaded meatballs made with braised meat). The tiramisu is a winner with a secret center surprise. In the summer, book in advance for a table on the romantic patio. METRO: Piramide. BUS: 3, 75
Recommended for Lunch because: Fine roman food, located in a historic location with a view that will surprise.
Maria's expert tip: Don't leave without trying the take on tiramisu made with none other than Nutella.
Brainchild of renowned Neapolitan chef Pietro Parisi and Italian TV actor Luca Capuano, Boccacciello Bistrot brings together passion and food roots in an innovative dining format in Rome's Monti neighborhood. The philosophy here is all about seasonal and organic produce, with ingredients sourced from farmers and other certified Italian slow food operators. Feast on specially crafted and delicious jars (cooked following a traditional method) of regional classics like eggplant parmigiana, meatballs or baccala` (salt cod) with chickpeas - there are about 15 to choose from covering meat, fish and vegetables and even sweets. Add to the mix gourmet sandwiches, cheese and salumi boards and Boccacciello Bistrot is your one-stop option for a wholesome bite on the run or a quick lunch or dinner. The small venue has some bar seating and all jars are available for purchase to take away. METRO: Cavour.
Recommended for Lunch because: Quality food, for a quick and easy lunch on the run.
Maria's expert tip: Don't miss the Gateau di Patate - a delicious potato bake dish traditional to the Campania region.
For traditional cucina romana (Roman cuisine), the best place to go to is Da Enzo. It's literally a hole-in-the-wall with maybe about 10 or 12 tables. 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 peppper)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 Lunch because: This is classic roman trattoria dining at its very best.
Maria's expert tip: Order the creamy burrata cheese and stuffed fried zucchini to start, whatever you want in between and the marscapone mousse with wild strawberries to finish.
This bakery near Campo de' Fiori is a favorite with the locals. Its pizza a taglio, or pizza by the slice, comes out of the oven piping hot and fresh to keep customers happy. The toppings range from a simple margherita (tomato sauce and mozzarella) and rossa (just tomato sauce) to more complicated arrangements like sausage and fiori di zucca. There will be something to please everyone. And if it's something more substantial you're after, then there is a small buffet with local vegetables and sometimes porchetta, or stuffed, roasted pork. Often the small takeaway place gets crowded so ask for your lunch to be wrapped up and take it to nearby Campo or Piazza Farnese where your kids can enjoy eating outside. TRAM: 8 BUS: 30, 40, 62, 64, 70, 87
Recommended for Lunch because: Roscioli has earned its reputation as one of Rome's best bakeries and their pizza proves it time and time again.
Maria's expert tip: Try the pizza rossa - pizza with tomato sauce. It's one of the best in Rome and the kids will love it.
Trapizzino is the home to the 'trapizzino'. Created by award winning Roman pizzamaker Stefano Calegari it is a cross between a sandwich and a pizza - a pizza pocket if you like. Located also in Testaccio, the Ponte Milvio branch is the latest installment to the brand. These delicious pizza pockets are filled with all sorts of goodness from quinto quarto (the roman slang for offal), to chicken cacciatore and traditional meat balls in a rich tomato sauce. Rome's favorite street-food - the suppli (a rice ball fried to golden perfection) are also on the menu. (Ponte Milvio) METRO: Flaminio. BUS: 23 (Testaccio) METRO: Piramide, BUS: 23, 3, 75, 44. (Trastevere) TRAM: 3, 8, BUS: 23, 3, 75.
Recommended for Lunch because: Trapizzino is home to one of Rome's most innovative street-food creations and is a delicious quick and cheap lunch option.
Maria's expert tip: Be sure to try the suppli - the Genovese with slow cooked beef is one of their best!
Clemente Quaglia was born in raised in the Ciociaria area of central Italy's Lazio region (south of Rome). An area which doesn't really have a defined border, nor historical identity. What it does have is a wholesome cuisine based on principles of 'cucina povera' - cuisine of the working class, whereby dishes are traditionally created with the best of what produce is available. Therefore pasta with only water and flour, because throughout history, eggs were seen as luxury; legumes and vegetables from the land. Clemente has taken the dishes of his childhood and immortalised them in a chic and contemporary dining space called Clotilde - named after his mother. The menu has taken the traditions of this old cuisine and modernised them in a way that still honours and respects the principles of Slow Food and prime Lazio produce - from the food to the wine. It's authentic comfort food in a stylish modern dining setting that brings together crystal, cobalt blue, metal and contemporary artwork. The menu by chefs Mattia Chendi e Marco Mezzaroma offers cheese and salumi, entrees like carpaccio of coppa (a cold cut delicacy made with pig's head offal) and meatballs; pasta dishes like 'pataccacce' with red and yellow tomatoes (pasta similar to papardelle and typical to the Ciociaria territory; again, made only with flour and water) and main courses like sausages marinated in wine, cooked to perfection on the grill with slow cooked pork ribs (think 12 hours). Dessert is a real show too, with a black forest delight, a pear and buffalo ricotta cheesecake, and a decadant wine soaked pear to name a few. Vegetarian options are also available. Open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday. METRO: Spagna.
Recommended for Lunch because: Modern setting and a menu that brings some old Lazio classics to the table in a new way.
Maria's expert tip: Be sure to try the poached pears for dessert!
Il Pinsere is a whole-in-the-wall pizza shop located a short distance from Termini station and Piazza della Repubblica. Frequented by locals and people who work in the area, the lunchtime rush is madness but a lot of fun. Unlike most pizza al taglio places in Rome, here you order by the pizza but they round and smaller than your regular pizza. Featuring toppings like zucchini flowers, sundried tomatoes, roasted vegetables, buffalo mozzarella, pork sausage and pancetta, you won't be at all disappointed or hungry afterwards. There is a small bench area outside but it's really made for stand up eating or take away. BUS: 16, 6. METRO: Repubblica.
Recommended for Lunch because: Il Pinsere is located in the Termini station area and perfect for tasty lunch on the run.
Maria's expert tip: If you can, get there by 12 midday before the lunchtime rush, which is madness.
Located at Rome's Termini station, you will be spoilt for choice at Mercato Central, which houses food stalls from some of Rome's most renowned food people. Whether you're looking to buy fresh meat from Rome's best butcher, grab a slice of pizza from the famous Gabriele Bonci or a quick snack from a Michelin-starred chef, Mercato Centrale opens up a world of quality food to those passing through Termini station. Bringing the 'food court' concept into the 21st century, Mercato Centrale will definitely satisfy even the keenest foodie. Metro: Termini
Recommended for Lunch because: A quality food court with something on offer for all tastes and budgets.
Maria's expert tip: There is table service which is often quicker than queuing at the bar.
Gabrielle Bonci has been dubbed the 'Michelangelo of pizza making' and he deserves every accolade. Baker turned pizza magician, he's famed for his experimental toppings (he is said to use 1,500 ingredients per year ranging from melon to licorice) and championing slow-rise dough. This tiny spot features his daily changing pizza by-the-slice creations with their subversively fluffy dough and seasonal toppings. Bonci's bread is made with the same flour and yeast as his pizza and this is available for purchase too. There's also craft beer to provide you with the perfect pairing to the most perfect pizza slice. With a recent renovation, there is (although very limited) now space to sit and eat. METRO: Cipro.
Recommended for Lunch because: Located in the Vatican City area, Pizzarium serves up some of Rome's best pizza by the slice.
Maria's expert tip: Try the local craft beer - your server can help you pick out one to go with your pizza choice.
This hole-in-the-wall take-out joint is a Trastevere institution. Suppl? were the poor man's dish created to recycle old risotto rice, and happily delicious too. While many other places sell bland fried balls in the name of suppli, these are the real thing. Join the queue and don't expect to linger long in indecision. Their pizza al taglio is cooked the old way, is delicious and crispy thin. The mushroom is great but the pizza marinara (fresh tomato and garlic) is the real stand out. They also serve up different pasta dishes each day including the traditional gnocchi with tomato sauce on a Thursday. TRAM: 8, BUS: 75, 3, 23.
Recommended for Lunch because: I Suppli make some of Rome's best street snacks from suppli to fried cod to pizza by the slice.
Maria's expert tip: While the pizza is amazing, if you're in Rome on a Thursday head here for gnocchi. Served with classic tomato sauce, you better get in early for lunch so you don't miss out!