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Cucina Romana: The Best of Roman Cuisine in Rome



We're always on the lookout for Rome's best restaurants, and while we appreciate places that have a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in local cuisine. And roman cuisine doesn't disappoint. Roman cuisine is not fancy or refined, but like with many things in life, what may seem simple is often in fact, difficult to achieve. While you can find classic Roman dishes like carbonara (pasta served with egg and guanciale - pork cheek) or cacio e pepe (pasta served with a delicious pecorino cheese and black pepper sauce) on just about every corner in the city, it doesn't mean it's good quality or even authentic for that matter.

You need to know where to go in Rome to eat well and this 10Best list has got you covered. When we're in the mood for cucina romana Roman food in Rome, we head to Da Enzo in Trastevere - a locals' favorite - or we count on Flavio al Velavevodetto's solid track record and consistently great roman dishes. When it's roman style pizza (thin and crispy, almost charred!) we're on the hunt for, Da Remo or Ai Marmi are our picks. And for something different, Il Bar Sotto il Mare in the Prati district is an old-fashioned fish trattoria. Yes - Rome is close to the sea and the Romans know how to serve up amazing seafood as well.  

You'll find these places - and any of the restaurants on our list - to be fantastic options for Roman cuisine. Happy dining!


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One of the best kosher restaurants of Rome's Jewish Ghetto, the walls here are frescoed with images depicting the area's fascinating history. Some say the high volume of visitors has compromised the quality, but this is as typical as Jewish Roman cuisine gets, which is notably distinct to other traditional Jewish cooking. Be sure to try the deep fried artichokes (fried for a grand 20 minutes) and fried stuffed zucchini flowers. Obviously classic Roman dishes like carbonara and amatriciana are prepared kosher-style and the gnocchi alla romana (made with semolina), baked in a clay pot until golden are delicious. BUS: 87, 23. TRAM: 8

Recommended for Roman because: Nonna Betta is your go-to in Rome for roman-jewish style cuisine.

Maria's expert tip: The fritti (fried starters) are especially good, in particularly the Jewish-style fried artichokes (seasonal).

Read more about Nonna Betta →


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Portuense/Gianicolense/Monteverd


La Gatta Mangiona is located in the Monteverde neighbourhood, completely away from the historical center and tourist area but close enough and easy to reach. Most of the clientele are locals here and you will truly feel you've ticked 'authentic local experience' off your Rome to-do list. The fritti including the fried zucchini flowers and potato croquettes are delicious and the daily specials for pizza change daily with inventive and seasonal combinations like edible flowers, pancetta and ricotta, plus all your classic Roman pizza topppings. Desserts are all home made and the pannacotta with fresh strawberries is divine. TRAM: 8

Recommended for Roman because: A neighborhood pizzeria that is not too far from the historical center with out of this world pizza.

Maria's expert tip: If you decide you're ordering to share, let your wait staff know. They always kindly cut and portion your pizza accordingly.

Read more about La Gatta Mangiona →




No paper menu, fantastic food and typically Roman service defines this no frills trattoria in the heart of the Garbatella district. The service is typically Roman - which means if you're expecting formal and refined, you're probably at the wrong place, daresay, wrong city. The menu is based on what is seasonal and what produce has arrived fresh, so in fact, there is no menu and your waiter will stand at your table for a minute or so, distractedly telling you what's to eat. If available, try the maltagliatti (pasta which translates literally to off-cuts) with pork sausage and porcini mushrooms. Roman cuisine at its best. METRO: Garbatlla.

Recommended for Roman because: A Tanto pe Magna, you'll find some of the most authentic roman cuisine in the city.

Maria's expert tip: Be sure to call ahead to reserve a table, especially on weekends.

Read more about Tanto pe Magna →


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This popular pizzeria located in the cuore of Trastevere is one of the best when it comes to serving up that perfect Roman pizza: light, thin and crispy crust. It's extremely sought after not only by tourists but by locals themselves. For years, Romans have been calling this pizza joint "l'obitorio" (the morgue) and "ai marmi" because of its characteristic long marble table tops. Aside from the pizza being so good, locals also come here to devour their famous suppl� and fritti as appetizers. Their pizza is certainly not the cheapest by any means, but is absolutely reliable and consistent. Rest assured, your pizza will be cooked to perfection every single time. TRAM: 8. BUS: H.

Recommended for Roman because: The pizza at Ai Marmi, this Trastevere locals hangout, just never disappoints.

Maria's expert tip: While you wait for your pizza, make sure to order their famous fiori di zucca (anchovy and mozzarella stuffed zucchini flowers) and olive ascolane (fried olives stuffed with meat).

Read more about Panattoni (Ai Marmi) →




Located in the heart of the working class district of Testaccio, Remo's pizza is pretty hard to top. This pizza place is most famous for its paper thin(literally) pizza. Menus don't exactly exist here, so be prepared to have in mind what kind of toppings you'll pick out for your pizza. A waiter will come around with a scorecard of sorts where you will check off the ingredients for pizza pie and other items to go along with your dinner order. Outdoor tables available, but expect to wait in line for a little if you arrive late. BUS: 170, 30. METRO: Piramide

Recommended for Roman because: Da Remo is a Testaccio, if not Rome institution.

Maria's expert tip: Keep it simple. The pizza margherita here is epic.

Read more about Da Remo →




Located in the Prati district, Il Bar Sotto il Mare is a Roman trattoria specialising only in seafood. When you think roman trattoria or cucina romana you probably don't automatically think seafood. Yet, as the owners of this place say – historically, Rome was a port and essentially, Fiumicino and other coastal cities renowned for fish, are not that far away. Step back in time to what seems like someone's house from the 70s at this trattoria located centrally in Rome's Prati district. The menu is extensive and features some 10-12 first courses of seafood pasta – all fresh, all seasonal. Their crudi (raw fish selection) are delicious and the classic dessert of ricotta and pear tart is a winner. METRO: Cipro

Recommended for Roman because: A centrally located option for a seafood dinner or aperitivo.

Maria's expert tip: One of their house specialties is the branzino (seabass) wrapped in lard and stewed in a white wine sauce. I'm dying to go back just for this dish.

Read more about Il Bar Sotto il Mare →


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Portuense/Gianicolense/Monteverd


Take the 8 tram through Trastevere and to the last stop where Da Cesare al Casaletto is just yards away from the tram's terminus. Getting out of the center brings down the price slightly and raises the food's quality. At da Cesare you'll find all of the Roman pastas and meat dishes like beef involtini, rolled beef cooked in tomato sauce, though don't leave without trying some of da Cesare's fried foods, like calamari, baccalà (salted cod) and even fried gnocchi. Though the food is homestyle, the look of the place is less hole-in-the-wall and more open bright space. Make sure to try the panna cotta topped with caramel for dessert. Reservations necessary. TRAM: 8

Recommended for Roman because: Named in all the guidebooks of late as the #1 trattoria in Rome, Cesare al Casaletto never disappoints.

Maria's expert tip: In the evenings and especially on weekends you're unlikely to get a table without a booking, so call way in advance.

Read more about Cesare al Casaletto →




With a perennial presence in Trip Advisor's top 100, you may dine amongst more foreigners than locals, but as one of the city's chief slow food exponents, it's worth following the masses. A family affair, chef Eliana Catalani's husband explains the history of the often-ancient dishes on the menu while her son oversees the wine cellar. Their menu changes regularly featuring the very best of local, organic produce. The building is imbued with history, once housing the oldest synagogue in Rome and with a wine cellar that is around 160 years older than the Colosseum. BUS: 3, 23. TRAM: 8

Recommended for Roman because: Spirito di Vino is one of Rome's best certified Slow Food restaurants.

Maria's expert tip: Following a recipe over 2,000-years-old, the pork shoulder was a favorite of Julius Caesar.

Read more about Spirito di Vino →




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 Roman because: Flavio's continues to maintain it's reputation for one of the best trattorie in Rome.

Maria's expert tip: Don't leave without trying the take on tiramisu made with none other than Nutella.

Read more about Flavio al Velavevodetto →




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 Roman because: Da Enzo is standout in Trastevere not only for quality Roman fare but a wide selection of local wine.

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.

Read more about Da Enzo →


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Meet Maria Pasquale

Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne.

An award winning food and travel writer, in addition to 10Best USA Today she also...  More About Maria

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