Rome — the “Eternal City” — is, of course, known for being one of the world’s most historically important cities. Tucked away amid Rome’s ancient architecture are thousands of incredible cafes, trattorias, and restaurants that dish up everything from Italian classics to inventive modern cuisine and, of course, gelato.
To make building a culinary itinerary easy, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite places to grab a bite throughout Rome. Inspirato Members stay at either Baglioni Hotel Regina or Portrait Roma, voted the top hotel in Rome by Condé Nast Traveler. Plus, Rome is a great addition to a vacation in member-favorite Tuscany, where Inspirato offers a variety of beautiful villas. From any of these luxury properties, these spots are easy to reach.
For all the Roman pasta classics
Flavio al Velavevodetto
Flavio al Velavevodetto may have only opened in 2009, but its atmosphere and décor give it the feel of a long-established institution. The historic feel is only amplified by its location—it’s built into an archaeological site. Visit Flavio’s cavernous dining rooms for all the classic pastas: carbonara, gricia, and amatriciana, each studded with bits of cured pork jowl and liberally dusted with Pecorino Romano cheese. ristorantevelavevodetto.it
For a timeout from pasta
Hop on a bike and pedal to the Via Prenestina in eastern Rome where a converted garage is home to the Ethiopian restaurant Mesob. Owner Kuki Tadese serves family recipes—richly spiced stews and simmered vegetables—on sheets of sourdough flatbread at wicker tables in the traditionally decorated dining room. en.mesob.it
Best Roman style quick bite
Mordi e Vai
At the edge of the Testaccio Market, Sergio Esposito and his wife Mara serve family recipes like simmered beef and stewed tripe on locally baked bread. Although the concept of serving portable versions of Roman classics might not seem innovative, it is a total novelty for Rome and Mordi e Vai perfectly balances the local need for authentic flavors with the demand for a quick, affordable dining option. mordeievai.it
Discover Roman Jewish cooking
Amidst the Jewish quarter’s many mediocre dining options, Nonna Betta dutifully reproduces the delicious dishes that owner Umberto Pavoncello grew up eating just a few buildings away. Nonna Betta serves all the local Jewish classics—fried artichokes, marinated zucchini, anchovy and endive casserole, and ricotta cake—and this is the only place in central Rome where these traditional items are executed with care. nonnabetta.it/en
Al Settimo Gelo
There are more than 2,500 gelato shops in Rome, but singling out the best is easy. Only a handful use all-natural ingredients and Al Settimo Gelo is among this small but important crew. The pistachio, hazelnut, chocolate, almond, and zabaione flavors are extraordinarly rich and creamy on their own, but benefit from pairing. Thankfully, each small cup or cone comes with at least two flavors. alsettimogelo.it
Best Sunday lunch
Tavernaccia da Bruno
You’ll be hard pressed to find a place with nicer staff or more comforting food than this family-run trattoria in Trastevere. Founded in 1968, Tavernaccia da Bruno serves a mix of soulful Roman classics and slow-roasted meats. On Sundays, they also serve a fabulously rich, béchamel-laced lasagna baked in a wood-burning oven. latavernacciaroma.com
Best Roman breakfast
Romans aren’t known for their breakfast culture—a cheap espresso/pastry combo is the standard—but when the historic Roscioli baking family opened this café-pastry shop in central Rome they changed the game by offering coffee made from custom-roasted beans and carefully crafted, butter-based sweets, both a rarity in the Italian capital. rosciolicaffe.com
Where to Eat Offally Roman
Cesare al Casaletto
This neighborhood trattoria, which is known for its delicious fried starters and traditional pastas, is a top spot for offal in Rome, and of course Rome is one of the most offal-loving cities in the world. The rigatoni co’la pajata (pasta with suckling calf intestines), fegatelli di maiale (grilled pig’s liver), and trippa alla romana (tripe stewed with tomatoes, pecorino, and mint) are refined in spite of their humble ingredients, and if you’re not up for an organ recital, the braised oxtail is superb, too. trattoriadacesare.it
Best lunch near the Vatican
Just a few blocks from the Vatican Museum’s entrance, pizzaiolo Gabriele Bonci transforms pizza by the slice, Rome’s ubiquitous fast food, into a gourmet experience. His dough develops exceptional flavors and aromas through slow, cold fermentation and is topped with seasonal produce from biodynamic farms and cheeses and cured meats culled from Italy’s top artisans. Don’t miss a slice of the surprisingly light potato and mozzarella pizza. gbonci.it
Best new style Roman cooking
Francesca Barreca and Marco Baccanelli opened their 10-seat neo-trattoria in Rome’s eastern periphery in 2013. The couple got their start hosting pop-ups and doing performance cooking, but they have settled into restaurant life, teasing Roman flavors into new forms like simmered lamb and pecorino croquettes, or oxtail terrine. thefooders.it/mazzo
The Inspirato portfolio spans more than 175 destinations around the world, allowing foodies to seek out just about any type of cuisine and stay in style while doing so. And with more than 800 vacation options to choose from, any traveler will find something they like. Find out more about Inspirato membership and start planning a vacation today.
These recommendations come from food writer and Rome resident Katie Parla, adapted from an article which originally appeared in the Summer/Fall 2016 issue of Inspirato magazine.