From al dente carbonara and coda alla vaccinara, to suppli and fried zucchini- there’s nothing quite like traditional Roman food. The best places to indulge in traditional Italian cuisine in Rome are, of course, the classic osterie and trattorie Rome famous for. Feast your eyes on a complete guide to the best local Roman restaurants.
No-frills rustic Osterie:
Via dei Vascellari, 29 (Trastevere)
Rustic decor, hefty portions, and efficient service – that is how one could describe the well-oiled machine that is Da Enzo. They know what they’re doing and they do it really well. The menu does not have overwhelming choice – expect classic pasta dishes and meat dishes, with daily specials of traditional recipes, as well as authentic desserts (the crostata di visciole is divine.) It’s a bit chaotic, and is always packed but if you’re looking for a typical osteria and you’re on a modest budget – this is the place.
Piazza dei Ponziani, 7 (Trastevere)
Bigger than Da Enzo, but still as hectic and bustling. You have all the classic primi: gricia, amatriciana, carbonara as well as the traditional selection of secondi. Opening up onto a quaint little piazza, Da Teo is the ideal trattoria for outdoor lunching.
Piazza Dè Renzi, 15 (Trastevere)
If you’ve ever been to this beautiful little piazza, you may have noticed several large communal tables and a crowd of people waiting for tables. That’s because this trattoria is known and beloved by locals and tourists alike for serving up no-nonsense Roman cuisine. Just like its rustic, no-frills counterparts, Da Augusto is bustling, crowded and chaotic, and it is worth booking ahead if you don’t want to wait in line, however the food is definitely worth the wait.
Cesare al Casaletto
Via del Casaletto, 45 (Monteverde)
Tucked away in Monteverde, “Da Cesare” as it’s commonly referred to by locals who frequent it, is one Rome’s best kept secrets. The dining room is not particularly beautiful, but you go for the food, and it has been hailed as one of the best. Romans know it well, and go when they have a hankering for their favorite local dish. Book well in advance.
Checco er Carettiere
Via Benedetta, 10 (Trastevere)
Hiding behind Piazza Trilussa, the inconspicuous Checco is made up of two restaurants: the first- a spacious, classic Italian restaurant with linen tablecloths and an encyclopedic wine list; the second, which is accessed by a separate door, a cozy little trattoria with a one-page menu. Both casual Checco and upscale Checco have the same quality food, although the casual trattoria has a much simpler menu.
Via Petrarca, 13 (Esquilino)
It looks small at first glance, but Da Danilo has underground cavern like dining room below that provides this spot with an intimate, romantic ambiance. Expect classic roman dishes, an extensive wine list, and waiters with character, (don’t even think about asking for rigatoni instead of bucatini for your carbonara.)
Via Marmorata, 39 (Testaccio)
Located in Testaccio, Perilli has been around since the early 1900s and is a Roman institution. Simple, elegant, quiet and unpretentious, this trattoria is always filled with families and groups of friends for weekend lunches (highly recommend booking in advance.) The classic Roman primi: carbonara, amatriciana and gricia, as well as the typical secondi: abbacchio al forno and coda alla vaccinara are always prepared with the care and attention that distinguishes Perilli.
Via Giovanni da Empoli, 5 (Ostiense)
While not your typical super-classic Roman restaurant, Trattoria Pennestri is definitely the place to go for an incredible contemporary Roman dining experience. A cozy locale where you can taste delicious Roman dishes with a twist. Try the pasta e fagioli to be pleasantly surprised. And to accompany your meal, browse through their wine list offering more than 60 Italian wines.
Via di S. Nicola da Tolentino, 26 (Barberini)
Located near Piazza Barberini, Da Tullio is the big spacious Italian restaurant with a more urban, modern feel. Although Tullio does the traditional roman dishes well, it’s the steak tartare, and updated versions of fish dishes, that set it apart from the more traditional restaurants.
Via Mastro Giorgio, 29 (Testaccio)
Now gentrified chic local Roman hotspot, Felice’s menu boasts classic roman dishes, with daily specials based on Roman tradition “giovedi gnocchi, venerdi pesce” etc. The sleek, modern dining room attracts a younger, more showy crowd than the classic osteria, and you have to book in advance.
Armando al Pantheon
Salita dei Crescenzi, 31 (Pantheon)
The ultimate roman experience: classic Italian cuisine, right next to the pantheon. Although it is not without the usual crowd of tourists, Armando is known by locals for doing the classic Roman cuisine justice.