Up-and-coming Ostiense: The eclectic neighbourhood changing things up
Once Rome’s Cinderella, Ostiense is going through a makeover phase that is quickly transforming this district into one of the most dynamic places to live like a local in the Eternal City. Crossed by the historical Via Ostiense (built in Roman times to link the capital with the strategic harbour at Ostia), Ostiense borders the popular working-class areas of Garbatella and Testaccio, two authentic strongholds of A.S. Roma fans. New life has begun to bloom over the last couple of years, thanks to the many fresh restaurants and pubs opening in the area. The finishing jewel on the quarter’s newly fitted crown will be the redevelopment of the huge Mercati Generali surface.
Although more vibrant post-sunset, Ostiense also makes a very unique destination for a day-time walk. Street art is king in this area, with the best works to be found along Via del Porto Fluviale, Via dei Magazzini Generali, and under the railway bridge between Via della Stazione Ostiense and Via Pellegrino Matteucci.
RESTAURANTS / EATING in OSTIENSE
Via del Porto Fluviale, 22
Open daily: 10:30am – 2am
(Friday and Saturday until 3am)
This over-900 m2 space was originally an old industrial hub, but has now been turned into a modern, multifunctional venue. It includes a trattoria and a pizzeria, a lovely courtyard, and an area dedicated to workshops and events Try the lush weekend brunch, the many appetizing cicchetti at the counter (small samples of delicious recipes), or one of the tasting nights.
Ramen Bar Akira
Via Ostiense, 73F
Open daily: 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-11pm
The Japanese entrepreneur, Akira Yoshida, along with two other partners, arrives to Rome and brings the Japanese culinary tradition of Ramen noodle soups to Rome. Prepared with homemade noodles and high quality ingredients, this trendy new locale is sure to satisfy cravings for Eastern cuisine. Taste one of the three Ramen bowls all with a Tonkotsu base.
Piazza di Porta S. Paolo, 6/a
Mon-Saturday, 7.30am-9pm, Sun 8am-4pm
For an all-organic marketplace, this neighbourhood restaurant is serving up some delicious spins on biological and vegan foods inspired by chef Tommaso Maddalena. Stop in for breakfast, with a choice of 5 different bio milks, including cows, rice, oat, almond and soy, for your morning cappuccino and a handmade, palm oil-free pastry. For afternoon and evening eats, try something new with their vegan buffet arrangement, full of choices like fresh salads, vegan meatballs, grains, dips, and a selection of bio wines, bubbles and cocktails.
Via del Gazometro, 38
Open daily: 12:30am – 3pm &
A trattoria and pizzeria with a modern twist, this new venue is decorated as a urban living room and hosts swing dance nights and live music once a month. Delicious cocktails accompany great classics of the Roman cuisine, reinvented with a touch of innovation.
Gelateria La Romana
Via Ostiense, 48
Open daily: 11am – 12am
One of the best ice-cream parlors in Rome, this gelateria opened in 2014 and continues to attract big crowds every day (even in winter). Choose if you want to fill the bottom of your cone with a cascade of white or dark chocolate, and enjoy your treat at one of the tables in this shabby-chic shop. Not a huge gelato fan? Cakes, pastries, crumbles, and crêpes are also available.
Romeow Cat Bistrot
Via Francesco Negri, 15
Open Wed – Sun: 11am – 11:30pm
In the mood for cuddles? Stop by this unique bistrot, and experience the warm welcome of its feline guests. Romeow is the first cat cafè in Rome, and a perfect spot for your merenda (a sweet afternoon snack). Cakes, cookies, muffins and many other healthy and tasty dishes will delight you while you let yourself be spoilt by your new furry friends.
Mercat Bistrot & Old Bar
Via del Gazometro, 44
Open daily: 5pm – 2am
(Thurs – Sat: 5:30pm – 3am)
Refined atmosphere, dim lights, and ’30s jazz make this little bistrot the perfect place to stop for an afternoon break. Besides carrot cakes, cupcakes, crumbles, teas, and fruit smoothies, you can also stay a little longer for the aperitivo or dinner, and even listen to live music.
Via Antonio Pacinotti, 83
Open Tues – Thur: 6.30pm – 12am, Fri – Sat: 6.30pm – 2am, Sun: 6.30pm – 12am
Just at the end of Ponte di Ferro, where there used to be the famous Bibere Bistrot, you will now find Spiazzo, a trendy place that serves delicious pizza with gourmet toppings, created by Fabio e Alessio Mattaccini. Thin, crunchy and absolutely delightful is the pizza served at Spiazzo. Great for lunch, happy hour or dinner.
Via Ostiense, 40a
Open Monday-Thursday 12pm – 11pm, Friday-Saturday 12pm – 12am, Sunday 12pm – 4pm
This up and coming restaurant offers both the convenience of fast food and the sustainability and health of local, all natural ingredients. Choose from a wide selection of choices on their menu, including burgers, rolls, noodles, salads, and even vegan options, all of which are of course fresh and seasonal.
Circonvallazione Ostiense, 201
Open Tues – Sat: 6am – 8pm, Sun: 7am – 8pm
For a suburb neighborhood bakery, this place may be your new go-to. Serving up an array of exquisite sweet and savory baked goods, including breads, pastries, sweet treats, cakes, pies and more. Stop in and choose from their mouthwatering selection, or even put in an order for a custom made sweets that will surely impress your guests at any special event.
Via Pellegrino Matteucci, 20
Open daily: 7pm – 12am
Step into this decadently decorated restaurant that has transformed the ritual of going out to eat into an artform. The decor is modern, yet relaxing with its lush greenery, modern artwork and delightful music. As you sit to enjoy your meal, savour renowned chef, Francesco Bonanni’s refined creations. Try their 4-course tasting menu at only 27 euros per person, for a taste of their seasonal plates, or opt for their delectable a-la-carte menu, either way you surely cannot go wrong.
BARS / DRINKING in OSTIENSE
Via Ostiense, 68
Open daily: 7am – 2am
Undoubtedly the place to go for aperitivo, you will recognize Doppio Zero by the delicious smell of freshly baked pizza and the crowd standing outside (book a table to avoid queuing). This restaurant and wine bar has a stylish design and is a great place to mingle after work or indulge in the lazy mood of a weekend brunch. Cocktails are delicious too and are all made with fresh ingredients.
Via Ostiense, 182
Open daily: 8am – 4am
The core concept of this bar is time: time to enjoy every second of your life, thanks to a food and wine offer which matches each different moment of your day, from breakfast to late night. Sit on the terrace and let the bartender surprise you: craft beers, over 120 different wines, kaleidoscopic cocktails, rum, whiskey, scotch and vodka will make enliven your taste buds.
Via Francesco Negri, 9
Open Tues, Wed and Sun: 5pm – 12am;
Thurs – Sat: 5pm – 1am
FB Page: Ex Mercato Roma
New York style atmosphere and a blend of tradition and modernity characterize this venue. With a selection of craft and tap beers, and more than 70 wines and cocktails made with love and fresh fruit juice or syrup, you will surely find something to tantalize your palate. Accompany your drink with one of the 10 different kinds of meatballs (the house special).
Via Antonio Pacinotti, 83
Open Tues – Sun: 6pm – 2am
FB Page: Stadlin
This cocktail bar and dj-set venue is the true niche location for electronic music lovers. Dark interiors and a very international setting, Städlin is both chic and relaxed at the same time. Don’t miss the Ultrasuoni bar events, much beloved by locals.
ENTERTAINMENT in OSTIENSE
Via Giuseppe Libetta, 13
Thu – Fri – Sat
One of the greatest alternative and electronic clubs in town. An intimate venue, famous for its original vibe and brilliant soundsystem. The cutting edge programming fortified its reputation as one of the most forward-thinking venues in Italy. Thursday: GoaUltrabeat; Friday: Anarchy in the Club; Saturday: Nozoo.
Via degli Argonauti, 16/20
Fri – Sat
Having just celebrated its ten-year anniversary, this club continues to be the centre of the most popular Roman nightlife. Always ahead of the latest trends in music and often also leading the fashion scene in the city, it’s one of the ultimate underground spots in Rome.
Via Giuseppe Libetta, 1
Open Mon – Fri: 10am – 7:30pm
A real heaven for all photography lovers, Officine Fotografiche regularly hosts exhibitions, free lessons, conferences, and workshops, and it also includes a bookshop and a small cafè. It is definitely worth checking the program if you are planning a visit to Ostiense.
Via Ostiense, 5
Open Tues – Fri: 10am – 2am;
Sat – Sun: 4pm – 2am
It doesn’t get much more underground than this! This bookshop/cafè/coworking space is literally at garage level, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t initially see much of this bohemian venue from the road. Theater, cinema, music, design, art and literature are all well represented in the rich calendar of events, so make sure to check it out.
Via Giuseppe Libetta, 19
Tue – Wed: 8pm – 2am, Thur: 8pm – 3am, Fri – Sat: 8pm – 4am, Sun: 8pm – 2am
Vinile is one of those aesthetically beautiful live venues. It’s not just a stage and an open space, it’s an experience. And although the venue is indoors, it happens to be quite spacious even though it does tend to get crowded on the weekends. But whether you find yourself partaking in their cocktail selection or taking a taste of their menu, this club will surely have you coming back for their originality in dishes and live music choices.
Elegance Cafè Jazz Club
Via Francesco Carletti, 5
Open Tues – Sun: 8pm – 2am;
FB Page: Elegance Cafe Jazz Club
Elegance Cafe Jazz Club brings live jazz music, a mixology bar and a high-quality restaurant to the area. Italian and international artists play traditional and contemporary jazz, swing, smooth jazz and latin jazz on a daily basis. The weeks’s regular appointments include “Jazz and the City” on Tuesdays, jam sessions on Wednesdays, the best jazz proposals of the capital on Thursdays, jazz merged with soul and funk on Fridays, premiere concerts on Saturdays and performances of big bands on Sundays.
MUST SEE in OSTIENSE
Via Ostiense, 106
Open Tues – Sun: 9am – 7pm
This museum of Roman antiquities perfectly embodies Ostiense’s will to renew itself, while keeping faithful to its roots. Set in Rome’s first public electricity power plant, it now hosts hundreds of statues and works, which were previously part of the collection of Musei Capitolini.
Basilica San Paolo Fuori le Mura
Piazzale San Paolo, 1
Open daily: 7am – 6.30pm
Majestic and monumental, this grand Basilica will leave you breathless thanks to its sheer beauty. The square and gardens outside are a very popular gathering place for locals: sit on a bench and enjoy the sun, while children and dogs frolic around you. Enter the Basilica, and gold-plated ceilings, statues and the portraits of all Popes from Saint Peter to Francis will tell you the story of this immense shrine of Christianity.
Thanks to the eccentricity of Roman magistrate Gaius Cestius (who built it in 12 BC as his tomb) you now have a unique chance to see an Egyptian-inspired pyramid in Rome, just across the street from the Piramide metro station. The only way to explore the inside is on a guided tour, which you must book in advance (see website for details). If you can’t join a guided tour, check out the Non-Catholic Cemetery just around the corner (entrance from Via Caio Cestio 6), a hidden corner of Rome and resting place of romantic poets Keats and Shelley, as well as other notable figures such as Gramsci, William Story and painter Hendrik Andersen.