Rome’s Eclectic Quarter
The Esquilino neighbourhood of Rome, just south of Termini, is known for many things. What stands out the most is the rich culture and diversity of people that can be seen on a daily basis walking through its streets. Its large selection of multi-ethnic dining options, food markets, public transit, and historical and shopping sites make it a part of Rome tourists shouldn’t overlook. This central neighbourhood bordered by Monti, Pigneto, and San Giovanni, to name a few, is a central mark in Rome, just walking distance from the city center. The plethora of churches, streets, and squares within Esquilino itself is enough to keep one busy and those that work this neighbourhood’s shops and restaurants keep visitors entertained days on end.
HOTSPOTS in ESQUILINO
Radisson Blu Es Hotel
Via Filippo Turati, 171
There isn’t a lack of entertainment available at the Radisson Blu Es Hotel with their rooftop bar and pool (open from May to September) complete with an aperitivo and DJ – a trip here can easily be turned into an all day or night event with family or friends. The seven-set restaurant, which officially opens on 7/5, will be having their outside events to entertain during the warm, summer months. Even for a relaxing day, pamper yourself at the on-site spa with plenty of massage options and treatments at your fingertips. Enjoy a taste of Italy at the two restaurants, Zest & Sette offering unmatched seafood and gourmet dishes with the some of the best views in the city.
Via Principe Amedeo, 257
This hostel, newly opened since September 2016, was originally built as a residential building in the 1900’s. Now, a hostel with 75 rooms holding 174 guests, it’s the perfect place to meet for drinks and bites. The rooftop terrace, situated on the 7th floor, provides its guests and visitors with some amazing skyline views of Rome, the perfect setting for an early morning cappuccino or evening aperitivo with friends. But the social spaces at Generator don’t stop here. There’s also an inside cafe and bar/lounge near the open lobby area providing guests with even more options for casual get-togethers. The bright and airy cafe is welcoming for all and in the evenings, changes to an a la carte menu with bespoke coffee service.
Roma Termini, Via Giovanni Giolitti, 36
Open Sun-Sat, 8am-12am
Mercato Centrale, newly opened as of October 2016, has become the go-to spot for foodies. There was no better place to have Mercato Centrale than Rome’s own Termini Station, right in the heart of the Esquilino neighborhood, a place where both weary travelers and locals can eat well. Mercato Centrale is a one stop shop for all tastes and food needs – here you can find everything from sweets, to pizza, to vegan meals, and more. While the first floor is perfect for casual dining, the second floor is used to house special events and culinary experiences. Upstairs you’ll find acclaimed chef Oliver Glowig’s restaurant La Tavola, il Vino, e la Dispensa, which features Roman dishes revisited. There are also products available to purchase to take home and replicate Glowig’s dishes.
Via Giovanni Giolitti, 263
Open Mon-Sat 9am-7.30pm; closed Sundays
A true music lover’s oasis, this record store is full of albums, CDs, and books in which you’ll find all types of genres and categories. The specialized and experienced staff will be sure to help you in searching for whatever you need. Their reasonable prices are also worth stopping by to browse.
Sitenne Vintage Store
Via Petrarca, 1
Tuesday – Friday from 10.30am – 7.30pm; Saturday from 11am – 8.30pm
Nestled along one of Esquilino’s late 19th century streets, vintage clothing shop and costume lab Sitenne awaits those who seek treasure troves of retro-ware, wool, leather, jewelry and lace or just a place to browse and soak it all up in a warm and cozy environment.
RESTAURANTS / EATING in ESQUILINO
Via di San Vito, 13
Open Tues-Sat, 1pm-2:45pm, 8pm-10.45pm; Sun 1pm-2.45pm;
Come indulge in this sophisticated Italian restaurant owned by two Italian brothers. Highly recommended by locals, the eatery’s best-loved recipes are its egg custard and truffle dishes in particular. The traditional and authentic feel and taste of the restaurant will have you come back time and time again. But make sure to book a table in advance as seating is limited.
Centro Restaurant & Pasta Lab
via Cavour, 61 (Termini)
Daily 8.30am – 12am
Handmade tonnarelli, ravioli, gnocchi … it seems like every carbohydrate lover’s dream, but it’s actually daily routine at Centro, the pasta lab in the Esquilino neighbourhood. From breakfast and lunch to aperitivo and dinner, Centro offers tasty dishes. The day kicks off at 8.30am with a rich intercontinental breakfast as well as an Italian breakfast with artisanal cornetti, bread with jam and butter, homemade cakes and centrifuges. For lunch and dinner, an a la carte menu with a variety of dishes strictly tied to seasonal products awaits you.
Via Foscolo, 13
Open daily 12pm-3.30pm, 7pm-12am
With Esquilino being one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Rome, it comes as no surprise that one of the best Indian restaurants in the city is situated right next to Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. This is the perfect spot if you’re craving a break from pasta, pizza, and other carbs: indulge in their wide selection of Northern and Southern Indian meat, fish, and vegetarian dishes in a warm, and inviting environment.
Via Mecenate, 19-21
Open Thur-Tues 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-11pm; closed Wednesdays
A great place to get a taste of many rustic Roman specialties, such as trippa, coratella, and pajata to name a few. Perfect for family style dining to try multiple different dishes. The seafood pasta is quite a popular choice on the menu. And despite their offal offerings mentioned above, there are surprisingly great options for veggie eaters as well.
Trattoria Vecchia Roma
Via Ferruccio, 12B
Open Mon-Sat, 12pm-3pm, 7pm-11pm; closed Sundays
There is a reason why tourists and locals alike come here time and time again. They serve up fantastic cucina romana including their legendary bucatini all’amatriciana. This family owned restaurant has kept the traditions running for decades and it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon. As the saying goes, come hungry, leave happy!
Hang Zhou da Sonia
Via Principe Eugenio, 82
Open daily, 12pm-3pm; 7pm-11.30pm
There is no better place for this unique Chinese dining restaurant than in Esquilino itself, as the neighborhood is often nicknamed the “Chinatown” of Rome with its abundance of diversity. Look no further than Hang Zhou da Sonia to get your Asian food fix, as their extensive menu is enough to satisfy any palate. Sample their dumplings to start, followed by their raved about Sichuan-style spicy chicken.
Via Merulana, 54
Open Mon-Thu, 8am-11pm; Fri-Sat, 8am-12am; Sun 8.30am-4pm
Some rave about their desserts and coffee, others rave about their aperitivo. Either way you have it, Panella is a must when visiting Rome to try traditional Italian pastries, pizza, & coffee. Walking by the restaurant alone is enough to make you want to stop in – their extremely tempting display of sweets gets their customers every time.
Gelateria Fassi: Palazzo del Freddo
What’s a neighborhood without a go-to gelato place? This gelateria, open since the mid 1860’s, has been a staple for many either visiting or living in Rome. The value for the exchange of gelato is well worth the trip to Esquilino. Unlike many gelaterias, Palazzo del Freddo has plenty of seating for everyone.
Via dello Statuto, 60
Open Mon, Wed-Sun 6.30am-8.30pm; closed Tuesdays
Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, stopping by Regoli for a pastry is an absolute must. Choose from a variety of cream filled pastry puffs, crostatine (jam tartlets), biscotti, and other delicious Roman sweets.
BARS / DRINKING in ESQUILINO
Via Machiavelli, 23
Open Sun-Sat, 12pm-2am
This industrial style loft lounge is a great place to get together with friends over cocktails or wine. The casual ambience and laid-back scenery provides an ideal spot for pre-dinner drinks or an afternoon spritz.
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 106
Open Sun-Thur, 7am-12am; Fri-Sat 7am-2am
Facebook Page: gatsbycafe
This cafe, formerly a hat shop and converted into a 3-story coffee shop, boasts a unique ambience compared to other locales in Rome. Inspired by Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, The decor alone – ornate wallpaper and vintage furniture – will make you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time. Try their cocktails, coffee, or panini.
MARKET & SIGHTSEEING
Via Filippo Turati, 160
Open Mon, Wed, Thurs 5am-3pm; Tues, Fri, Sat 5am-5pm; closed Sundays
Mercato Esquilino is an expat’s best friend: often times, produce that can be found here is unique to this market and maybe hard to find elsewhere in Rome. This food market is also well known for their vast variety of spices from all over the world and is also a great place to snag Italy’s fresh produce, fish, and meat. Even if there isn’t anything on your shopping list, it’s worth the visit just for the experience.
Basilica de Santa Maria Maggiore
Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore, 42
The Basilica de Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest Catholic Marion church in Rome. Its construction began in 435 AD, and it features a blend of baroque, Romanesque, and medieval architecture. With its rich history and grand interior, it will be sure to impress many as they make their way through its doors.