Guide to Rome’s Prati neighbourhood
Known for its wide, sweeping avenues, elegant buildings, and modern European charm, Prati has a distinct personality and a style reminiscent more of quartier in Paris than a former marshland in Rome. Its convenient location (above the Vatican and across the Tiber), high-end shopping street and cool restaurants make it the Roman’s best-kept secret.
Often referred to as the “white-collar” neighborhood, Prati also doubles as a residential zone for upper class Romans. Its organized grid layout and elegant “Art Nouveau” and “Umbertino” style give it a unique personality. During the weekday, Prati serves as Rome’s corporate hub, the fast-paced stomping ground for business-oriented professionals. In addition to the enormous Palazzo di Giustizia in Piazza Cavour that houses the Supreme Court, Prati’s two tribunal courts make it the hot spot for lawyers. When the sun goes down and the workweek comes to a close, businesses pump the breaks and the social scene comes alive. Wine bars, live music venues and international and classic Roman restaurants are spread throughout the neighborhood and are mostly frequented by local Italians.
The neighborhood’s major attraction; however, is by far the extensive shopping street devoid of tourists, Cola di Rienzo, named after a Roman senator and nobleman. A less-crowded version of via del Corso, Cola di Rienzo is lined with many high-end and affordable International and Italian brands. The long stretch of shops has its fair share of major labels, and is home to the Coin Excelsior department store. Off of the main avenue, cool restaurants with sidewalk seating offer the perfect place for weary shoppers to take a break (in Rome we call this a 3 hour lunch) or call it a day at a wine bar. Unlike the cramped center and its dreaded “Varco Attivo,” Prati’s spacious streets offers more options for groups of friends to hang out on the weekend.
Remarkably, it is one of the few neighbourhoods that has not yet been over run by tourists. Whether it’s because the Vatican steals its thunder, or because it doesn’t look like the typical “Rome” pictured on postcards, we can’t say for sure. We can, however, give you the inside scoop on where to eat, shop and what to see when you venture to the other side of the Tiber. [By: Margaux Macneil]
EATING IN PRATI
Fratelli De Luca
Via Silla, 38
Mon – Fri 8.30am – 6.30pm, Sat 10am – 6.30pm
With summer right around the corner, there’s no better time to indulge in yummy and healthy treats. I’m talking about smoothies, fresh salads and Mediterranean flavors. And that’s exactly what you get at Fratelli de Luca – Prati’s hippest salad and juice bar! Pop right in, choose among their fresh sandwiches, order a salad or create your own from their selection of delicious ingredients. My favorite? The croccante al salmone with sunflower seeds, fennel, lettuce and smoked Scottish salmon.
Via Crescenzio, 52
Daily 12pm – 3pm, 7pm – 1am
Take a walk along Via Crescenzio all hours of the day and you’ll find this little cozy joint is always busy. What’s their secret? They have something we all go crazy for: great burgers! But that’s to be expected when your meat comes from the famous Macellerie Buccioni. They also have a great friendly staff and their fries are truly something. I haven’t tried the cheesecake myself but rumor has it, it’s to die for…
Via della Meloria, 43
Daily 11am – 10pm
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And if you’re planning on indulging in pizza, you need to get yourself to Pizzarium, owned by the widely acclaimed Gabriele Bonci – Rome’s most famous pizzaiolo. This pizza place makes one of the best pizza al taglio in Rome. Toppings change regularly, but tend to be very creative and piled on generously to create intense flavors. But do not despair: their classic recipes, as well as their excellent suppli, are available year-round!
Via degli Scipioni, 243
Daily 1pm – 2.30pm, 8pm – 11pm
Two different dining formulas and a sleek and contemporary design is what you get at this trendy Japanese restaurant. Sit at the sushi-go-round Sushi Bar or in the beautiful restaurant to embark on a Japanese culinary journey. The sushi and sashimi are a guarantee; you’ll only find top quality fish cuts that will literally melt in your mouth. If you’re a sushi boat fan, definitely go with the Chef boat, composed of an amazing selection of raw fish: from red shrimp and prawns to oysters and sea urchins.
Via Crescenzio, 56
Daily 12pm – 3pm, 7pm – 12am
Step inside Porto to be transported to the Italian seaside. Fresh seafood and a creative menu is what you get at this restaurant, but the chef stays true to Italian tradition! Stop by for dinner to taste their yummy cacio e pepe with shrimp and lime, or come by for lunch to indulge in their rich buffet!
Gelateria dei Gracchi
Via dei Gracchi, 272
Sun – Thur 12pm – 12am, Fri – Sat 12pm – 12.30am
Skip the tourist traps around St. Peter’s Basilica and Piazza del Popolo, and make a beeline for Gelateria dei Gracchi, consistently rated as one of the top gelato spots in the city. Gracchi’s flavors faithfully follow the seasons, and range from apple and mint, to rum spiked chocolate, to sweet melone, or cantaloupe. Our favorite flavors? The pear and caramel. Sweet, sharp, and smooth all at the same time, and the pistachio, laced with toasted, Bronte nuts.
Via Vittoria Colonna, 17/19
Tue – Sun 11.30pm – 3.30pm, 7pm – 11.45pm
Sambamaki is a hip and happening spot that doubles as a sakeria and temakeria. Although it still has the funky décor and Portuguese music that are staples of every Brazilian sushi spot, Sambamaki’s menu makes it stand out. You can’t go wrong with any of the dishes, but definitely try the flaming gunkan (literally served on fire). One look at the drink menu and the term “sakeria” takes on a whole new meaning: traditional cocktails such as Juleps, Negroni, and even Cairpirinhas are all made with sakè.
Le Carré Français
Via Vittoria Colonna, 30
Mon – Fri 7am – 11.30pm, Sat – Sun 8am – 11.30pm
Those Parisian dreams where you wake up in Paris and start your day with a croissant, a coffee and a French pastry can now become a reality. Well, at least in part. If you’re a lover of all-things France, this restaurant and café that doubles as a gourmet grocery store will become your home away from home. Whether it’s to pick up some French delicacies (Foie Gras, baguettes, pain au chocolat) or to indulge in their French cuisine with a glass of French red, Le Carré Français is always the perfect spot year-round.
Via Monte Santo, 64
Daily 9am – 2am
Tucked away in via Monte Santo, a stone’s throw away from Piazza Mazzini, you’ll stumble upon a refined Parisian Belle Epoque style restaurant that pays special attention to detail. From the Art Nouveau pieces to the furniture and stylish design, Madeleine is an amazing salon de gastronomie.
Via Fabio Massimo, 68
Mon – Fri 6pm – 11.45pm, Sat 12.3ppm – 11.45pm, Sun 12.30pm – 2.3opm & 6pm -11.45pm
With Sinatra, the Mancini family celebrates their culinary love story. How to describe it? A magnet for foodies. From appetisers to desserts, the Chefs deliver. Absolutely try their Roman pasta dishes such as carbonara and cacio e pepe. Other A-listers are the their tagliatelle with white ragù and the Danish filet. Heavenly.
Viale Germanico, 186
Mon – Fri 12.30pm – 3.30pm, Mon – Sun 7pm – 12.30am
A meat lover’s paradise awaits you in the heart of Prati. Beef Bazaar is a restaurant that puts a dynamic spin on the carnivorous menu, recalling flavors from Argentina and America. The concept extends to an international level and embraces meat from all over the world. Some of the top cuts served include the Manzetta Prussiana, the Kobe Beef and the famous American Black Angus. If you want to keep it classic, there is also a long list of gourmet hamburgers.
Via Emilio Faà di Bruno, 63
Tue – Sun 12.30pm – 3pm, 6pm – 1am
Come by this new seafood restaurant and fish bar for aperitivo to taste their top-notch selection of seafood crudité paired with a twist on classic cocktails. Or better yet, stay for dinner to savour their creative menu. From ceviches and tartares to pastas and fish burgers, there’s something tasty for any palate. The must-try dish? The “Rosso di Mazara”: a datterino tomato and ginger soup with fresh burrata, caramelized lime zest and black vanilla salt flakes topped with red shrimp. The only problem? It leaves you craving for more.
Via Candia, 113
Tue – Sun 11am – 11pm
If you’re craving some comfort food that comes from the other side of the world, this new gourmet fast food burrito and nacho place is the place to go! Frozen margaritas, crunchy nachos, ensaladas and flavor-packed burritos with the best homemade sauces and fillings await you. It almost feels like I’m back in Texas eating authentic Tex-Mex cuisine. Except I’m not in Texas – nor in Mexico – I’m in Rome, just footsteps from the Vatican Museums!
Cacio e Pepe
Via Giuseppe Avezzana, 11
Mon – Sat 12.30pm – 3pm, Mon – Fri 7.30pm – 11.30pm
If you’re on the hunt for a traditional style trattoria, buckle up, Cacio e Pepe is the ultimate experience in the Prati neighborhood. As the name suggests, the creamy cacio e pepe pasta is their forte. But it doesn’t stop there: from carbonara to amatriciana, all Roman fare at his bustling neighborhood trattoria is top-notch! Embrace the Roman way of life, taste traditional dishes and accompany them with Cacio e Pepe’s house wine! You’ll have both a memorable dining and life experience, on a budget!
DRINKING IN PRATI
via Ostia, 9
Daily 8.30pm – 1.30am
Just a few streets away from the Ottaviano metro sits Rome’s oldest jazz club – Alexanderplatz – a down to earth venue which wouldn’t be out of place in New York’s Greenwich Village. Many of the most prominent jazz, blues and soul music artists have performed at Alexanderplatz, including Wynton Marsalis, Brad Meldhau, Red Rodney and Freddy Cole. Founded in 1984, this jazz club hosts daily live concerts from 9pm accompanied by dinner and a concise list of drinks. Check out their program for the full calendar.
Via Crescenzio, 84
Mon – Fri 7.30am – 2am, Sat – Sun 8am – 2am
La Zanzara is perfect for an early evening soiree. Pop by this stylish restaurant and bar for aperitivo to indulge in this amazing Italian ritual. From finger food to small tasting plates, there’s a lot to order from the menu. Definitely don’t miss out on their zucchini flower tempura! But there’s one thing that beats the food, it’s their drinks! With some exemplary bar skills, it’s no wonder La Zanzara is a go-to for after-dinner drinks. The best place to sit? Their outdoor area!
Via Properzio, 31
Mon – Fri 7.30am – 1am, Sat 9am – 1am
From breakfast to dinner and drinks, this shabby-chic locale is the ideal neighborhood retreat for any time of the day. But no one beats Il Sorpasso for aperitivo, where a heavenly selection of Italian and Spanish cured meats and hand-cut prosciuttos await you. If you’re a wine lover, you’re in the right place: wines are their forte, with a good selection of wines by the glass. Once you try this place, it’s no doubt you’ll become a regular
Via Crescenzio, 82/a
Daily 6pm – 2am
Fonclea has developed a strong profile on Rome’s music scene and is now well known for its consistently exciting program. Since 1977, this restaurant and pub features a broad range of musical acts. Rock, jazz, Latin-American, Folk, and Bluegrass are just a few of the many options. Serving drinks and Italian and American-style dishes, the music line-up has something to offer everyone, every night.
Via Pomponio Leto, 10
Mon – Fri 10am – 2am, Sat – Sun 6pm – 2am
Footsteps from Piazza Risorgimento, you’ll find that Passaguai is very much like its sister bar Sorpasso. It’s a cozy enoteca and restaurant perfect from lunch to aperitivo, dinner and drinks. Step inside to indulge in delicious cured meats and cheese platters, or stop by for dinner to taste their yummy parmigiana. But the one thing that can’t be missing each time you visit Passaguai is a glass of wine. That’s right, they have an excellent wine selection, and it shouldn’t go to waste!
Via Cicerone, 25
Mon – Sat 6.45am – 2am, Sun 4pm – 2am
A stone’s throw away from the iconic Piazza Cavour awaits you one of the coolest decors in town. And for anyone who’s been here, you know I’m talking about Lumiere. Step inside this café-restaurant-bar to find yourself under a ceiling filled with colorful lamp heads. Bright pinks, blues and greens, there’s a shade of every color at Lumiere. Stop by for lunch, dinner or aperitivo, but definitely don’t’ miss out on after-dinner drinks. What to order? A glass of wine or the unmissable Hugo.
Via degli Ombrellari, 25
Tue – Fri 11am – 2am
Art, dinner, drinks, and leisure are just around the corner from the Vatican. Vintage finds, bohemian Roman style décor, a library of books and pop culture references will certainly appeal to your senses. Odes to Fellini, Bukowski and even Star Wars, are carefully placed throughout while art shows grace the walls. The highlight? Bukowski Bar offers 12 different kinds of spritz! And wine lovers, go for the good stuff with Bukowski’s wine selection of Italy’s tastiest.
Via Crescenzio 91 C
Mon-Thur 7pm – 1am, Fri-Sat 7pm – 2am, Sun 6pm-12..30pm
Step inside this “living room” in Prati to immerse yourself in colors, installations and furnishings decorated in an equatorial flavor. It’s the perfect place for aperitivo with classic drinks, cocktails with a twist and great international kitchen bites to accompany your aperitif.
Via Giovanni Vitelleschi, 34
Daily 10am – 1am
This beautiful rooftop terrace with a stunning panoramic view of Rome and St. Peter’s Basilica will do the trick any night of the week. Relax on couches or under their spacious umbrellas and enjoy a cocktail alongside an array of delectable finger foods. When’s the best time to go? In the evening, where you can enjoy the cool breeze above the tumult of the city below, sip a cocktail and watch the sun’s last rays warm the ancient stones of the Eternal City.
L’Osteria di Birra di Borgo
via Silla, 26
Daily 12pm – 2am
For many countries, beer is an essential at the table, and Italy – the home of wine – is starting to catch up. If you’re a beer lover, L’Osteria di Birra di Borgo, is just the place you need. The modern space integrates a small brewery with a capacity of 350 liters which feed into some of the 24 beer taps that line the bar. Be sure to give their Ducale a try, a strong Belgian ale with an autumnal flavor and hazelnut notes.