As far as foodie destinations go, few places come close to Italy; it’s a nation dedicated to making life delicious. When visiting the birthplace of so many global favorites, it’s easy to find your fill of pizza, pasta, and gelato, but it’s worth traveling the entire length of the boot to try each region’s own delicacy.
In the capital city of Rome, you’ll feast on amatriciana and carbonara pastas and carciofi (artichokes) cooked in olive oil, garlic, and white wine. You’ll also find a sampling of all the best dishes across the nation, if you know where to look.
“What I love about Italian food is the simplicity of the ingredients that bring out so much flavor,” Simone Amorico, CEO of Access Italy, a luxury tour provider in Italy beloved by the likes of Oprah and the Obamas, told Travel + Leisure. “The outdoor dining always creates a romantic and enjoyable setting, even in the most casual restaurants.”
As for his personal favorites to try on your next Roman holiday, Amorico suggests a heaping plate of cacio e pepe and the aforementioned carbonara or amatriciana and meatballs, all of which are made with the fresh and simple ingredients he craves.
“On the other hand,” he added, “Rome offers the freshest fish and seafood in the world that most people don’t know about. From the coast of Lazio, the freshest and most tasty fish and seafood come from San Felice Circeo and Ponza.”
Want to know exactly where to find these dishes? Keep scrolling to find out more about Amorico’s favorite restaurants in Rome.
Pierluigi, founded by its namesake Umberto Pierluigi, has been serving Italian delights since 1938. Over the years, the restaurant has updated its menu to reflect the changing tastes of Italy, while maintaining an authentic charm all its own. Amorico suggests digging into its seafood specialties like its seafood platter (meant for sharing) or lighter dishes like its catalana di gamberi “Pierluigi,” a steamed prawn salad with rucola, cherry tomato, potato, olive oil, and lemon.
Taverna Trilussa is the place to go for an Italian meal just like your grandparents, great grandparents, and generations before them made. According to Amorico, this is where you’ll find the “best Roman dishes,” including decadent pasta served right in the pan. While there, dig into a plate of ravioli made from scratch, gnocchi smothered in buffalo mozzarella, and fettuccine with fresh parmigiano.
Osteria Da Francesco Roma
If you’re looking to dig into a bite of local meats, Osteria Da Francesco Roma is here to deliver on some of the best Rome has to offer. The restaurant has been crafting some of the finest meals in the nation since 1957, including beef meatballs with black truffle, veal escalopes with ham and sage, and locally sourced lamb chops.
Another generations-old restaurant to try is Dal Bolognese. The eatery has been cooking up a storm for three generations, who’ve each added their own touch to the divine menu. The kitchen whips up the most popular Emilian bites of pasta and selected meats, including classic tagliatelle bolognese, fusilli with mullet ragout, and spaghetti with red prawns. There are plenty of vegetarian and pescatarian dishes on the menu, too.
Ready for a date night or a treat meal? Head to Tullio, a traditional Italian eatery that Amorico loves for its “Tuscan twist.” The upscale eatery has long been a favorite of the Italian elite, as well as A-list travelers from around the globe. Indulge in a plate of tagliolini with white truffles, or a massive t-bone steak for a luxurious evening out.
Enzo al 29
When you’re in the mood for a more casual atmosphere, Amorico suggests Enzo al 29. The spot, he explained, is “a very casual Roman eatery in Trastevere,” one of Rome’s best neighborhoods for mingling over a long meal. Here, you’ll find simple but genuine Italian cooking with plates of pasta with homemade sauces and locally sourced cheeses and meats.
For a younger, hipper vibe, head to one of Amorico’s preferred contemporary destinations, II Marchese. While this restaurant may not have the lengthy history of the others on this list, it still competes thanks to its thoughtful menu of local favorites. Pull up a chair and order from every section of the menu, including bruschetta with smoked buffalo mozzarella and puntarelle chicory in Roman sauce, and risotto with kale cream, yellowtail tartare, and sea urchins on top for good measure.