Rome is famous for its food, and with good reason. No matter where you go in the Eternal City you’ll find something delicious to eat, but to avoid tourist traps, immerse yourself in Roman food culture and experience the gastronomic delights that that locals enjoy every day, its wise to exercise a little caution while visiting Rome.
To really get the most out of your trip, stay well away from chain restaurants. Although the Hard Rock Café may offer some tempting cocktails, it will also serve up the same cheeseburgers and nachos that you’ll find at every other tourist destination around the world, and you won’t experience any of Rome’s culinary delicacies at Italian chains like Spizzico either. Aim to try out smaller, local restaurants, and veer away from the city centre if you can to find Italian food served to actual Italians. Instead of picking a large restaurant on a main piazza, head to the side streets and look for establishments where the menu isn’t available in 6 different languages.
Although the city is famous for its pizza and pasta dishes, and they are certainly fantastic, look a little more closely at the menu and you’ll find that Roman food culture goes further than carbohydrates. Artichokes, offal, lamb and seafood are also all popular elements of Roman cuisine, and if you’re willing to try something new, you may find these delicacies even more appetizing than your pasta carbonara.
There are so many great places to eat in this capital city that it’s hard to narrow down the best. For classic family Italian food in a small, intimate setting, try out Alfredo ed Ada in the Piazza Navona area. If you’re after traditional Roman dishes in the Trastevere district, Checco er Carettiere is always a strong choice, while the Jewish influence on Roman food culture can be enjoyed at Giggetto in the old Jewish quarter. For slightly more expensive cuisine with an imaginative twist on classic dishes, your best bet is Agata e Romeo, a chic restaurant with a great wine list in the Esquilino area.