If you are looking for recommendations for a great-value Italian meal in Rome, be it pizza, pasta or anything in-between, who could be better to ask than a local chef. Angelo Preziosi gave us his pick of ten favourite restaurants which guarantee an authentic, delicious experience without extravagant prices.
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
A family-run restaurant tucked away behind the Imperial Forums, La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali has a loyal following of both Romans and tourists. The décor is homely, the ambience is warm, and the menu is stuffed with delicious choices which respect the seasons and the local traditions. There is also a great wine list so ask for recommendations.
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, Via della Madonna dei Monti 9, Rome. Tel: +39 06 679 8643
Flavio al Velavevodetto
Located in the Testaccio neighbourhood and dug into the side of a mountain of ancient Roman amphorae, Flavio’s offers generous portions of classic cucina romana. This is one of the best places to sample local pasta dishes with chef Flavio de Maio’s cacio e pepe (pasta served with pecorino cheese and black pepper) heralded as one of the best in town.
Flavio al Velavevodetto, Via di Monte Testaccio 97, Rome. Tel: +39 06 574 4194
Da Enzo al 29
This tiny trattoria is situated on a picturesque Trastevere backstreet and in the warmer months tables are set up along the cobblestones. Inside there are just a handful of tables and demand is high so be prepared to wait (there is an almost constant line of hungry people outside). The food is hearty, homecooked Roman fare and the carbonara never disappoints. Also check the blackboard for seasonal daily specials.
Da Enzo al 29, Via dei Vascellari 29, Rome. Tel: +39 06 581 2260
Pianostrada recently moved across the Tiber from its previous, cramped location in Trastevere to this, much larger, location near Campo de’ Fiori. The menu runs the gamut from fresh focaccia with top-notch prosciutto to creative burgers, traditional pasta dishes, and meat and fish second courses, all with a keen eye on quality and presentation. Grab a table in the delightful courtyard, one of the prettiest places to dine in Rome.
Pianostrada, Via delle Zoccolette 22, Rome. Tel: +39 06 8957 2296
The sign outside this pizzeria on Trastevere’s main thoroughfare says ‘Panettoni’ but to the locals it is referred to as ‘ai marmi’, referring to the white marble tabletops (some also call it ‘l’obitorio’ or ‘morgue’ for the same reason!). Here the pizza is as Roman as it gets: thin, crispy, slightly charred and usually accompanied by a rowdy rabble of locals.
Ai Marmi, Viale di Trastevere 53, Rome. Tel: +39 06 580 0919
For a more refined pizza experience try Emma, in the heart of the historic centre. The ambience is quiet and stylish, with a modern décor and attentive service. With a light crispy dough and high-quality toppings, which range from classic Margherita to more creative combinations with international ingredients, there is something for every taste.
Emma, Via del Monte della Farina 28, Rome. Tel: +39 06 6476 0475
Chef Luca Sforza’s creative cuisine pays homage to his Umbrian roots, albeit often with an unexpected twist. At this small restaurant in Monti you can sample rich, hearty dishes such as pappardelle with duck livers, goose served with apple and even wild boar in a thick chocolate sauce.
L’Asino d’Oro, Via del Boschetto 73, Rome. Tel: +39 06 4891 3832
Spirito di Vino
As a certified Slow Food restaurant, family-run Spirito di Vino centres on excellent Italian ingredients prepared with the utmost care and respect. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the menu full of intriguing and historical dishes, such as a recipe of pork and apples which dates to the time of Julius Caesar. While you wait for your food take a trip downstairs to marvel at the 80 BC wine cellar.
Spirito di Vino, Via dei Genovesi 31, Rome. Tel: +39 06 589 6689
Situated just around the corner from the tourist trap restaurants overlooking the Colosseum, Li Rioni is a stalwart on the Rome pizza scene. With its slightly kitsch interior laid out like a Roma piazza (complete with shuttered windows, lampposts and terracotta walls) this is the place for great-value, thin-as-you-like Roman-style pizza and fantastic fried appetizers.
Li Rioni, Via dei Santi Quattro 24, Rome. Tel: +39 06 7045 0605
Terre e Domus
With its enviable position right next to the Imperial Forums (featuring an up-close view of Trajan’s Column) Terre e Domus is run by the Provincia di Roma to publicise and celebrate the food and wine of Rome and its surrounding area. The menu rotates regularly, following the seasons, and uses locally produced ingredients including vegetables grown at the nearby prison in Rebbibia. The wines on offer are all made on the outskirts of the city with many natural and biodynamic options.
Terre e Domus, Foro Traiano 82, Rome. Tel: +39 06 6994 0273
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