Where the Locals Eat in Rome: The Best Food Stops Recommended by Locals

Where Locals Eat in Rome

Rome is a multicultural city full of amazing must-visit food stops and gastronomic experiences. Whether you’re planning to book a local food tour or just hang out around the city on your own, you need to make some research first. That is why we invited two local Rome foodies, Daniela and Ada, to talk us through their favorite places to eat in Rome. Get ready for some super tasty recommendations and make some notes because you might want to book a flight to Rome right away.

Eat like a local #1: Daniela from The Roman Guy

“The Roman food scene is very exciting but it’s important to avoid tourist traps!”

What are your favorite restaurants, bistros, cafeterias in Rome? Why do you recommend these places?

When it comes to Roman food, my favorites are Tonnarello, Bucavino, and Felice a Testaccio. Andrea Palmieri from Bucavino is one of the chefs who do our Interactive Virtual Cooking Classes. Angelina and Zia are great upmarket options where tradition meets modern food.

Are there any neighborhoods specifically known for the great food scene?
Trastevere and Testaccio – the latter has fewer tourists and a great concentration of good traditional restaurants

Can you list some of the “hidden gems” of Rome food scene that only locals know about?
Dar Filettaro for great battered cod, Remo or la Gatta Mangiona for delicious pizza, Gelateria dei Gracchi for lovely ice cream. Markets such as the Mercato Centrale in Termini, the Cooldiretti Market in Circo Massimo or the Testaccio Market are great spots and offer a great variety of food and ingredients.

Do you prefer street food to restaurants? Or vice versa?
It depends! Street food is delicious, cheap, and convenient when on the move. In the evening, if I am out I prefer to have a proper meal and relax over a delicious carbonara or amatriciana.

How would you describe the Roman food scene? Are there any specialties worth tasting?
A positive effect from the pandemic may be that restaurants have to work harder to attract the locals, and touristy places are going back offering more authentic options. If traveling to Rome, you should try a cacio e pepe, carbonara, gricia and amatriciana. But also the artichoke giudia style and the courgette flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies. And of course, don’t forget the tiramisu!

Rome Food Tips

Eat like a local #2: Ada from Siciliani Creativi

Eating well in Rome is not easy, because there are many tourist places. You have to know how to orient yourself and know that the real Roman restaurants, the ‘trattorias’ and the ‘hostarie’, as well as the best cafés and bistrots, are often not in the center of the city. 

What are your favorite food stops in Rome? Why do you recommend these places?

When we talk about typical cuisine, my choice falls on Enzo at 29 in Trastevere. In my opinion, the best carbonara in Rome! If you prefer to stay in the center, go to La Matricianella, where despite the central location you still eat as tradition commands: the place is rustic, very typical and noisy, but you can eat very well.

If you want to have an Italian breakfast with croissant and cappuccino or enjoy a specialty coffee with modern desserts or ice cream, go to Casa Manfredi pastry shop, in the Circo Massimo area. For a very romantic aperitif at sunset, looking at the center of Rome from above, let’s go to Divinity terrace lounge bar of Pantheon Iconic Hotel, led by the Michelin starred chef Francesco Apreda. In all these places the value for money is excellent, as well as the raw material.

Are there any neighborhoods specifically known for the great food scene?

If you are in Rome, you absolutely must move to the coast of Fiumicino or Anzio to eat excellent fish, from pasta with clams to mixed grill, and then take a walk along the seafront. I also really like to do the classic Sunday trip out of town eating meat, mushrooms, cheeses, and cold cuts at the Castelli Romani.

Can you list some of the “hidden gems” of Rome food scene that only locals know about?

Many tourists come to Rome to eat typical Roman dishes, but I definitely recommend going to a pizzeria too. In Rome, a generation of pizza chefs has grown in recent years, making pizza as a gourmet dish. For example, Pier Daniele Seu and his Seu Illuminati pizzeria, pizza with mortadella and pistachio here is a must. 

Do you prefer street food to restaurants? Or viceversa?

I like them both because there are different occasions. Street food, like tramezzino (sandwich) or fried cod fillets, is perfect for a quick snack. In Rome, young people also love ‘pizza alla pala’, a pizza sold by the slice and seasoned in many ways, to be enjoyed on the street with a cold beer.

How would you describe the Roman food scene? Are there any specialties worth tasting?

Rome is a multicultural city, stormed by thousands of tourists every day. In the kitchen, however, this city managed to keep its tradition, on one side, and to offer gourmet cuisine, interesting and creative food, on the other. About street food, I love supplì, rice croquettes with meat sauce and cheese, fried cod fillets in Roman style, in a crispy batter. But, you cannot leave Rome without having breakfast with the maritozzo, a soft brioche filled with whipped cream.

Rome Food Tips

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