I am frequently asked to recommend a non-touristy restaurant in Rome (because many people are tired of tourist traps, haha), and each time it takes a substantial amount of time to offer them comprehensive suggestions.
Therefore, I’ve decided to compile a comprehensive list of the best eateries in the Eternal City, incorporating recommendations from Reddit and Twitter.
So, sit back and enjoy as I endeavor to minimize your agony of choice.
Helpful tip Don’t forget to try the dishes that Rome is renowned for. I’m referring to authentic Italian pasta such as cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and peppers), carbonara, and rigatoni in sauce. I strongly recommend trying the same dish in multiple establishments to truly savor its authentic flavors.
Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world. Book restaurants in advance, and where that is not possible, be prepared for lines. I warned you!
Best Overall: Luciano Cucina Italiana, Salumeria Roscioli con Cucina, Taverna Trilussa, and Osteria da Fortunata
Best Roman-style Pizza: 180grammi, Bonci Pizzarium (takeaway), and Pizzeria Da Baffetto
Pasta: Pasta in Corso, Osteria da Fortunata
Best Guarded Secret: Santa Cristina al Quirinale
Table of Contents
Best Non-Touristy Restaurants in Rome Map
Best Restaurants in Rome for Locals
If you’re in Rome and seeking a restaurant with outstanding food, preferably loved by locals and not overcrowded with tourists, here is the list of best spots
If you are going to try cacio e pepe pasta, this is your best bet. Cacio e pepe means “cheese and pepper.”
What people say on Google: 4.5 stars, 1,705 reviews
A charming sandwich shop located close to the bus terminal for Colosseum tours, offers sandwiches featuring meat coupled with fruit. It’s not designed for those seeking a large meal, but rather provides light and wonderful food.
What people say on Google: 4.8 stars, 1,073 reviews
This restaurant is situated in a working-class neighborhood where English is not spoken. The cook seems to be the 70-year-old father of the owner. Instead of bothering with ordering from the menu, it is recommended to simply request to be fed by the staff.
Their cuisine, particularly the pasta and rice dishes, is extraordinary. Securing a reservation can be challenging, so I recommend you to plan in advance. For a delightful experience, visit the restaurant at night and take a stroll around the neighborhood, crossing either the Ponte Garibaldi or the Ponte Sisto.
What people say on Google: 4.4 stars, 2,383 reviews
This restaurant is nestled in a less tourist-frequented part of Rome, amidst the local residents. Its menu is a fusion of tradition and modernity, crafted by a rising chef. They also put a hipster twist on classic Roman dishes. For antipasti (starters), consider trying the bruschetta, a frittata with chicken livers, beef heart carpaccio, and an oxtail polpetta adorned with peanuts and pistachios.
This is an essential spot to try Roman-style pizza, which many consider among the top five worldwide. The pizzeria specializes in paper-thin bases topped with a well-balanced selection ingredients, ensuring the pizza is neither overloaded nor overwhelming.
“Trattoria Monti”. Known for their warm service and exceptional Italian cuisine, it’s a gem among Romans. Trattoria Monti is located in the Esquilino neighborhood, a bit outside the major tourist zones which makes it a favorite among locals Nannarella, Osteria, Roma Trastevere! They had my favorite cacio y pepe & also tiramisu desert is spectacular.
I would visit Rome for the chance to dine here again, you can’t go wrong with this place! It is quite close to very close to Campo de Fiori but not touristy inside!
Sample their freshly-made pasta and amazing pork cheek ragu. A piece of advice: consider arriving early, around 6 pm, or making a reservation. Although the service may be a bit lacking due to the high patron to waiter ratio, the food is just amazing!
If you'll look at Osteria da Fortunata on Google Maps, you might be confused by the 4-star rating. This is due to thousands of reviews. In my experience, the more reviews there are, the lower the rating tends to be. It's as if something is wrong with the formula, which doesn't seem to work well with tens of thousands of opinions.
What people say on Google: 4.0 stars, 11,505 reviews
Ride the number 8 tram to its last stop to reach this place. Try carbonara and the fried starters known as “fritti”. If you are not into pasta, try the oxtail dish, also known as “coda alla vaccinara.”
What people say on Google: 4.4 stars, 1,868 reviews
Here is the list of other great spots, including some affordable restaurants in Rome:
Best Restaurants in Rome for Locals
Stazione di Posta
A little fancy but good tasting menu. Order wine separately
Unbeatable location at Piazza del Popolo
For the solid drinking night out
Sleek looking and fancy af. Should be more ‘Italian’ than ‘Roman’
Italian-Japanese hybrid. Interesting but maybe not for everyone
Great seafood at Porta Maggiore (Larger Gate)
Another great seafood spot
Felice a Testaccio
Very authentic, great food
Osteria dei Pazzi
Tagliatelle with white truffle is out of this world here. Also, nice wine list
A fancy spot with great steaks
Great view, fancy as well
Il Duca in Trastevere
Great for classic Roman cuisine
Same as Il Duca in Trastevere, but more antique + picturesque
Trattoria da Teo
Try deep fried calamari
Grazia e Graziella
No-frills great Roman cuisine, really authentic
Antica Trattoria da Carlone
Gricia’ and ‘coda all vaccinara’ are the things you should try here
Good wine + focus on pasta and lots of meat
Cajo e Gajo
Really good carbonara. Vintage vibes
Another good choice for the seafood
Very authentic / savory / rustic vibes
Great deep fried antipasti
For the seafood
Flavio al Velavevodetto
Have I told you about best carbonara spots? Forget it. This is the best place for carbonara in Rome
If you want to try carciofi alla giudia (a deep-fried artichoke). The dish originated in the Jewish community of Rome
Phenomenal beef tartare
Ravioli stuffed with raw egg yolk. Yummy!
Helpful vocabulary for eating out in Rome
Here are some phrases and vocabulary that could be helpful when eating out in Rome:
Please – Per favore
Thank you – Grazie
Yes – Sì
No – No
Good day – Buongiorno
Good evening – Buonasera
Good night – Buonanotte
Hello/Hi – Ciao
Goodbye – Arrivederci
Excuse me – Scusa/Scusi
I would like – Vorrei
Do you have…? – Avete…?
The bill, please – Il conto, per favore
Water – Acqua
Wine – Vino
Beer – Birra
Coffee – Caffè
Menu – Menù
Napkin – Tovagliolo
Table – Tavolo
Restroom/Toilet – Bagno
Breakfast – Colazione
Lunch – Pranzo
Dinner – Cena
Saltimbocca -A dish of veal lined or wrapped with prosciutto and sage
Bucatini all’Amatriciana – Pasta with spicy tomato and pork cheek sauce
Coda alla Vaccinara – Oxtail stew
Supplì – Fried rice balls similar to Sicilian arancini
Pecorino Romano – A type of cheese made from sheep’s milk
Porchetta – Roast pork
Carciofi alla Romana – Roman-style Artichokes
Trippa alla Romana – Tripe in a tomato sauce with mint and Pecorino Romano cheese
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Rome called “The Eternal City”?
Rome is called the Eternal City due to its enduring significance and longevity throughout history. The term “Eternal City” (Urbs Aeterna in Latin) was first used by the poet Tibullus and later popularized by writers such as Virgil and Ovid. It reflects the belief held by Romans that their city was timeless, destined to last through the ages. Also, this title refers to the city’s ancient origins, dating back thousands of years to its legendary founding by Romulus and Remus. Furthermore, Rome’s significance has transcended different eras, surviving the rise and fall of empires. It has witnessed countless transformations, yet its impact and prominence have endured.
What does “trattoria” mean?
A “trattoria” is a type of Italian restaurant that is usually informal and family-owned, offering a cozy, rustic ambiance and traditional, regional dishes. Trattorias can be found in cities, towns, and countryside locations throughout Italy. They tend to be less formal and less expensive than ristorantes but more formal and diverse in offerings than an osteria or a pizzeria. The term “trattoria” is derived from the Italian verb “trattare,” which means “to treat.” In a historical context, it refers to a place where the host treats guests to their specialties, which are often based on the local cuisine.
What is “porchetta”?
Porchetta is a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. The body of the pig is gutted, deboned, arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, meat, fat, and skin, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood. The stuffing often includes garlic, rosemary, fennel, or other herbs, often wild. Porchetta is usually heavily salted in addition to being stuffed with herbs.
What is “bucatini”?
Bucatini is a type of pasta that is long, like spaghetti, but has a narrow hole running through the center, which gives it its name — “bucato” means “pierced” in Italian. This distinctive shape allows the pasta to hold sauce both inside and outside, which makes it ideal for rich, hearty sauces. Bucatini is particularly popular in Rome, where it’s traditionally served with Amatriciana sauce, a spicy tomato sauce made with guanciale (pork cheek) and Pecorino Romano cheese.
What does serving “alla spina” in Italy mean?
The term “alla spina” in Italy refers to serving drinks, most commonly beer, directly from a keg or a cask. The phrase literally translates to “on tap.” Hence, when you order a beer “alla spina,” you’re ordering draft beer, which is often fresher and better preserved than bottled or canned beer. However, the term can also be applied to other beverages served in a similar manner, like wine.
So, that is it for now. I hope you now have a better understanding where are you heading for lucnh or dinner in Rome! Good luck and “Buon appetito!”
Drop your comment below if you want to share some other decent non-touristy restaurants in Rome, Italy!
I usually write about traveling (there are so many places to fit all the lifestyles), relocation (finding a job overseas or moving without losing an income), and living in a foreign country (adapting to a different culture and mentality). Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn!
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