Rome’s 6 Must-Eat Dishes
You’ll hear it again and again: There is no such thing as Italian food. Cuisine across Italy is so regional, in fact, that you’ll see entirely different piatti (plates) from one city to the next — a variety that makes traveling and dining even more of a pleasure. Eating an area’s specialties not only connects you to the culture, it also helps ensure that you're eating fresher and more local, too.
Rome, of course, is no different. Want to know what to order while in the capital city? Here are some of its most beloved dishes — and, just as importantly, where to find our favorite versions.
1. Nonna Betta
Just remember that, like other types of produce, these are seasonal. Outside of the months from February to May, the “Roman artichokes” you see on menus either have been frozen for months or are imports from elsewhere. So at that time of year, it’s best — not least of all for your taste buds — to let the artichokes be. Order another seasonal delicacy instead, such as puntarelle from November to February or fiori di zucca (zucchini flowers) from June to September.
In season, try carciofi alla giudia at Nonna Betta, a Jewish Ghetto institution considered to serve up one of the best versions of the dish in all of Rome.
- 16 Via del Portico D'Ottavia
- Rome, 00186 Italy
2. Cacio e Pepe
Try cacio e pepe at (big surprise!) Cacio e Pepe, which has managed to remain a surprisingly hidden gem, given its easy location in Prati and its local reputation for solid Roman classics.
- Via Giuseppe Avezzana, 11
- Rome, Italy Italy
3. Da Danilo
Try carbonara at Da Danilo, a tiny trattoria in Esquilino that has received several awards for its classic, slightly upmarket Roman cuisine. Its version comes with the smokiest, crispiest chunk of guanciale you’ve ever tasted.
- 13 Via Petrarca
- Rome, 00040 Italy
4. Cesare al Casaletto
Order it at Cesare al Casaletto. The trattoria does every Roman classic so well, amatriciana included, that it's a magnet for locals and visiting foodies alike — despite its off-the-beaten-path location (it’s at the last stop on the No. 8 tram).
- 45 Via del Casaletto
- Rome, 00151 Italy
Try it at Flavio al Velavevodetto, a popular trattoria serving up traditional Roman cuisine in the most appropriate neighborhood: Testaccio, home to Rome’s slaughterhouses (and the heart of the city’s traditions of eating offal).
- 97 Via di Monte Testaccio
- Rome, 00153 Italy
6. Armando al Pantheon
We like the saltimbocca at Armando al Pantheon, which has been serving up Roman classics around the corner from the Pantheon since 1961.
- 31 Salita dei Crescenzi
- Rome, 00186 Italy