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Where to Eat in Rome, Some Suggestions

My post about a Japanese couple’s bad experience in a Rome restaurant sparked some discussion, and also led to Blog from Italy reader David suggesting a few places in Rome which serve good food at reasonable prices.

So, after writing about the bad, here is a little post based on David’s recommendations on some good places to try in Rome.  His advice is all the more valid in that it is also based on some insider knowledge, in that an Italian friend of his pointed him in the direction of some of the places to eat.

Please read on for David’s hot tips, and one from foodie Judith.

Tom Cruise-Gallagher morph David
Tom Cruise-Gallagher morph David

David’s Tips on Places to Eat in Whilst Roaming Rome

By clicking on the maps you will be take to Google maps, from which you can use Street View to get an idea of the surrounding area.  Personally, I find Street View very handy.  Note that the numbers bear no relation to the quality or price of the restaurants mentioned- they are just there for listing purposes – this is not a ‘Top Ten’ type list.

Number 1 – Gusto, Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 9, Rome

The first restaurant David mentioned, and gave the thumbs up to is “Gusto” – .  David also called Gusto (thanks, David), and was told that they still have a buffet lunch from Monday to Friday at €9, a price which includes a drink or a glass of wine.

Gusto’s food is international/Mediterranean style, but most dishes are cold.  Gusto serves some meat dishes and fish later on in the day.  On Saturdays and Sundays there is brunch style menu and the cost is apparently based in the weight of the food you choose.   I guess this means that a heavy meal will be expensive.

I’ve had a look at the Gusto website, which is in Italian (a good sign, in this case!), and it certainly sounds an interesting place.

[googlemap lat=”41.906579″ lng=”12.475957″ width=”400px” height=”200px” zoom=”15″ type=”G_NORMAL_MAP”]Gusto restaurant, Rome, Italy[/googlemap]

Number 2 – Canova, Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Next on David’s list is “Canova” which is a form of self-service, meaning that you choose what you want.  Returning customers will get 15% discount card
(which you have to ask for).  According to David this place serves good food at fair prices.  Canova also has an courtyard which is open during summer, so smokers can do their thing without having to stand on the sidewalk.

[googlemap lat=”41.910615″ lng=”12.476346″ width=”400px” height=”200px” zoom=”14″ type=”G_NORMAL_MAP”]Canova Restaurant, Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy[/googlemap]

Number 3 – Tonino, Via del Governo Vecchio, 18, Rome

Tonino” is a very small family run trattoria which serves food based on Roman cuisine. David discovered this place a couple of years ago.

Tonino dishes can be accompanied by the restaurant’s rather good chilled red table wine.  The atmosphere is very friendly and informal, and the cost for two is around €30, as long as you do not order too much wine.  Having good wine in Italian restaurants can quite easily double, or triple, the end of meal bill if you are not careful, but then wine in restaurants has never been cheap.

[googlemap lat=”41.89911″ lng=”12.469303″ width=”400px” height=”200px” zoom=”15″ type=”G_NORMAL_MAP”]Tonino Restaurant, Rome, Italy[/googlemap]

Number 4 – Carlo Menta, Via della lungaretta, 101, Rome

The final Rome eatery on David’s Rome restaurant list, which he was taken to by an Italian friend I understand, was the “Carlo Menta” restaurant in Rome’s popular Trastevere area.  Prices here are reasonable in David’s opinion, at around €5 for a first course and €9 for something like a lamb dish, plus approximately €3 for side-dishes.  The table wine in this restaurant is not up to much and is best avoided, David thinks.

[googlemap lat=”41.889556″ lng=”12.473047″ width=”400px” height=”200px” zoom=”15″ type=”G_NORMAL_MAP”]Carlo Menta Restaurant, Rome[/googlemap]

Number 5 – La Carbonara, Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 23, Rome – 8 July, 2008

This is a tip on a Roman restaurant from choosy foodie, and cooking expert, Judith Greenwood of Think on It, so it should be an excellent place to try.  The Carbonara specialises in Roman cuisine, and has an extensive wine cellar too, with over 100 Italian wines to sample.  Fresh ingredients are bought daily from selected suppliers, which is something that will help ensure that the dishes served will represent the best of Italian cooking.

This Roman restaurant is also featured in a number of guides, including the Gambero Rosso, a major Italian good restaurants guide.  Judith tells me that it is also frequented by Italians, which is always a good sign.  Indeed, it goes without saying that if a restaurant is popular with Italians, then it is highly likely to be a good place to eat and well worth trying.  If you can recognize spoken Italian, then you are off to a head start when hunting great Italian eateries!

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I don’t imagine the prices will be the lowest in Rome, but then quality rarely comes cheap.

[googlemap lat=”41.895796″ lng=”12.471531″ width=”400px” height=”200px” zoom=”15″ type=”G_NORMAL_MAP”]Carbonara Restaurant Rome, Italy[/googlemap]

This is the restaurant’s website: La Carbonara – English section.  Thanks Judith!

Number 6 – Ristorante Federico 1° in Via Colonna Antonnina, Rome – New – 22 August, 2009

Reader Emma and her Italian other half, Luca, ate at the Federico 1° in Rome, and said it was one of the best meals they had ever had.  Luca’s family runs a bar, so he knows something about food.

Here is the English version of the Federico 1° restaurant’s website:  Federico 1° restaurant, and here is the Federico 1°’s menu, along with prices, which I hope are up to date:  Federico 1° Menu

Cuisine at this restaurant is meat and fish based.

There is also a pretty extensive wine list on the Federico 1° site – along with prices too.  And the restaurant can be hired for holding private events.

[googlemap lat=”41.90131879635783″ lng=”12.478923797607422″ width=”400px” height=”200px” zoom=”15″ type=”G_NORMAL_MAP”]Federico 1° Restaurant, Rome, Italy[/googlemap]

Number 7 – Il Matriciano, Via dei Gracchi, 55, 00192 Roma, (Lazio), Italy

Someone I know, Italian Alessio Baù who, like me, is based in Milan, asked for recommendations on good restaurants Rome via Facebook.  I pointed him towards this post, and then read with interest the recommendations of other Italians.  Alessio was looking for places that cost around 50 Euros a head.

Il Matriciano is one of the places someone recommended – and there are some good reviews on Google maps too.  Not a place that rips people off either by the sounds of things – seeing some of the reviews are written by English speakers.

Location of Il Matriciano Restaurant in Rome – on Google Maps.

Italian Ice Cream – Gelateria al Teatro, Via dei Coronari/ Via di San Simone, 70, Rome

If you are looking to try Italian ice cream, which in my opinion everyone should, David says there is one good gelateria in Rome in near Via dei Coronari called “Gelateria al Teatro”.

[googlemap lat=”41.900423″ lng=”12.46945″ width=”400px” height=”200px” zoom=”15″ type=”G_NORMAL_MAP”]Gelateria al Teatro, Via di San Simone, 70 Rome, Italy[/googlemap]

Many thanks for your tips, David.  They should prove useful.

If you are planning to come to Rome, then City Discovery has extensive details of tours and things to do while in Rome. If you do buy something, Blog from Italy will obtain a small commission, so thank you.

Sightseeing, Tours, Attractions and Things to do in Rome

Blog from Italy tip

If you do come across a really good wine whilst dining out in Italy, and you have a camera equipped mobile phone, then take a photograph of the wine bottle’s label.  This might help you track down that memorable red or white when you are back home, should you wish to.  Such photos could also prove useful when you are confronted with a bewildering wine list in some other Italian restaurant or other, and not just in Rome.

As opposed to a normal camera, your mobile phone is the best place for such photos, mainly because most of us take our cell phones everywhere.

Tell Us Your Experiences

If you do visit any of the places on David’s list, or have already done so, and you have a spare minute, please let us all know how you got on.

Those who know of other good places to eat in Rome are welcome to mention them in a comment or three, and I’ll update this post, or even create a Rome Restaurants category, to which Blog from Italy readers can contribute, and help us all keep up-to-date on the best places to eat in Rome, and elsewhere in Italy.

At least this post might help some avoid this bad Rome eating experience: Rome’s Rip Off Passetto Restaurant?

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