Across the Tiber River and bordering the Vatican is Prati, a Roman borough that is at the same time opulent and chill. Prati is largely residential, its wide promenades lined with low level office buildings and apartment complexes. This is where well heeled Romans go about their daily business, then sit back with a glass of wine at one of the many sidewalk cafes enjoying a leisurely lunch or after work aperitivo.

Despite being adjacent to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, not many visitors venture from the tourist track into the heart of Prati. There are no major attractions, monuments, or hop-on-hop-off buses here to draw them in. Instead there are an abundance of neighbourhood trattorias, designer shops, and lovely treelined streets to meander down. What Prati really offers those who make the journey is a refreshing opportunity to experience the Roman’s Rome, not often on offer in other areas of the city.

Where to eat in Prati

For the best pizza in Prati, and arguably all of Rome, head to Bonci (formerly Pizzarium). You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the hordes of hungry people lining up to get their hands on the rustic pizzas crafted in this iconic pizzeria, but the wait will certainly be worth it. The process is not dissimilar to a deli counter as patrons grab a ticket and wait to be called. Once you’re up, you make your choices and the pizzas are cut with scissors based on how much you want. The pizza flavours are fresh and well composed, unique without being overbearing. Favourites include the potato, purple cauliflower, and burrata pizzas.

Rome Food Guide - Where to eat in Prati Bonci

Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Vatican Museum is Duecento Gradi, a mecca for fresh and filling sandwiches. Locals and sightseers alike are drawn here like moths to a flame during lunch time so be prepared for a bit of a wait. Either chose one of the many pre-crafted sandwiches or build your own with the dozens of ingredients. Several local and international beers are available in the fridge to provide the perfect accompaniment to your scrumptious sandwich.

Renowned for having some of the best gnocchi in Rome, L’Arcangelo is a fixture of any guidebook to the Eternal City worth its salt. The dining room is inviting with dark wood accents, white linen table cloths, and nostalgia inducing black and white photographs of chef Arcangelo Dandini’s family. What L’Archangelo does best is the classic Roman fare yet with a distinctive touch, setting it ever so slightly apart from the thousands of other trattorias in Rome offering the same dishes. Be advised, the prices indicate that it knows it’s better than the rest.

 Rome Food Guide - Where To Eat In Prati Castel Sant Angelo

A couple of blocks from the striking Castel Sant’Angelo is Su & Giu Cucina Romana, a quaint restaurant renowned for both its food and service. Set over three levels, Su & Giu serves up simple yet delectable Roman dishes, particularly the fresh pastas; rigatoni alla gricia and the orecchiette with mushrooms and clams are two standouts. The owners and staff are not only passionate about food, they may just be the friendliest in all of Rome, always ensuring that their guests, whether local or foreign, have a memorable experience. Prices are quite reasonable for the quality and the area.

Romeo is a relatively new addition to the neighbourhood and can’t quite be pinned down. Setting up shop in a converted warehouse that used to house spare auto parts, Romeo is part cafeteria, part sit-down restaurant. Food stalls offer up a wide variety of meats, cheeses, antipasti, wines, breads, and a decent selection of prepared foods – like the very popular pizzas – that can be purchased and enjoyed at nearby tables. The formal restaurant deviates from the traditional Rome food scene as many recipes take on a more modern interpretation of Roman classics. For something out of the ordinary, try the foie gras panino.

Il Sorpasso - Where To Eat In Prati Rome

Arriving at wine bar Il Sorpasso, you can’t help but think you’ve stumbled upon the ‘it‘ spot for hip Romans. With an excellent selection of wines and cocktails, a modern interior, and a palpable buzz, this spot is an excellent reprieve from the classic Roman trattoria. Evenings and weekends are bustling at Il Sorpasso, with the large overflow of people drinking glasses of wine on the sidewalk out front. If you can snag a table, indulge in the antipasto options including cured hams, unique Italian cheeses, and fresh specials that change daily. And save room for desert – their cannoli is out of this world.

Steps from the Vatican is one of Rome’s most popular spots for gelato – Old Bridge Gelateria. This small shop serves up big portions of gelato at a reasonable price. Due to its proximity to Rome’s premier tourist attraction, Old Bridge is consistently rammed so don’t attempt a visit if your tight on time. Even though the staff are bombarded with patrons from morning to night, they are delightful. Mix and match the flavours to your hearts content.

For a great selection of craft beer in Prati check out Angrypig Biretta & Porchetta. Grab a local or international craft beer from the fridge and order up a porchetta sandwich – roasted pork on a bun – which could quite possibly the best food / drink combination ever. The porchetta sandwiches here are more adventurous than the traditional forms sold elsewhere in the city with options such as pecorino cheese, spicy salami, sundried tomatoes, and the ultra unique carbon bread, a denser yet softer version than the white alternative. The enthusiastic owners alone will make you happy you stopped in.

Catering to the mostly residential clientele is Trionfale Market, which happens to be the largest market in Rome. This market is a behemoth of family run stalls selling everything a hungry traveler could possibly need: local produce, regional meats and cheeses, fresh seafood, homemade pastas, and, last but not least, wine by the litre. There’s a wide selection of prepared foods like porchetta and pizza to tide you over if you come hungry.

Rome Food Guide - Where To Eat In Prati Vatican

The tourist sights are obvious in this region of Rome. Millions of visitors flock to the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica each year, and with good reason. The Vatican Museum, established over 500 years ago, houses one of the most extensive and impressive art collections anywhere in the world, as well as the Sistine Chapel with Michalangelo’s famously painted ceiling. Lines to the Museum are often extreme so book your ticket online in advance and ensure you print it before arriving for your scheduled entrance time. If you want to save your sanity, avoid the last Sunday of every month as the entrance is free and the lines are enormous, as well as any major religious holidays.

Rome Food Guide / Where To Eat In Prati photos courtesy of Flickr; N i c o l a (CC BY 2.0); Mon Œil (CC BY 2.0), Il Sorpasso