Monti is in itself a juxtaposition; surrounded on all sides by tourist hotspots yet at the same time authentically Roman and locally adored. Intrepid visitors traipse around the border of Monti, Rome’s first district, in search of the next attraction in their guidebook, hardly realizing the preserved Roman world that lies just a few blocks in. To locals, Monti is truly the heart of Rome.

Monti has a long and varied history, evolving from its past life as a slum in the Middle Ages where the less than savoury activities took place. In the 20th century Monti became a refuge for artists, which inevitably led to its gentrification and established the district as the youthful, creative, and entrepreneurial enclave that it’s known for today. Independent designer shops, unfussy restaurants, and cool cocktail bars make Monti a popular spot for locals to work and play.

Walking along the narrow cobblestone streets past 19th century apartments and buildings covered with vines, Monti is reminiscent of the quintessential Rome that Hollywood movies attempt to portray (To Rome With Love, anyone?). Romans gather in the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, tucked between Via Panisperna and Via Cavour, and sip wine on the steps of the fountain, a minimal structure that’s underwhelming by Roman standards, but serves as the central point of the neighbourhood nonetheless.

Including Monti in your next visit to Rome is a no-brainer but ensure you bring your appetite in tow as this small district packs a culinary punch. Now for what you’re all here for, an overview of where to eat in Monti.

Where To Eat In Monti

Where To Eat In Monti - Ai Tre Scalini Rome

You might walk right on by Ai Tre Scalini while strolling the cobbled Via Panisperna, but keep an eye out for a building covered almost entirely by green vines. Inside is an eclectic space where a table and chairs seems to occupy every open space. And for good reason – this place gets packed at peak hours. The menu offers an array of antipasti as well as smaller dishes, both perfect for sharing over a jug of house wine or a bottle off of their suburb wine list. Everything on the menu is tasty but don’t pass up the meatballs, the misto platter, the lasagna, and the gorgonzola and walnuts served warm.

Renowned chef Lucio Sforza has a long history of heading up restaurant L’Asino d’Oro – he’s moved locations three times, although Monti residents hope this one sticks. Popular with locals, L’Asino d’ Oro, or the golden ass for us anglophones, turns the classic trattoria up a notch. Imbedding his Umbrian heritage into the dishes, Sforza likes to experiment with bold flavours offering up dishes like boar in chocolate sauce and a meatballs in a blue cheese and pear reduction. This spot is popular so reservations are highly recommended to avoid disappointment.

Where To Eat In Monti Rome - Taverna dei Fori Imperiali

If you follow the locals in Monti, you may very well find yourself at La Taverna Dei Fori Imperiali, a family run trattoria that serves up good, honest, Roman food. Grab a table in the cozy restaurant, whose walls are adorned with paraphernalia or sit at one of the few outdoor spots if the weather permits. Those inside will be able to catch a glimpse of owner / chef Alessio from the open kitchen, whose passion for food transcends the plate. Classic Roman dishes shine here including the pappardelle carbonara, tagliatelle with truffles, and trofie alla putanesca. Make sure you save room for dessert – Alessio’s concoctions are out of this world.

Another vine covered building is home to the sunrise to sunset café La Casetta della Madonna dei Monti. Deriving its name from the nearby Piazza Madonna dei Monti, La Casetta is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Rome. Walking by, it’s huge windows will cause you to stop a moment and peer inside where you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere. Offering a range of caffeinated beverages to keep even the most gung-ho traveler going, La Casetta also has delicate pastries, fresh juices, and decadent cakes.

Just a few minutes away from Cavour metro station is Zizzi Pizza, which arguably has some of the tastiest pizza in all of Monti. Selling the pizza a taglio, or by the slice, hungry patrons can choose how much they want of each pizza and then watch it cut to order in front of them. The actual restaurant is tiny and you’ll often encounter long queues, but don’t be deterred. Delicious and fresh combinations like the spicy diavolo, the rich funghi, and the decadent ham and brie will quash your pizza cravings. Also on offer are full, round pizzas and decadent suppli.

#torte #gelato #fatamorgana… Da condividere

A photo posted by Gelateria Fatamorgana (@gelateriafatamorgana) on

For something sweet, jump over to the relatively new Fatamorgana, the chain that’s reinventing gelato in Rome. With seven shops in the city, Fatamorgana focuses on fresh and natural ingredients, preparing gelato in the traditional way that many gelaterias have strayed from. While the techniques might be traditional, the flavours certainly are not with options like pear and gorgonzola, pumpkin, and black cherries & beer. For those less adventurous, classic options like chocolate or stracciatella might be basic, but Fatamorgana’s iterations are some of the most delicious in all of Rome.

Monti is a hip district and when day becomes night the cool kids head to Black Market, an underground bar oozing with character. Inside is a labyrinth of rooms full of vintage and nostalgic pieces from the furniture and accent decor to the art on the walls, all helping to evoke the feeling that you’ve stepped down into a foregone era altogether. Black Market offers a lengthy list of inventive and well executed cocktails as well as a variety of snacks such as meat and cheese platters to provide the perfect drinking accompaniment. The bar hosts bands on a regular basis so check out their website in advance if you’re interested in seeing live music.

Where to Eat in Monti Rome

While Monti is directly in the shadows of the Colosseum, the most visited sight in all of Rome, the neighbourhood offers little in the way of typical tourist attractions. Instead, a popular pastime in Rione Monti is shopping as the district is a mecca for emerging designers and vintage boutiques. Take a walk down Via del Boschetto where many of the top shops are concentrated such as multi label shop Miki Way, high end vintage emporium Blue Goose, and designs from the Danish import at Tina Sondergaard. If you’re around on a weekend, stop by the popular Mercato Monti on Via Leonina, which hosts a mashup of designers offering custom one of a kind pieces and vintage items.

Rome Food Guide / Where To Eat In Monti photos by Departful.