Travelers often head to Rome in search of history, art, culture, or perhaps religion. I visit almost exclusively for the food. Roman fare is unfussy, fresh, and impeccably executed. With recipes handed down through generations, the food in Rome stands the test of time.

Although the eternal city offers one of the best food scenes for hungry travelers, it can all go horribly wrong if you’re not prepared. There’s a lot of mediocre meals being dished out to unsuspecting tourists under the guise of traditional fare, of which there is no greater sin according to locals.

There are thousands of restaurants in Rome, making any effort to plan your eating a frustrating endeavour. To help you out, we’ve compiled food guides to five prominent neighbourhoods to help you choose where to eat in Rome.

Rome Neighbourhood Food Guides

To ensure you’re well fed the next time you’re in Rome, here are our neighbourhood food guides to Prati, Campo de’ Fiori, Monti, Testaccio, and Trastevere – as well as a compilation of our favourite craft beer spots in the city. Each guide not only includes where to eat in Rome but also our favourite food shops, must-visit gelaterias, and the best spots to grab a drink while in the neighbourhood.

Eating in Rome Tips

  • Take your coffee standing up at the bar, you’ll feel like a local and you’ll pay half of what it would cost to enjoy at a table. You often pay upfront at the cashier and are given a receipt for your coffee that you hand off further down the bar to get your coffee.
  • No cappuccinos after 10am – C’mon guys, it’s a morning beverage.
  • Avoid restaurants that have a waiter outside trying to lure you in at all costs.
  • Don’t eat in the main squares, have a drink and people watch instead and then head into the surrounding streets to have meal.
  • Aperitivos are the foodie’s happy hour – an all you can eat assortment of cold and prepared foods that are available with the purchase of a drink for the pre-dinner hunger pangs between 6 or 7 to 9. It’s a treat for your tummy and your wallet!
  • Even if your waiter brings over an unsolicited basket of bread, it’s probably going to be added to your bill if you chose to partake.
  • You can usually trust the house wine in Rome to be both economical and delicious.
  • Gelato multiple times a day is not only acceptable, it’s recommended, but avoid gelato that’s unnaturally bright or has piles of fruit or chocolate on top – it’s not the real deal!
  • Control your tipping – round up a few Euro for a truly memorable meal and exceptional service, but don’t go overboard. Adapt to the tipping rules in Rome as you would hope visitors to your country would on the flip side. Also, mandatory ‘servizio’ charges (usually an additional 10-20%) are fairly prevalent in hyper tourist areas. If it’s on your bill, there’s no need to leave anything else as you’ve already been quite generous by Roman standards.
  • And always, always, follow the locals.

Best Resources for Eating in Rome

Eating Italy Food Tours: the go-to provider of food tours through some of Rome’s most beloved foodie neighbourhoods. The Twilight Trastevere Tour is the perfect way to explore this hip district and stuff yourself silly along the way (you can read all about my experience). The Taste of Testaccio Tour is also spectacular, taking you through the heart of Rome’s local food scene in an authentically Roman neighbourhood.

Katie Parla: with a refreshing no bullshit style, you can be assured that you’ll get the real deal from Katie when it comes to eating in Rome. I always peruse her blog or hit up her app before hopping over to Rome as all of her recommendations have been on point.

Elizabeth Minchilli: a household name in the food world and author of Eating Rome, Elizabeth shares her favourite eateries in the city on her blog alongside Italian recipes that look so delicious you’ll start to salivate. And she’s also offering tours and cooking classes for those who want the opportunity to eat just like her while in Rome.

Next time you’re eating in Rome, make sure to check out our Rome Bites Food Guide. Have any of your own tips on where to eat in Rome? Share it with us in the comments.

Rome Bites Food Guides – Where to Eat in Rome header photo courtesy of @felixtriller

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Lauren Barth

Lauren Barth

Lauren Barth co-founded Departful in 2012 and is the Managing Director of Departful Media. Since then she has worked between North America and Europe and has published content in partnership with a variety of tourism boards and businesses based around the world. Lauren is currently based in Toronto, Canada.

Departful is a travel magazine that provides accessible, relevant, and thoughtful travel tips and ideas to inspire people to explore the world around them. We feature travel articles, travel tips, and photography based on our own experiences from over 100 countries covering all things adventure, culture, food and drink, technology, and gear. Made with ❤ in Toronto.


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