The Top Food Markets and Best Places to Eat in Rome
We've tried and tested the city's best food markets and restaurants for you to devour. Prego.
Italy’s ‘Eternal City’ is an easy one to fall in love with. Unlike many of Europe’s most famous destinations, you won’t spend much time here queuing for museums or searching a map for the next sight. Instead, Rome’s history and culture is sprawled out across every cobblestoned inch of the city. Walk around in the early morning and you might find yourself alone beside the Fontana di Trevi; take a stroll at night and there’s every chance you’ll stumble upon a lonely, moonlit Pantheon on your walk home. To discover Rome in its truest essence, all you really have to do is walk.
Now, with all that exertion, you’re going to need some fuel. Luckily, you’re in the right place. Quite simply, Romans live to eat, and they prioritise pleasure above all else. From little street snacks and the cucina povera of days gone by to afternoon gelato and decadent dinners worthy of a Fellini picture, they take their food seriously. Ask any local where their favourite market, osteria or pesceria is and they will pause, deep in thought, before sending you on your way with strict ordering instructions. So whether you’re looking to tour the city’s finest restaurants, hunt for hyper-seasonal produce at local markets, or turn your trip into the ultimate cooking holiday, there is something for everyone. Rome is a banquet of pizzas and piazzas, cacio e pepe and cathedrals, and to eat in this city is to taste its soul. A tomato stall owner once told us that…
So, without further ado, let's take a look at the best places to eat in Rome. We've listed restaurants and food markets to tick off your list when next exploring the city.
Cesare al Casaletto
Many Romans declare this the best pasta (and one of the best places to eat) in Rome. Which is a colossal claim. Decide for yourself at this elegant neighbourhood trattoria not far from Monteverde. It is still rather a hidden secret, which bodes well for getting a seat in the pergola-shaded outdoor terrace.
Since 2013, this polished spot in San Giovanni has been serving natural wine and modern Italian mains made with locally-foraged ingredients. This year, it developed an acclaimed tapas menu to bring you contemporary Roman bites alongside an exciting list of biodynamic wines.
Armando al Pantheon
For an all-out dinner of Roman magnitude, stroll a few feet from the Pantheon to find this historic, wood-and-art-lined restaurant. Run by the ever-welcoming Gargioli family for five decades, it has become synonymous with raucous, wine-flushed dinners of steaming fresh pasta, seasonal produce and Roman classics like coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew).
If you’ve had your fill of cannolos, visit this bright, contemporary micro-bakery for avocado toast, fresh bakes and speciality coffee (a rare beast in this city). On weekends, they serve dinners of modern Italian and international dishes, such as burrata with roasted peaches, savoury tarts and homemade gazpacho.
With chef Sarah Cicolini at the helm, this reimagined retro trattoria has become a hit with Rome’s tastemakers. Expect classic Roman cooking with a twist - and plenty of offal (it’s having quite the comeback, it seems). One of the best places to eat in Rome? Without doubt.
Mercato San Cosimato
This is Trastevere’s morning food market, and its social hub. Rise early with the locals to peruse fine cheeses, seasonal produce and fresh pasta to the soundtrack of neighbours enthusiastically catching up (and sharing recipes). If you fancy living like a local, explore Plum Guide's selection of homes in this neighbourhood.
Get lost among endless stalls at Rome’s biggest food market, not far from Vatican City (which explains all the nuns). You’ll find every imaginable Roman delicacy here, and plenty you may never have heard of.
Mercato di Circo Massimo
For the truest of foodies, this local farmer’s market is the place to find typical foods from Lazio, from rich olive oil and dark leafy greens to cured meats. We recommend arriving hungry - there’s always plenty of delicious things to sample as you fill your basket.
If this guide has you feeling desperate
for some pasta to book your next trip to the city, start exploring our handpicked vacation rentals in Rome.
Photo credits: Lauren Zito, Epiro, Marigold & Santo Palato