Studying abroad in Rome was a dream come true. Not only was I able to explore an ancient city, but I was also able to experience its culture. One thing that is incredibly important in Italian culture is food. In Italy, everyone’s favorite food is their family’s homemade dishes. Unfortunately as a tourist it can be hard to experience authentic Italian food without falling into a tourist trap. But I can help you out. These 4 places are my favorite restaurants in Rome, an essential part of my Temple Rome experience!
Dino and Tony’s
Address: Via Leone IV, 60, 00192 Roma RM, Italy
This was my favorite restaurant in all of Italy. Located right outside of the Vatican museums, I initially thought that this restaurant would be a tourist trap. Luckily, my assumption was proven wrong. Inside, Iwas greeted with an authentic, four course, home-style Italian meal. When entering the restaurant, you are promptly asked: “carne o pesce” (meat or fish). You are quickly seated then the savory adventure begins.
One of the things that makes this restaurant so different is that you don’t know what you’re getting. Dino assesses your tastes by asking a few questions about your likes/dislikes (in English) and yells to Tony to get cooking in the kitchen. Within minutes you are brought your appertivo with an assortment of cured meats, suppli, croquetes and roasted vegetables. Next is a pasta dish tailored to your tastes. I had cacio e pepe while my friend had a simple spaghetti in red sauce. Next was our main course: steak. With a light oily marinade the steak was cooked medium rare to perfection. Our third course was fried asparagus and we finished with a tiramisu. What was even more surprising was after all these courses (and a pitcher of wine) the total came to 30 euros a person. Not a bad price at all for the amount of food and the quality of the meal.
Address: Via dell’Archetto, 26, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Located in an alleyway in Trastevere, this restaurant appears unsuspecting. Even when you walk in, it is decorated with cheesy decor. But when you open up the menu, you see what the hype is about. With over 100 combinations to choose from, you can pair any type of pasta with nearly any kind of sauce imaginable. Even for the pickiest eater, there is something for you there. I suggest going with a bunch of friends, so that everyone can get a different dish and taste a variety of sauces. I also recommend straying from traditional dishes and trying some of their unfamiliar alternatives, much more fun that way!
Even with all this food, you should save room for dessert. Their tiramisu is awesome! Their dishes vary in price, but if you go with friends splitting the cost is easy and you can eat all the variety you want! They also have other options besides pasta. I didn’t get to try them, but my roommates highly recommend.
Cacio E Pepe
Address: Via Giuseppe Avezzana, 11, 00195 Roma RM, Italy
This restaurant is located right in the middle of the Roman neighborhood, Prati. It was a block away from my independent housing so I ate there frequently –especially because it was on the way to Temple Rome from Residence Candia. It is a tiny restaurant that fills up quite fast, so I would recommend going for an earlier dinner.
I may be a little biased since it’s my favorite pasta dish, but the restaurant’s namsake, cacio e pepe, was I had during my time in Italy. The sauce was a little creamier than a typical dish and they also added a little extra pepper for taste, which really made a difference. Honestly, I didn’t want to try anything else there because the cacio e pepe just blew me away.
Passetto Ristorante Pizzeria
Address: Piazza di S. Apollinare, 41, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
This restaurant is a little more expensive than the previous restaurants, so I would save it for a special occasion. That being said, the quality and quantity is unmatched. They have a variety of Italian cuisine from all over the country so I was able to try traditional Sicilian and Sardigna dishes, even though I did not get to visit. For each dish, your waiter can perfectly pair an affordable wine. They are also incredibly accommodating to allergies, i.e gluten free, seafood allergies.
At the restaurant, you are typically served three courses, each paired with a glass of wine. Each table has their own set of waiters, so you are easily taken care of. The waiters speak fluent English so the language barrier was not an issue. With so much food and wine, it was a little out of my price range for a typical night out, but my roommates and I went to celebrate our last night there and it was totally worth it!
*If you’re lucky enough to go on a slow night, ask to see their wine cellar. The restaurant was originally built on top of an ancient cellar dating back to B.C. times, and is now located in the basement. They can even seat you there to eat.
There are so many other restaurants in Rome that I wanted to try, but wasn’t able to in just one semester. Regardless, I encourage everyone to get out and try all different types of restaurants; you’ll never know what kind of gem you may stumble upon. Just go in with an open mind and be prepared to be blown away!