If Italy is the European capital of food, Rome is its beating heart. Restaurants in this sumptuous city run from street-side cafes to the most upmarket dining locales around. Whatever your Italy holiday budget, Rome promises abundant flavours both traditional and inventive, and we've rounded up a few recommendations ahead of your holiday to consider.
As far as foodie cities go, few can compete with the sheer scale and diversity of Rome. The capital of Italy is as rich in flavour as it is in history, while every Italian dish you love can be found here. Rome also happens to be the birthplace of a few favourites, including classic carbonara and simple yet succulent cacio al pepe – pasta with cheese and black pepper. The city is famous for its artichokes too, which you'll see proudly adorning stalls at the farmer's markets.
Indeed, it's an exciting time to be a foodie in Rome, with new boundaries being pushed all the time in places such as the ristrots, which are fusions of ristorantes and bistros. Tradition is still strong though, so you can expect black espresso, rich wine and rustic pizza on thin bases, proving that as much as things develop in Rome, there are some timeless dishes and drinks that never change.
Tucked away on a narrow street moments away from the majesty of the Roman Colosseum, this hotbed of delicious dishes has welcomed a heady mix of locals and holidaymakers over the years. Not to mention, celebrity diners like Woody Allen and Sir Patrick Stewart. It's a testament to the superb meals on display, with the house special carbonara backed up by the homemade cakes and sweets baked on site.
The River Tiber makes for a romantic evening in Rome or a light meal over a long afternoon of coffee and conversation. Modern yet achingly Italian, Tiberino sits nestled close to the riverside, serving pastas and salads that won't weigh heavy on the stomach under the hot sun. Breakfast pastries over hot rich locally roasted coffee comes highly recommended too.
A modern little place with a stone feature wall set off by warm lighting – this is a must-stop spot in Rome. It also perfectly sums up the Italians food outlook, with thin crispy pizzas and fluffy crusts available with plenty of gourmet additions. Try a fully loaded or go for something simple and precise, the choice is yours. And make sure you save some room because there's plenty of pastries to follow.
The new local trend for mixing up the style of a restaurant and a bistro is best exemplified here. La Maisonette Ristrot is rapidly becoming a popular place to be, thanks to its brilliant twists on Italian classics. The fish of the day is served on creamy potato puree, while mini meatballs on toasted bread with ginger-flecked onions changes the whole meaning of a sandwich.