I recently spent a week in Rome, my favorite city in the world, without so much even walking through the touristy parts that made me fall in love with it in the first place.
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I’ve lived in Rome before, but this time I stayed at an Airbnb in a quiet neighborhood that I hadn’t spent much time exploring previously. With a comfortable bed and a clean apartment, I was able to get a lot of work done and somehow still find time to explore some of the best in the city.
No, not the architecture.. the FOOD.
Restaurants in Rome are abundant, but many are simply tourist traps. Finding the best places to eat in Rome is tricky, and sometimes you really have to go off the beaten path to get to them. They don’t necessarily offer the type of food you might expect either.
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When I think Italian food, I think pizza and pasta, and I’m amazed that out of all the places I went to that week, only two even offered pizza and pasta. The hosts of my Airbnb were locals, and they deserve all the credit for suggesting where I should go to enjoy authentic Roman cuisine. Lucky me, because now I have a list of some of the best eats in Rome, according to locals, and lucky you, because I’m going to share it.
Where to Eat in Testaccio
1. Sergio’s Panini
Tender meat, sandwiched between two pieces of baguette, toasted and dipped in broth, and spread with a classic green sauce of herbs. Melt in your mouth delicious. Find this one at stall 15 in the Testaccio market. Testaccio is a neighborhood south of the city center, known for its giant pyramid (Piramide). Use the Piramide metro station to get there, then head towards the river and take Via Galvani to the left, you will find the Testaccio market a few blocks down. Say hi to Sergio and enjoy his famous panini.
Related: 3 Reasons to Love the City of Love
Also in Testaccio at Via Giovanni Branca 88, you will find Trapezzini. These are like a quarter of a calzone, a corner section of bread that holds your choice of either meatball with marinara, or traditional chicken. I recommend the traditional.
3. Romana Gelato
I think this may be the best gelato I’ve… ever had. There, I said it. Don’t go in the evening unless you want to wait in a long line for this treat. Get the bottom of your cone filled with dark or white chocolate drizzle before choosing your flavors. Prepare to be wowed. Romana gelato is down the street from Eataly on Via Venti Settembre 60.
4. Pizzeria di Remo
If you are simply looking for a traditional Roman pizzeria within walking distance of the center that will be full of Italians, this is an option. It does get busy in the late evenings when Italians go out to dinner, so keep that in mind. There is an outdoor seating area as well and it is right next to the park Piazza Di Santa Maria Liberatrice in the middle of Testaccio.
Cliché, maybe? This is the largest Eataly in the world, and personally I had never experienced one before, so why not in the heart of Italy? Eataly is a combination of a shopping center for all things Italian, including fresh foods and groceries, books, kitchen appliances, as well as a high scale food court of restaurants offering fresh choices of meals and snacks, craft brews, and more. It is sort of like Heaven on Earth if you love everything Italian. I would recommend going to the bakery on the second floor and getting the focaccia with stracciatella and prosciutto crudo drizzled with olive oil.
I’m drooling now… Find Eataly directly behind the Ostiense train station. You can cross under the train station to get there.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Trastevere
6. Suppli Pizzeria Blb
This place doesn’t really even have a sign, but it is located at 137 Via di San Francesco a Ripa in Trastevere. It is a small space, offering standing room only, but stop here for its famous suppli. Suppli is a small fried ball of rice with different things inside, usually meat and marinara or prosciutto and mozzarella. Grab a couple of these to go, perhaps on your way to the craft beer bar down the street.
7. Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa
This is the aforementioned craft beer bar down the street. Located at 25 Via di Benedetta in Trastevere (across the river), it has a number of beers on tap as well as for sale in bottles. You will find imports from all over the world as well as Italian craft beer in this bar, where they take their love of beer very seriously. You may have to wait minutes for just the right pour and feel free to ask the bartender for suggestions if you aren’t sure what to order. This may be the best craft beer bar in Rome, a must-stop for beer lovers.
Where to Eat in San Lorenzo
8. Ristorante Pizzeria I Fratelli
This is a classic Neapolitan pizzeria, serving homemade everything. It is in San Lorenzo, close to the Sapienza University in Rome. The price is right, the ambiance is bustling, and the pizza is delicious. You can’t go wrong with a simple margherita if you can’t decide what to get, because, in Italy, less is more.