Note: I have eaten at all of these at least once; I've eaten at Le Grotte at least three times now.
Any comments or questions use the COntact link in the upper right corner of the page.
A good online source of Rome restaurants is "Menu di Roma." It's in Italian but you can figure things out anyway.
Look for the orange "pizzeria" sign hanging off the building. Le Grotte ("The Grottoes") is a great, fun place that has a large menu of traditional Roman fare. The waiters are an amusing combination of diffident and helpful. Try to speak at least a little Italian in this place, they'll love you for it. Top off the night with a flask of limoncello (even if there's just one of you). Live music Saturday and Sunday, closed Mondays. Off Via del Corso near the Grand Hotel Plaza.
Via delle Vite, 37. Tel 06 679 53 36
Al Piccolo Arancio
A "good value for money" place that's quiet (unless we're in there) and small. Near the Trevi Fountain. Your basic, typical Roman restaurant menu. Try the pumpkin ravioli, it's really good and unusual (how many times have you ever read "Try the pumpkin ravioli", hmmm?). It's also orange.
Vicolo Scanderberg, 112. Tel 06 678 61 39
Top notch, mid-to-top-end restaurant in the little alleyway area between Via del Corso and Piazza di Spagna. Reservations a good idea.
Via Mario de' Fiori, 34. Tel 06 679 50 91
Il Galeone - Corsetti
A great, wackily decorated seafood place in Trastevere. Go on upstairs but say "Ciao!" to your dinner in the tank first. Owned by a well-known restaurant-owning family in Rome, in case you care.
Piazza San Cosimato 27-30. Tel 06 580 90 09
On the unassuming street north and a little west of Piazza Navona, l'Orso 80 is famous for it's amazing Roman dishes. If you're in a group, just ask them to send out as many appetizers as you think you want to try. They'll fill your table(s) with some of the most incredible dishes you've ever seen. It's middle-priced, maybe a little high end, even, but it's great. You won't forget it soon, I promise you.
Via dell'Orso, 33 (and maybe 80, too). Tel. 06 686 49 04
Margutta Vegetariano RistorArte
A fancy-shmancy vegetarian restaurant that in May 1999 at least was one of the places for Roman celebritydom to hang out. You'll need reservations. Near Piazza del Popolo.
Via Margutta 119. Tel 06 36 00 18 05
What a great, fun place! A large downstairs can hold the entire party, plus the neighbors! Order by the numbers on the menu. Go ahead, say it. "Uno cento ottantotto" and you've just ordered a pizza prosciutto. Walk down Via Veneto from the Grand Hotel Flora. Via Sardenga is the first or second cross street. You can see the sign from Via Veneto.
Via Sardegna 39. Tel. 06 42 01 37 21
Ristorante da Giggetto
In the heart of the Jewish Ghetto, right next door to Augustus' Portico of Octavia, being excavated on one side and used as part of an apartment building down the block a bit. Good stuff, Jewish Italian food. Who would of thought?
Via del Portico d'Ottavia, 21-22. Tel 06 686 11 05
Ostaria Costanza is a fascinating place. The restaurant is inside a portion of the carved-up remains of Pompey's Theater, near the site of Julius Caesar's murder in 44 BC. Make sure you get their brochure on the story of the restaurant. Try the fried zucchini flowers or the veal. Sometimes small tour groups come in to take a look around.
Piazza Paradiso 63/65 Tel 06 68 61 717. Closed on Sundays.
Hostaria Isidoro is well-known for two things; their pasta and their complimentary souvenir calendar. Similar to L'Orso 80, you can order various sampler plates of pastas and sauces. My favorites were probably the aspargus and the walnut sauces. My favorite calendar month was... well January is as good as any, I suppose.
Via di San Giovanni in Laterano, 59/a-61-63. Tel. 06 70 49 34 62
Ristorante da Fortunato
Wonderfully located near the Pantheon, da Fortunato serves up a nice variety of Roman dishes. The display case in front is filled with wonderful-looking fish and meat and the dining room is blessedly air conditioned in case you might need that. Mid-priced, but a good value.
Via del Pantheon, 55. Tel. 06 67 92 788
This was a highlight of my July, 2000 trip. A small, intimate place tucked away in a late-medieval neighborhood. Scrumptious antipasti and a wonderful spaghetti with a lobster and tomato sauce. High end, but, believe me, worth it.
Piazza Montevecchio 22A, Tel. 06 686 13 19
Finally, after 6 years of going to Rome I can say that this place and the one directly below are the only places to eat pizza in Rome. It's an American-style1 pizza place, in Rome! You order by the centimeter and pick any toppings in any combination you want. And... and... the crust is actually not thin and soggy! Great, great place. Very casual "sports bar pizza place" vibe.
Da Maciste, Pizza e Cucina - Via Salaria Tel. 179 06-8848267
La Taverna dei Mercanti
Located on a piazza in Trastevere in a building whose appearance inside and out hasn't changed much in 1000 years, La Taverna dei Mercanti is a great, great place to have the basic Italian menu at basic Italian prices. A very cool place to eat and very friendly and fast, too! The pizza is "just like home!" Go at night and check out the torches on the side of the building!
La Taverna dei Mercanti, Piazza dei Mercant 3A Tel. 06 588 16 93
General Places for Eating
The area around the Pantheon, especially in the Piazza della Rotonda (at the front of the building) is good for restaurants, except for the McDonald's. Walk up the street next to the MacDonald's for some good choices. Also, Piazza Navona is the classic tourist place to eat, but it's actually OK. I like the last pizzeria on the right (if you're facing away from the church (opposite the center fountain and the Church of Saint Agnes in Agony). Further, with the exception of La Bruschetta listed above, eating on Via Veneto is a ripoff, unless you really crave a good old American hamburger in which case go to the Hard Rock Cafe.
Yes, gelato in Rome is quite the experience at Giolitti's. Giolitti's has been there for almost the entire century (the last one, the 20th) and will be there for the rest of this one, too. It's north of the Pantheon and west of Piazza Colonna (the piazza that has Marcus Aurelius' column in it). Look for the green sign on the building. Try the riso or the champagne flavors. The bacio is nice, too. Giolitti. Don't eat gelato without him.
Via degli Uffici del Viccario, 40. Tel 06 699 12 43
Near Giolitti is a contender for the crown of "best gelato in Roma". Della Palma doesn't have those ubiquitous sign cards telling you the flavors; they simply put a sample of the flavor item on top of the tin. For example the orange is topped with orange slices, the frutti di bosco with blueberries, wild strawberries and raspberries. Just figuring out what some of the items are is fun.
Via della Maddalena 20
The New York Times declared San Crispino's the best gelato in Rome. You can decide for yourself. Their specialty is a honey vanilla flavor. Very sweet, quite heavenly. Near the Trevi Fountain.
Via della Panetteria, 42. Tel 06 67 93 924
L'Antico Caffè Greco
OK, fine. Go to Caffè Greco. See if I care. Between Piazza di Spagna and Via del Corso in the high fashion shopping area. Have a cafe latte and pretend you're some famous writer from the century before the last one, or something.
Via Condotti, 86
1. American pizza is the best anywhere, regardless of the dish's origins, so an "American" style place in Rome is a real find as far as I'm concerned. Typical Rome pizza is a cracker-thin crust that gets all sloppy and droopy.