As a big lover of Italian food, I’m always excited to get in my fair share of pasta, pizza and more… heading to Rome, the capital of Italy meant we were rather overwhelmed with choice of Michelin-starred restaurants, casual trattorias and glamorous bars. Laura and I thoroughly researched (we both can’t stand having a bad meal!) and here are all the places that we tried.
Let’s start with the best, Aroma was easily our favourite restaurant in Rome. I mean can you blame us with that view?
Michelin-starred Aroma is located in the Palazzo Manfredi Hotel and has an absolutely breathtaking view of the Colosseum but not only that the food is utterly fabulous. I’d eaten here before with Mr S and I just knew Laura would absolutely love it. The restaurant interior is fairly simple as the floor to ceiling windows allow you take in that truly epic view – visit in summer (as I did previously) and the terrace is totally open.
Starters were warm cuttle fish on lettuce purèe, basil and smoked potato blinis along with sword fish “carrozza” with three sauces
We both opted for pasta for main. The duck ragu was one of the best things we tried all holiday and the spaghetti with scampi tartare and parsley pesto, topped with silver foil was pretty as a picture.
Laura and I absolutely loved the roof top restaurant and bar at Hotel Eden. Il Giardino Ristorante & Bar serves absolutely delicious classic Italian food in a informal (ish) setting with a view over the Eternal City. The bar is the perfect place to go for a drink before dinner or to admire the views for a day time tipple.
We visited the restaurant one evening and absolutely loved it.
Everything is good here but whatever you do, you must order the spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper) – another classic Roman dish. If you want something more formal, the hotel also has a Michelin-starred restaurant called La Terrazza. I didn’t eat at La Terrazza this time but I have twice before and the food was amazing. I was also very impressed by the make over the restaurant has had since the restoration of Hotel Eden.
Laura and I wanted to find a restaurant for lunch that was the perfect blend of slightly formal yet a traditional rustic Italian serving hearty food. It sounds mad in a city full of fantastic food but sometimes these places can be hard to find as you have to be ‘in the know’ in order to avoid the touristy places. Anyway a few people recommended Piperno to us and it kept coming up in the best places to go lists.
Now I have to say it was rather more on the formal side than the rustic with pressed white table clothes, waiters in bow ties and a slightly more hushed atmosphere than the buzzy trattoria we were looking for but that being said, there was a very special feeling about the place. The old school restaurant has actually been around since 1860 and located in the Jewish ghetto, serves Jewish-Roman food.
The most famous dish is the carciofi alla giudia or the Roman Jewish fried artichoke, and being a big fan of artichokes (and Jewish) I had to order one of these. We ordered it as part of a sharing platter which was a little heavy on the fried stuff but utterly delicious. Also on the platter were potato croquettes, rice balls, fried mozzarella and zucchini blossom.
For main course, the spaghetti alla vongole was just calling my name (this place specialises in seafood) whereas Laura enjoyed Gnocchi di Patate All’ Amatriciana.
Although Piperno wasn’t quite what we were expecting, we really enjoyed our lunch there and I can see why it’s a Roman institution.
Pierluigi had been on my radar for a long time and had made my restaurant shortlist for my previous two visits to Rome but I’d still never actually made it there. We went for dinner on recommendation of the concierge at Hotel Eden and it turned out to be great idea. From the picture above you can see that this is another seafood restaurant and it is actually known to be one of the best in town. I would describe the atmosphere here as elegant but it wasn’t overly formal or serious – the perfect place for dinner with a girlfriend. Established in 1938, they’ve been cooking seafood for a very long time and are still incredibly popular and we could see why.
Starters were an assorted carpacci and tartare, with a raw langoustine and prawn along with Pierluigi’s prawn Catalana salad.
And for main course was shared a whole sea bream with potatoes and mushrooms. Fortunately we like a lot of the same things so there was a lot of sharing going on.
Where to Drink
Hotel de Russie
I stayed in the Hotel de Russie about 10 years and I was utterly taken by the hotel’s stunning courtyard, Le Jardin de Russie.
It features the stunning terrace as well as lush gardens at the back. It’s such a beautiful place that I had to take Laura to have a look and drink a bellini even if we did only stop there for fifteen minutes before we had to go to the airport!
Hotel Eitch Borromini – Le Grande Bellazza
When I go for drinks in another city, I’m always keen to sample a lofty bar with a view. Now let’s be honest a rooftop bar isn’t exactly practical in November but I do these things for ‘gram remember.
Unfortunately it was far too dark for the ‘gram plus we were asked to leave at 9pm as it was so cold that they didn’t get much call for people coming in for evening drinks (lol). But I can imagine Eitch Borromini being rather fabulous during the summer months as the hotel over looks the Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and the dome of St Peter’s Basilica.
I don’t have a specific bar to tell you about but I’d highly recommend heading for a drink on the Piazza Navona. It’s one of the main squares in Rome and has a really lively atmosphere plus it’s rather beautiful to look at!
PIN FOR LATER:
Those were our favourite restaurants and bars in Rome. Do you have any favourites? I’d love to add them to my list!