| |

The Best Authentic Italian Restaurants In Rome, Italy

The best authentic restaurants in Rome include a range of styles like traditional Roman food and this is your guide to these family-run classic restaurants.

Authentic Italian Restaurants In Rome - Classic Pasta

Delicious Pasta

Great Authentic Italian Restaurants In Rome

Ristorante La Villetta dal 1940

After a conversation about how much I love classic food in Rome, Ristorante La Villetta was recommended by my barber (who is a local) as a great example of this style of food. This is a popular restaurant that typically requires reservations and the prices reflect its popularity. I would describe it as medium expensive (Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara costs €16) for the standard pasta dishes, but there are some additional chef’s specials that are more than €20. 

We arrived early, but happily our table was available so we were seated immediately. We ordered a Syrah that was economically priced and we enjoyed it tremendously. We started our meal by splitting an eggplant antipasto that was ready quickly and delicious. We had bread on the table, but to be honest, it wasn’t enough.

Authentic Italian Restaurants In Rome - Simple Spaghetti

Simple Spaghetti Dish

The eggplant was deliciously saucy and I could have used 2 or 3 times as much bread to sop up the delicious tomato sauce. We had a traditional Cacio e Pepe, which had a hand-made tonnarelli pasta that was well sauced and chewy. We also had a Rigatoni pasta with an oxtail sauce that was amazing. The dish came out screaming hot, which was important to me, and it stayed at a nice temperature for my entire meal. The bowls were strangely large, but the amount of food was appropriate.

For a traditional Roman meal, this is a great place to try if you are in the area of the Pyramid (Paramide) or near the Testaccio neighborhood. Make a reservation and don’t worry if you show up a little earlier than planned because they will take care of you!

Trattoria da Danilo

During the last Valentine’s day, we were looking for a place to have a nice lunch and we made an unplanned visit to Trattoria da Danilo. We had wanted to go there for a while, but we didn’t plan very well and hadn’t made a reservation. We arrived a little early for lunch and we were happy to be seated. The restaurant filled up, so I’m thinking we just got lucky, which usually doesn’t happen.

Authentic Italian Restaurants In Rome - Artichoke

Roman Artichoke

I enjoy being surprised by how good a restaurant is and da Danilo was such an experience. We started with a half-bottle of a delicious Syrah Tellus Falesco. Normally we get a full bottle, but we planned to return to work after lunch and control seemed prudent. We shared the meatball (Polpette di Manzo) appetizer, which was delicious and we both decided to have the Cacio e Pepe. We were unexpectedly treated to a tableside preparation, which I love. The dish was amazing and it was fun to watch it prepared, especially since I plan on making it at home fairly soon. We ended the meal with a lemon sorbet (Sorbetto al Limone) and a Pistachio Tiramisu (Tiramisù al Pistacchio) and an espresso that topped off the meal perfectly.

The trattoria is generally in our neighborhood and when we first encountered the restaurant during an evening stroll, we learned that this restaurant was featured in 2017 on one of our favorite shows: 4 Ristoranti. If you are unfamiliar with this show, they bring four restaurant owners together in a specific city and/or of a specific theme and they evaluate each other’s restaurants. The theme of this episode was Best family-run tavern in Rome, which is my favorite type of restaurant. The show is more professional than the food competition shows in the US and with only a few exceptions, they are all great restaurants, so even to lose, which they did, isn’t much of an embarrassment. 

The restaurant looks like a classic neighborhood restaurant, on the walls there are photos and autographs of all the famous people who have gone to eat at this place. The tavern is located in the central Esquiline district, near the Colosseum. I would strongly recommend a visit, but you should not risk missing out and make a reservation.

Trattoria Sora Lella

I mentioned above that one of our favorite shows is: 4 Ristoranti, and coincidentally, Trattoria Sora Lella was also featured in the same episode as Trattoria da Danilo mentioned above and they were, in fact, the winners. This is a popular and historic trattoria located on Tiber island and it has been on our list of restaurants to try for more than a year and possibly even more like 5 years, depending on if you started the clock before we moved to Italy. We tried to experience this restaurant for a birthday celebration, but hadn’t made reservations and we were surprised to learn that they are needed, even for a lunch in February.

Authentic Italian Restaurants In Rome - Lamb

Amazing Lamb Cacciatora

I would describe this trattoria as in the upper expensive range, with Cacio e Pepe costing €18 and a traditional Carbonara costing €20. I expect that these costs are also a result of their popularity, but the food is delicious and the location is amazing.

We started our dinner with a couple of antipasti: sauteed artichoke (Carciofi alla Romana) and a couple of rice croquettes (Supplì). They were both well prepared and the supplì in particular was crunchy and had a depth of flavor you don’t find anywhere else in Rome. We also got a short pasta with pork (Cannolicchi alla Mattacchiona) that was perfectly al dente and the guanciale tasted amazing. We also had lamb in the hunter’s style (L’Abbacchio Romano alla Cacciatora) that was a favorite because of the meaty lamb pieces and delicious sauce. I ordered this because I’ve been loving the Cacciatora style preparation recently and this lamb exceeded my expectations. We finished the delicious meal by splitting a Torta di Ricotta and having a coffee. We would have ordered a second dessert, but we were still full from a big lunch, so we’ll save that for another time.

Checchino dal 1887

I read an article in RomaToday that gave recommendations for where to eat in Testaccio, and Checchino dal 1887 seems like our style, so we checked it out. Our tastes veer towards classically prepared dishes and this restaurant checked all the right boxes. 

The service in the restaurant was fantastic, including a very professional wait staff, some of which were white jacketed. We started with a Lazio red wine, which was fantastic as their wine menu divides them into light, medium and full bodied (strutturati) options, which helped us quite a bit. I was very surprised by the way that the bottle and glasses were prepared for us. The process is called “priming” or “seasoning” the glass, which is a technique (originating in Italy) that involves pouring a bit of wine, about an ounce, into the glasses and swirling it to coat the bowl before discarding it. It removes any leftover flavors or aromas from when the glass was washed or stored. Pretty cool and a new experience for us.

Authentic Italian Restaurants In Rome - Beans And Pork Rinds

Beans And Pork Rinds

For an appetizer we shared a small taste of beans and cotiche, which were beans in a tomato sauce cooked with pork rinds. It was delicious and really got me in the fall mood. My main dish was Rigatoni al Sugo di Coda, which was a deliciously slow cooked oxtail stew and a Roman tradition. Slow cooking meat like this is a favorite and they didn’t disappoint. My wife’s dish was another traditional pasta: Bucatini alla Gricia. It was unsurprisingly equally enjoyable.

We each finished the meal with an espresso to go along with our Tiramisu and Panna Cotta. We left with a smile on our faces and a plan to return in the near future. This is a strong recommendation if you enjoy traditional Roman fare. 

More Suggestions For Authentic Italian Restaurants In Rome

If you enjoyed this review of some authentic Italian restaurants in Rome, Italy, check out some of these other posts for your vacation planning ideas:

Similar Posts