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The Best Dinner Restaurants In Rome Are Waiting For You

The best dinner restaurants in Rome are waiting for you to stop by and this guide will help you find the out of the way spots as well as the popular ones.

Best dinner restaurants in Rome - Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

The Best Places To Eat In Rome

You are able to eat outside year-round and while not every Rome restaurant is amazing, you develop the ability to look at a menu and quickly determine if it is intended for tourists, for locals or for both. I’m not perfect at this yet because I’ve been surprised with unexpectedly lower quality of some restaurants and the exciting finds that I have added to my list of places to go back to.

This is about a couple of my favorite Rome restaurants and one that was a surprise in the wrong direction. My tastes are more traditional and I’m always on the lookout for the perfect Carbonara, so I will not be recommending any fusion restaurants, or a chef who loves molecular gastronomy, if that is still a thing. Take a look at my descriptions below and if you’re in the neighborhood, you might want to check them out.

The Best Dinner Restaurants In Rome

La Trattoria Vecchia Roma

A few months back I was shopping in an athletic apparel store in Esquilino and the owner, out of nowhere, told me that Vecchia Roma has the best Bucatini all’Amatriciana, my favorite pasta in Rome, around and I should try it. An odd recommendation, to be sure, as I was only looking for a sweatshirt and some joggers.

Best dinner restaurants in Rome - Grilled Arrosticini

Grilled Arrosticini on Skewers

Traditional Italian Food

I eventually made my way there and I quickly realized that the man knows of what he speaks. We went to the restaurant in Esquilino (they now have another location at: Vicolo dei Serpenti, 9) and we had the best pasta in Rome, Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe and Bucatini all’Amatriciana, and both were amazing. It was so good we decided to come back a week later and have something a little less well known, but this time I brought my camera.

Making Trattoria Vecchia Roma Reservations

We made reservations and we were glad we did. The line of people without a reservation was probably 100 deep. We sat down on time and got a liter of house wine, known as vino della casa, and settled in for a great meal.

Best dinner restaurants in Rome - Fried Apps

Fried Appetizers of Pasta and Olives

For my antipasto, I had the Supplì di Pasta. Although this is a simple dish, the frying skills are a big indicator of the quality of the restaurant for us. It was fried perfectly, crunchy and not greasy at all. I also tried the Fettuccine al ragù bianco di Cinghiale and enjoyed it, although I don’t think my photography did it justice. I was expecting a gamier flavor but this was delicate and the pasta was nicely chewy.

My wife enjoyed Polpette di Melanzane (eggplant meatballs), which were also fried perfectly, and Arrosticini for her main dish. Luckily, I was able to steal a skewer of the lamb and found it very flavorful, with the right amount of salt and that delicious grilled flavor. At only €10, this greatly exceeded my expectations.

Best dinner restaurants in Rome - Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta with Frutti di Bosco

Even though the restaurant was packed, with a line out the door, the service was on point. They managed the crowds with a very well defined process of seating, ordering, serving and checking in with you. This probably limits the flexibility for the customer, but I’m not viewing this as a negative because I respect their level of organization and coordination in a city not known for it.

If you are around Esquilino, or in Monti near Via Nazionale, definitely make a reservation and stop in for lunch or dinner.

Trattoria Morgana

Best dinner restaurants in Rome - Octopus on Hummus

Octopus on Hummus

We’ve returned to Trattoria Morgana a few times since moving to Rome and every time it has been a delicious adventure in new tastes. Once I realized how skillful the chef was, I tried some foods that were outside my comfort zone and I was rewarded with a new and exciting experience, one that I’ve revisited multiple times.

One Of My Favorite Italian Restaurants

I only took a few pictures, but I hope that they can convey the quality of a few of the dishes we enjoyed because this is one of my favorite restaurants in Rome. First was the wine. They have a great, deep wine list and while we normally prefer white wines during the summer, the last time we were here we enjoyed a red wine that really spoke to us, so we broke with tradition and enjoyed a red wine.

My appetizer was the octopus on a bed of hummus. This is one of the new dishes that I tried in the past and I was very excited to eat again. The description of the hummus is that it was made with ceci, but it is so creamy and smooth that I was certain it was made with a white bean. The octopus had been the biggest surprise because this is something I had only ordered at Asian restaurants in the US in the past and I found it to be very chewy and probably frozen. This, however, was fresh, tender and subtle and together they made a pairing that shouldn’t be missed.

For my main dish, I got the hand-made pappardelle noodles with wild-boar sauce (Pappardelle al ragù bianco di cinghiale) and I was glad at this point that we ordered the red wine. It is a full flavored, but certainly not gamey, meat sauce that made me feel like I was getting even with those wild boars that are roaming around Rome. The pasta was fresh and chewy and the sauce was a ragù bianco. It is a delicious meat sauce that has only a few quality ingredients that are allowed to shine. Another dinner guest had the Chicken alla Cacciatora, which I had eaten during a previous visit and is a slow braised chicken that was falling off the bone. I thought that this dish has a bunch of other ingredients, like peppers and tomatoes, but I think that is the US version. Here, it is much simpler, again, allowing the chicken to be tasted without the addition of a bunch of other overpowering ingredients.

Best dinner restaurants in Rome - Espresso After Dinner

Espresso After Dinner

This time we didn’t get dessert, so I finished my meal off with an espresso. I was surprised to learn that their roaster, Ciamei, is local. It was delicious and I look forward to buying some of this coffee for home use.

Luciano Cucina Italiana

When we plan on going to new Rome restaurants, I am usually hesitant to go somewhere that has a huge social media presence because my tastes, as I mentioned above, are more traditional and when I have gone to restaurants with celebrity chefs from TV or Instagram, it has left me wanting. With this backdrop, we decided to go to Luciano’s after I saw some videos with and about him and his reputation as the King of Carbonara.

Best dinner restaurants in Rome - Carbonara

The Signature Dish – Carbonara

Being the signature dish, we decided to try the Carbonara, which may be the most popular pasta in Rome. It was skillfully prepared, great balance across the cheese, egg and guanciale, the proportions were perfect and the presentation was inviting. All that being said, it wasn’t my style. This isn’t a criticism about the skills in the kitchen, but an acknowledgement that my tastes lean to a more traditional preparation. I saw a video of Luciano in which he described the traditional preparation as how “your grandmother made it”, and I guess this is my taste. I believe he has described it as appropriate for a more modern palate, so if this describes you, I’m sure you will enjoy it. After the first fork-full of pasta, cheese, eggs and guanciale, I found the flavors weak and the aftertaste nonexistent.

Best dinner restaurants in Rome - Zuppa Inglese

Zuppa Inglese

There were a number of other things that we appreciated quite a bit. The service was fast and engaging. Our waiter had a great personality and asked us about ourselves even though at the beginning of our lunch the restaurant was hopping. The wine list offers a selection of wines from women-owned vineyards, which was pretty cool, so we ordered a rosé and we were happy we did. Our desserts were delicious and with my Zuppa Inglese, I was feeling so good that I also ordered the wine pairing and I loved it. One other positive part of this experience was that the chef was working in the kitchen. I know this might be expected, but I have eaten in a number of restaurants of celebrity chefs and they are usually working the room after handing off the cooking responsibilities to others.

The experience was great and if you like skilled chefs that are adventurous and who try to modernize their dishes, then I am certain you will enjoy this restaurant. For me, I’ll keep looking for another restaurant run by a nonna.

More Of The Best Restaurants In Rome

These are only three of the best dinner restaurants in Rome, which has a seemingly endless supply. If you like traditionally prepared dishes, keep an eye on this blog for some other options in the future, but for now, if you are in Esquilino or Monti, take a look at these options. If you are looking for other selections, here are some other posts that you may be interested in:

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