The Top Italian Best Restaurants in Rome

One thing that is timeless about the Eternal City is great Italian food. But that doesn’t mean pizza or pasta every night. These 10 restaurants range from a cozy trattoria through an experimental bistro to the city’s most luxurious eating establishment.

What do they have in common? They’re all highly regarded for the Italian culinary niche they serve.

La Pergola
Culinary evolution ... the German-born chef at La Pergola specializes in Roman and Mediterranean cuisine, ironically making him “more Italian than most of his colleagues.”

A truly fine compliment, especially when accompanied by three Michelin stars -- more than any other restaurant in the city.

Eating here is as much a theatrical as a culinary experience. But the performance shows off the cooking.

Serving “The Sea,” Beck’s signature dish, a waiter pours a “wave” of seafood broth over a freeze-dried “rock” of scampi claws and potato, which then dissolves into the “seabed” of barnacles, white shrimp and Venus clams.

The oldest bottle on the wine list dates to 1888, and there's a water menu with 29 choices -- try asking for “the tap.”

Dishes from €39 ($53).

La Pergola | Via Alberto Cadlolo 101 Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, 00136 Rome Italy | +39 06 3509 1

Antica Pesa

“One of Rome’s most loved restaurants by the international jet set,” is how the Italian food guide Gambero Rosso terms this chic trattoria.

Robert De Niro and Madonna are among the members of that famous group pictured in attendance on the restaurant’s walls.

Apart from the opportunities for star-spotting, it’s the delicately modernized traditional trattoria dishes that appeal at this renovated ancient warehouse.

The Monte San Biagio burger was created in honor of the restaurant’s returning American clients; the roasted pork and mozzarella “millefeuille” with pear sauce is an interesting meaty take on what is normally a dessert.

Dishes from €15.

Antica Pesa | Via Garibaldi 18, Rome Italy | +39 06 580 9236


Imàgo

Imàgo ... Dolce Vita, dolce view.
Born in Naples but with a working stint in Tokyo, Imàgo’s chef Francesco Apreda interlaces Asian ingredients into his Roman and Neapolitan dishes.

Sake-glazed black cod, roasted pigeon with black tea and cappelletti pasta with smoked eel and cocoa powder illustrate his cosmopolitan and gently experimental approach to haute cuisine.

One of Rome’s oldest luxury rooftop restaurants, Imàgo has a 360-degree view across the historical center of the city from its location atop the Spanish Steps as well as one Michelin star.

August former diners at Imàgo in former incarnations include JFK, Grace Kelly, Federico Fellini and Audrey Hepburn.

Imàgo’s brilliant marble floors with antique wooden inlay, mirrored tables and soft background music create an elegant, La Dolce Vita atmosphere, with a hint of indulgence.

Dishes from €33.

Imago at the Hassler | 6 Piazza Trinita dei Monti c/o Hotel Hassler Roma, Rome Italy | +39 06 6993 4726


Pipero al Rex

Meat-lovers, lick your lips.

But don’t just expect juicy fillets to be thrown into your cage at Pipero -- you’ll also get to try uncommon meats cooked with refined blends of spices, fruits and herbs.

The tasting menu includes raw goose with an apple and mustard topping, rabbit in boiled zucchinis, snails with garlic, lentils and whiskey and piglet served with a beer and cherry sauce.

Young chef Luciano Monosilia’s sophisticated way with meat won Pipero al Rex a Michelin star after only two years.

Dishes from €22.

Pipero al Rex | Via Torino, 149, 00184 Rome Italy | +39 06 481 5702

Giggetto


The secret of Gigetto's popularity? Its crispy fried artichokes.
Addictive carciofi all giudia -- crispy fried artichokes, a specialty of Roman-Jewish cuisine -- are a big reason for the popularity of this classic osteria, a kind of Italian version of the tavern.

Set in the heart of Rome's ancient Jewish quarter with a remarkable view over the Porticus Octaviae ruins, this simple but alluring place is also big on atmosphere.

Those golden, round artichokes take some beating, but the cod croquettes and stuffed courgette flowers melt just as deliciously on the tongue.

Dishes from €14

Giggetto al Portico d'Ottavia | Via del Portico D'Ottavia 21/a-22, 00186 Rome Italy | +39 06 686 1105


Lilli

Easy-going food-loving Romans reserve a special place in their hearts for this laid-back, excellent-value trattoria.

Tripe, oxtail stew and marrow-rich ossobuco are some of the bold dishes on offer.

You’ll probably also eat the best bucatini all'amatriciana -- the classic Roman pasta dish with tomato-and-pig’s-cheek sauce -- in your life here.

“Just like you get at home,” is Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera’s precise description of what Lilli, one of the last family-run trattoria in Rome, serves up.

Dishes from €8.

Trattoria Lilli | Via di Tor di Nona, 23, Rome Italy | +39 06 686 1916

Credit: CNN Travel

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