Rome was magic for us. Before getting to Italy we were told it would be Florence, the city that would sweep us off our feet. In reality, we mostly didn’t like Florence. Sure the city is beautiful, but it wasn’t the right fit. Rome, however, swept us off of our feet, especially where we landed for 8 days–the neighborhood of Trastevere.
For 8 days we wandered the cobblestone streets of Trastevere, falling in love with the neighborhood. Two tram stops from the center of Rome, it’s filled with charming, old buildings. The restaurants in Trastevere would ultimately have some of the most delicious food we had in our extended honeymoon around the world.
Over 5 weeks in Italy, we learned some things. Like that in general, the less tourist sites there were in a neighborhood the better the food would be. In Rome, we found that the best food was far from the Coliseum and the Vatican.
We became especially fond of the restaurants in Trastevere. Aside from our frequent trips to Campo De Fiori, we ate here most of the time. Instead of tourist traps touting pictures of their “authentic” Hawaiian pizza, we were able to stumble into hole in the wall gems where our poor excuse for Italian and their hand gestures had to suffice. It didn’t hurt that Trastevere is considered one of Rome’s trendiest neighborhoods–a great way to start looking for tasty food.
BONUS: This list was also tested and approved by my two little brothers (ages 8 and 11).
**This was post was originally written in March 2018, but was updated and enhanced April 2019
Looking for more details on where to stay and what to do in Rome outside of Trastevere? Our friends over at Married with Fernweh have a great post covering this in more detail.
1. Suppli, Via di San Francesco a Ripa 137, Roma, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Honestly, I don’t even know where to start with this place. But I also know that this list must start with this place. After discovering it on the first day in Rome we proceeded to eat here every single day after. At least once a day, often multiple times if we’re being honest.
Named after the deep-fried rice balls that are a popular street food in Rome, this teeny, tiny, standing room only spot gives Italian fast food a whole new meaning. Between meals and as meals, this was hands down our favorite spot we ate at in Rome. Note this place is ALWAYS busy and while the food is served off the counter, the space is small and we often had to wait for our preferred pizza to come out of the shops only oven.
What to order: The suppli is the namesake here for a reason. Deep fried rice, tomato sauce, and finely ground meat, it is one of the most perfect bites of food we had in Rome. If you need more, the marinara slice here is well worth a try.
2. La Fraschetta, Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 134, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Recommended to us by one of the friendly locals who tried in vain to help us fix our WiFi, this was a stereotypical–in a good way–Italian restaurant. Red checkered tablecloths, sleeves of garlic hanging from the ceiling, and of course a wood-burning oven glowing with a rotating array of pizzas.
What to order: The best food here were the classic Roman pasta dishes, especially the cacio e pepe and arrabiata, although you can’t go wrong with a Margherita pizza either.
3. Ivo a Trastevere, Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 158, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
We absolutely loved it at Ivo a Trastevere. Like many other restaurants in Trastevere, it was seemingly tiny when we walked in but sprawled from tiny room to tiny room intricately bound together by narrow hallways and packed to the gills with an endless supply of hungry patrons. In our opinion, it had a very similar menu as La Fraschetta, above, but was a better version.
What to order: The pizza here was our favorite of the traditional wood burning round pies that we sampled in Rome — a thin crust and just the right ratio of sauce to cheese. The fried artichokes here were a huge hit as well, but they’re seasonal.
4. Don Vera Pizza Frita Napolitana, Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 103, 00153 Trastevere, Roma RM, Italy
Fried pizza! I’ll admit I’d never heard of this before we came to Rome, and I was SUPER skeptical. I don’t like when people mess with the food I love, my loyalty to the pizza I’ve known my whole life runs real deep. However, I quickly learned that fried pizza is actually a traditional Neapolitan food…and it’s awesome. I’ll admit this was much better when we ate it in Naples, but Don Vera made a pretty solid version that was especially loved by one of my brothers.
What to order: Go for the Vesuvius for traditional pizza flavors.
5. Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti, Via della Luce, 21, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Cookies! Also known as sweet morsels of love. We accidentally found this little gem when roaming the streets in search of a dinner reservation and were immediately smitten. Sweet, chewy rolled cookies coated in slivered almonds and butter cookies dipped in chocolate are just a few of the treats you’ll find in here. We bought a bag to bring home for later and finished it before we were off the street — plan accordingly.
What to order: We asked the baker for a “mista” and trusted her to choose, but I don’t think you can go wrong here! Think about the flavors you like – raspberry, chocolate, almond – and make a choice.
6. Trattoria da Paolo, Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 92, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Saved the best for last! Trattoria da Paolo was like stepping into the homes of my Italian ancestors from generations past that I was never able to meet. With only a handful of tables and a tiny menu of ingredient-in-house dependent choices, the food was homey and outright delicious.
What really sets these folks apart, however, is the lovely people who work here. Our server both nights, Angelo, treated us like family from the start. He guessed my stepmom for a grappa drinker off the bat and continued to mess with me in a way where I was almost expecting him to tussle my hair and give me a hug. Both times we went we stayed for hours and didn’t want to leave. This is a must visit for us any time we visit Rome from here on out.
What to order: The plates of pasta were the best items we tried on the menu here. The first time we came we did not get the antipasta plate they were recommending, but after seeing a different table get and longingly watch them eat it, we went for it the second time. It did not disappoint! The homemade ricotta salata and roasted eggplants were SO good.
Have you tried any of these restaurants in Trastevere? What spots do we need to eat at next time we visit? Leave us a comment!
Note none of these restaurants were sponsored in any way, we simply loved the food and thought you would too.