Most tourists have a different schedule when it comes to times of dining as opposed to the Italian way of doing things.
While most of us tend to head out to eat around 7-8pm, most Italians will head out from around 9pm onwards and 10pm is considered a reasonable time to dine!
There are many different types of eateries:
Bars, meaning a cafe that serves tea, coffe, some alcoholic beverages and a range of light snacks such as Pannini's (Sandwich) or Pastries generally open from 7am until around 5pm.
Before 12pm, you have the typical Italian breakfast on offer, a cornetto (a pastry not an ice cream!) and a milky drink such as a Cafe latte or cappuccino.
After 12pm Italians generally switch to the non-brakfast type drink of an espresso and a quick lunch of a slice of Pizza or Sandwich, mainly eaten whilst standing at the counter.
If you do choose to sit and enjoy your drinks or food as opposed to standing at the bar, it is worth noting that some places will sometimes charge double the amount for the use of a table!
Also worth noting, if you ask for a Latte thats exactly what you will get... a glass of warm milk! If you want coffee in it you have to use the full term Cafe Latte!
Most Restaurants / Pizzerias / Hosterias / Trattorias will serve a lunchtime menu from 11.30 until 3pm. They then remain closed until around 7-7.30pm when they open for the evening until around Midnight depending on the day of the week and the area.
Most Restaurants that remain serving during the late afternoon or early evening time will cater mainly for tourists which often doesn't promise good food.
For a late afternoon snack, Pizza by the slice, priced by weight is often the way to go until a proper meal later in the evening.
Eating in the main squares may seem like a nice idea but you will find that the food often lacks quality and can be very over priced. Side streets off the main Piazza's are the way to go, being far more reasonibly priced and usually offering much better food.
In Italy, it tends to be less about the surroundings or the decor of the restaurant and more about the quality of the food. A place may look cheap or basic to you but it will be packed full of locals who know they serve the best Pasta in Rome! If there's a good mix of locals and tourists it's usually a good choice!
Restaurants are generally the more expensive choice of dining, Trattoria's and Hostaria's tend to be more low key and perhaps more traditional, offering good food at reasonable prices.
Some Restaurants will automatically add a service charge to your bill, these tend to be the more touristy places however. Many good restaurants usually have signs saying no service charge or service charge not included, in this case if you are happy with your meal and the service provided a tip of 5-10% is normal.
Avoiding the tourist traps:
When you're short on time and have places to be, a quick snack from one of the many Vans or street vendors around Rome may seem like a good idea, until you pay the price and taste the food!!
A bottle of water from a discount supermarket can cost from 15 cents to 1 Euro. Street carts can charge up to €5 for the same bottle, so stock up from the supermarket if you can. You just need to take one bottle out with you in the morning and fill up for free from one of the many drinking fountains from around the City.
The water is cold, clean, pure and perfectly OK to drink, only if there is a sign saying Non-Potabile is it not drinking water.
Unfortunately the Vatican area isn't particularly famous for places to eat as most places are catering for tourists
Located on Borgo Pio 135 which is a 5-10 minute walk away from our meeting point. Great!
Classic Neapolitan cuisine and traditional thick crust pizza. Favorites include pizza Amalfi with buffalo mozzarella and pachino tomatoes. Desserts fantastic and guest are served limoncello at the end of the meal.
Via Dei Gracchi 12
06 39733165 or 06 37222003
Closed Mondays, serves lunch and dinner
Near piazza Cavour, this restaurant serves wood-fire cooked pizzas with exotic flavors such as porcini mushroom or white truffle (seasonal). Also enjoy Tuscan dishes such as homemade soups, fettuccine and an array of meats. Homemade desserts include Monte Bianco chestnut dessert, ricotta cake and other homemade treats.
Via Crescenzio 13
Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner
Located steps away from the Vatican in Piazza Risorgimento, this is an ideal location to meet friends. It is one of the few places in the city to serve a full English breakfast. The menu offers a mix of traditional Italian cuisine and English/Irish Pub food, with a full cocktail menu and is open until 2am. A great place to start or finish your day.
Piazza Risorgimento 16
Cul de Sac
A great place for wine lovers. This tiny restaurant is located steps away from Piazza Navona and is a great place to enjoy a bottle of wine and cheese plate or other small dishes.
Piazza Pasquino 73
Great wine list, excellent food, friendly service and affordable prices makes this a favorite of the locals.
Via Monte Giordano 49
A casual restaurant with a quick menu that offers traditional Italian cuisine, popular with the young crowd. The outdoor seating is nice in the warm months.
Open daily until 1am
Piazza Augusto Imperatore 36
This family run pizzeria has been serving traditional Roman style pizzas for over 40 years. Prices are very reasonable and service is fast, however expect a short wait as this is a favorite with locals and tourists.
Via Governo Vecchio 114
Typical Roman cuisine and pizza with great service and affordable prices, frequented by locals. If you are looking for a traditional Italian dinner, without the tourist crowds, this is a must. For seafood lovers, visit on Tuesday or Friday where fresh fish dishes are offered.
Closed Tuesdays, serves lunch and dinner
Piazza Del Fico 29
Historical pizzeria with lots of creative menu items. The menu is seasonal and includes a variety of homemade soups, pastas and desserts.
Via Del Corallo 10
Serves lunch and dinner
Neapolitan style pizzeria also serving classic Italian pasta dishes, antipasti and meats. The Largo Argentina location has a large interior, great for hosting large groups or parties.
Second location in Largo Argentina
Via Flaminia 523
Bir & Fud
Located in the heart of Trastevere, this is a great pizzeria and micro brewery. A causaul setting with great food and micro brews. Don´t leave without trying the doppio margherita pizza, and homemade crisps (potato chips).
Via Benedetta, 23
Le Mani in Pasta
A classic inexpensive osteria offering handmade pasta, fresh fish and grilled meats, and great seafood antipasto platter.
Via dei Genovesi 37
A popular little pizzeria with great pizza, fast service and cheap good food. During summer months its a great place to sit outside
Open late, closed Tuesdays
Viale di Trestevere 53
06 580 0919
Ivo a Trastevere
Serves dinner, and closed Tuesdays
Serves pizzas, meats and traditional Roman dishes such as spaghetti all´amatriciana (bacon and tomato sauce), and scamorza ( melted smoked cheese).
Via San Francesco a Ripa 158