Rome is definitely known for its food culture and for providing some pretty great meals to travelers from all over the world. The neighborhood of Trastevere is right across the river from Rome-proper (it literally means “across the Tiber”) on the western side of the city and is the more authentic area of Rome. Aside from finding great restaurants in Trastevere, you’ll find shopping at small independent stores and art studios, beautiful cobblestone streets with vines hanging from orange and yellow buildings, and some of the best restaurants in the city. Here are some of my favourite restaurants in Trastevere from my semester studying abroad in Rome.
Grazia e Graziella
Serving amazing traditional Italian food with a modern twist, Grazia e Graziella is right on the corner of a little piazza behind the beautiful basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. If you can grab a spot out front, you’ll spend the evening people-watching and eating incredible Italian pastas. I definitely suggest the pasta amatriciana and the tiramisu, as well as some wine while you relax in this spot. If you’re there in the winter, ask for a glass of their hot wine and hang out by a heater on the patio.
Largo MD Fumasoni Biondi 5 | www.graziaegraziella.it/wp/en/
Right down the street from Grazia e Graziella, this restaurant is a bit more expensive but is certainly worth the extra euros. With everything on the menu from raviolis, black truffle, and veal ‘roman style,’ La Scala is perfect for a nice meal with friends or family. The staff is always friendly and the patrons of the restaurant are even friendlier, sometimes speaking across tables in a mix of languages to laugh and talk with their neighbors.
Piazza della Scala 58/61 | www.ristorantelascala.it
Dar Poeta is one of the best pizza places in all of Rome and I still dream about the pesto bruschetta! Tucked away in an alley off of Piazza Trilussa, the nondescript restaurant boasts a top recommendation from a number of professional travelers and tons of study abroad students. The inside of the restaurant is packed tight and the bruschette and the pizza are incredible, with dozens of styles and toppings. Try to get there on the early side if you have a larger group because it fills up quickly!
Vicolo del Bologna 45 | www.darpoeta.com
Ristorante Da Meo Patac
If you’re looking for an absolutely authentic Old World dinner experience, wander through Trastevere’s narrow streets to this ivy clad osteria-style restaurant. An osteria is a classic Italian restaurant that serves wine and seats guests together at long tables. The house wine is always great and the dishes, which range from pasta to seafood to Roman specialties to seasonal fruits and vegetable, come in large portions. Everyone is welcome at the long checkered tables on this restaurant’s patio!
Piazza dei Mercanti 30 | www.ristorantedameopatacca.it
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Come to Cajo e Gajo for a glass of wine before dinner or come for the amazing Cacio e Pepe, a classic dish of pasta mixed with the perfect blend of cheese and pepper and served in a cheesy bowl. The restaurant is right around the corner from the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, so definitely pop inside and admire the beautiful artwork in the alters and the golden details on the ceiling. For dessert ask for some tiramisu or a pannacotta to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Piazza San Callisto 10 | www.cajoegajo.it/w/
With a live singer performing inside, this is the perfect place to hang out and grab drinks on a warmer night. The windows and doors open to the square, you and friends chat over a snack and one of their refreshing specialty cocktails. Afterwards, you can wander out into the square and through the streets in Trastevere to poke your head in studio art galleries and compact bookstores.
Piazza di S. Egidio 12 | www.ombrerosseintrastevere.it
Freni e Frizioni
If you want to take advantage of the Italian tradition of aperitivo, definitely come to Freni e Frizioni. This bar on the Tiber River has an amazing and extensive list of cocktails – if you want to try one, just make sure you order at the podium before you go to the bar and just hand your ticket over to the bartender. After you get your drink, you’re welcome to partake in aperitivo, which is an after-work drink accompanied by a buffet of snacks before dinner. So grab your glass of wine and chill out with your friends and some small appetizers before choosing one of the other restaurants in Trastevere to enjoy a late dinner!
Via del Politeama 4/6 | www.freniefrizioni.com
This pizza shop doesn’t look like much from the outside, but serves delicious thin crust pizza made to-order. With options for circular personal pizza or large sicilian slices stacked with toppings, Pizza Boom will be able to satisfy every craving, and the staff will even help you practice your Italian, coaching some of the English speakers through ordering! Stop here for a quick suppli, which is an Italian fried rice ball with cheese and tomato paste, or get a margherita pizza to-go and have a picnic at your favorite Roman vista.
Viale Trastevere 273 | www.pizzaboom.it
Located right on Piazza Trilussa, this restaurant in Trastevere serves the young crowd that always finds itself on the steps in the square. Piazza Trilussa is a popular meeting place for young Romans and students on warm-weather nights for a few drinks and enjoying the sunset over the Tiber river. Whether you’re there for a hearty and rarely-found brunch inside the mechanical themed restaurant or enjoying a drink on the umbrella-ed patio, you’ll have a great time surrounded by fun energy. Grab a small bite and a drink and join everyone on the marble steps.
Piazza Trilussa 34 | www.meccanismoroma.it
When you’re feeling a bit homesick after exploring all these restaurants in Trastevere, check out the tiny nearby neighborhood of Monteverde for Homebaked. Run by an American expat and his Italian wife, Homebaked serves classic American pastries and sandwiches for the local study abroad and expat population, and occasionally provides treats for events at the US Embassy in Rome. Jesse and Carolina know everyone that comes into their cozy cafe and cure homesickness right away with their amazing food and ever-present and always sleeping dog, Jake. If you’re studying in Rome in the fall, make sure to order some apple or pumpkin pie from Homebaked for your Thanksgiving celebration abroad!
Via Fratelli Bonnet, 21 | www.homebaked.it
Whether you’re visiting Rome for a weekend or studying abroad for a semester, the Trastevere neighborhood is not to be missed. With the ivy covered buildings and the winding cobblestone alleys, you’ll spend your time exploring an authentically Roman neighborhood and eating amazing food. Take your time wandering, talk to the locals, and find your own favorite restaurants in Trastevere!