To choose only 3 restaurants for my “Best Of” list is extremely difficult. I have been to so many restaurants in Rome that I have enjoyed and savored in true foodie fashion. However, there have been 3 specific restaurants that have made me lovingly exclaim, “This is the best meal that I’ve ever had!”. Hence, why they have made my top 3 list.
Before I list these restaurants, I must give a short disclaimer about Roman food. While in Italy, it is highly recommended to eat and drink the food that the specific city is known for. This ensures that you are not only getting fresh food, but you are getting great, great, great, great, great nonna’s recipes. In Rome, there is the famous “Holy Trinity of Pasta”, which consists of cacio e pepe, Carbonara, and Amatriciana. Therefore, many of my favorite dishes from these restaurants will be these Roman specialties.
#3 – Ristorante Arlu
Borgo Pio 135, San Pietro – 00193 Roma
Ristorante Arlu has a lovely outside dinning area that makes for a great people-watching spot. This is a perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner. The portions are grand and the ingredients are fresh and savory. Our favorite dishes to get here are Carbonara and Amatriciana. Don’t forget to get a bottle of wine and a piece of tiramisu to top it off!
#2 – Il Portico
Via del Portico d’Ottavia, 1-e, 00186 Roma
This is one of those hustle and bustle places located in the Jewish Ghetto. It’s humorous to watch them turn a 6 top table over in less than 1 minute. The atmosphere is great here and the tables are close enough to chat up other diners while waiting for your meal. During one instance, a diner next to us whipped out a saxophone and started to play a tune! Our favorite dishes to get here are Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara (are you seeing a trend?). The arancini is also a great choice for an appetizer! Delicious!
#3 – Nonna Betta
Via del Portico d’Ottavia, 16, 00186 Roma
Our absolute favorite place to eat at in Rome is Nonna Betta. This restaurant is located in the Jewish Ghetto and is a local favorite. We were recommended by a local sommelier to eat here and I became smitten with it as I saw the sign out front. I loved it so much that it’s framed in my kitchen! Of course the Roman pastas are delicious here but the other dishes are equally as wonderful! Our favorite starter is the fried artichoke, a Roman Jewish specialty! Other dishes we have enjoyed are beef tail and meatballs. Don’t forget the dessert sampler plate and a glass of vino selected by your waiter. Perhaps you’ll get lucky enough to dine with our favorite comedic waiter (shown above).
(Side Note: Since this restaurant is located in the Jewish area of town, pork is not used in their traditional dishes. For an example, pork jowl is commonly used in Carbonara but they would use beef instead. YUMMY!)
Again, there are MANY restaurants in Rome that are top notch. We tend to dine more casually and eat the local favorites so these restaurants have been perfect for us. I’d love for any comments of other favorite restaurants in Rome. I’m always up for trying a new place to eat!