Before moving to Rome, I had yet to learn how extraordinary the seafood restaurants here were. Like many, I’d assumed I’d spend my days digging into spaghetti carbonara and supplì. While I certainly did, I also found myself feasting on delicious oceanic fare for many of my evening meals.

Romans love their seafood; you’ll spot locals tucking into fried anchovies and sautéed mussels any night of the week, both in high-end ristorantes and laidback trattorias.

Over the years, as I’ve explored the gastronomic landscape of the Italian capital and guided my Rome food tours, I’ve had the privilege of discovering some of the best seafood restaurants in Rome. These are my all-time favorites!

Pierluigi 

pierluigi_rome

Photo credit: Pierluigi 

It wouldn’t feel right to kickstart a compilation of the best seafood restaurants in Rome anywhere other than Pierluigi. Sitting in Piazza de’ Ricci for over 80 years, Pierluigi started as a casual osteria and has become one of the city’s most sought-after fine dining establishments.

The indoor seating area is sophisticated and elegant, with atmospheric dimmed lighting and dark furnishings. Though I’ve never actually dined al fresco here, mainly because it’s pretty challenging to secure a seat outside in the summer, the terrace always seems to have a lovely vibe.

I came by with a friend a few months back, and we opted to share the red prawn carpaccio and Mediterranean lobster pasta. The sommelier suggested pairing these with Ciampagnis chardonnay, and the jasmine and citrus notes complemented the flavors of the dishes beautifully.

First up was the red prawn carpaccio, presented with a colorful lineup of herbaceous roasted pumpkin and tart grapefruit. Vibrantly red and blended with briny oyster mayonnaise, the prawns were firm and fresh, with a subtle sweetness.

This was followed up by a mouthwatering serving of homemade tagliolini that served as the perfect base for the plum tomato and basil-infused lobster. The juicy tomatoes and pungent basil enhanced the delicate flavors of the succulent, savory lobster meat.

Pierluigi (€€€€) Piazza de’ Ricci, 144, 00186 Roma RM, Italy – Open every day, 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm to 11:30 pm

Trattoria del Pesce

Trattoria del Pesce is a fabulous fish restaurant situated between the neighborhoods of Portuense and Gianicolense. Though it’s a little outside the city center, I promise it’s worth the journey, as some of the best seafood in Rome can be found here.

At Trattoria del Pesce, the team has managed to create a dining area that’s bright and modern without sacrificing its homely and warm ambiance. I love how they’ve balanced the white tiled walls and greyscale wooden floors with off-white decor.

The menu here typically features seasonal catches from the Lazio region, and the last time I was there, my server recommended some of the scampi dishes. After a little back and forth, I went for the scampi linguine, as the addition of pistachios sealed the deal for me.

As always, the service was prompt, and I was savoring this hearty pasta dish in no time. An explosion of clean, summery flavors; I couldn’t get enough of the zesty citrus sauce and how it elevated the mildness of the scampi

Topped with crunchy, earthy pistachios, this dish also packed a punch with its textures.

Trattoria del Pesce (€€€)Via Folco Portinari, 27, 00151 Roma RM, Italy, Closed Monday. Open Tuesday to Wednesday, 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm, Thursday to Sunday, 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm, 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm

VII Coorte

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Photo credit: VII Coorte

If you’re looking for a taste of Sicily right in the heart of Trastevere, VII Coorte is the place to be. I’ve been a frequent visitor here since my first visit a few years back and have been raving about it ever since. 

They have a gorgeous, understated dining area filled with crisp white linen and sleek furniture, but I recommend trying to snag a seat on the terrace. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy a culinary extravaganza while admiring the pastel-colored buildings dotting the surrounding streets.

Seafood dishes are not all these guys offer, though I rarely veer away from the oceanic fare whenever I dine here. I was strolling by just a few weeks ago, and though I was only a little peckish, I couldn’t help but stop by when I spotted a few empty seats.

Craving something light, I chose the prawn-filled panelle. These classic Sicilian cornflour fritters are delightful in their own right. Yet, when they’re stuffed with rich red prawns, umami sea urchin-based mayonnaise, and gently acidic tomato confit, they’re on a whole other level.

VII Coorte (€€) Piazza Sidney Sonnino, 29, 00153 Roma RM, Italy, open Tuesday to Thursday, 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Friday to Monday, 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm

Il San Lorenzo

Just a five-minute walk from Piazza Navona is Il San Lorenzo, an upscale spot that happens to whip up some of the best seafood in Rome. Il San Lorenzo is sure to impress if you’re a foodie looking for an unforgettable seafood-inspired dining experience.

High ceilings, luxe furnishings, and exposed stone features characterize this swanky eatery, and funky modern art adds a quirky touch to the dining room. Top-tier service is a given here, and any time I’ve visited, the team has gone the extra mile, offering suggestions and wine pairings.

I started with the amberjack tartare, and after struggling to decide between the seafood pasta dishes and seabass for my main course, the latter won out. 

The tartare was exquisite, from the robust, buttery flavors of the incredibly fresh fish to the immaculate presentation alongside nutty avocado and spicy black pepper. Blended with a pinch of sour lemon and pungent olive oil, the amberjack had a well-balanced flavor profile.

Next was the pan-seared branzino sea bass accompanied by thick, mashed potato. Not only was the fish’s flaky consistency just right, but the careful additions of sweet garlic, bold oregano, and peppery thyme added new layers to its flavor.

Il San Lorenzo (€€€€) Via dei Chiavari, 4/5, 00186 Roma RM, Italy, open Monday, 7:30 pm to 12:00 am, Tuesday to Sunday, 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm to 12:00 am

Crab Fish Restaurant

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Photo credit: Crab Fish Restaurant

Fancy sampling some drool-worthy shellfish after taking in the majesty of the Colosseum? Crab Fish Restaurant is mere steps from the famed amphitheater, making it an ideal spot to rest up and indulge in some marine delicacies after an afternoon of explorations.

This is a chic spot with neutral decor, an expansive dining area, and charming touches like fairy lights and gold-colored finishes. However, with such a desirable location, it gets super busy, so it may not be the best choice if you’re hoping for a quiet, relaxed meal.

I’ve had the lobster risotto a bunch of times here, and it was my dish of choice once again on my last visit. Decadent and oh-so-filling, the risotto is something I usually only go for when I’m feeling famished, so I’d advise you to come hungry if you’re keen to try it for yourself!

Despite the slew of bustling tables, the waitress quickly arrived with my food. Every bite was satisfying, nourishing and packed with creamy arborio rice, salty lobster, and tangy stracciatella cheese

The dish included a black garlic cream, and its sharp, balsamic flavors were sensational.

Crab Fish Restaurant (€€€) Via Capo d’Africa, 2, 00184 Roma RM, Italy, Closed Monday. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 12:15 pm to 11:00 pm

Crispi 19

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Photo credit: Crispi 19

Crispi 19 is a beloved seafood restaurant in Rome’s Trevi neighborhood and is less than a ten-minute stroll from the area’s namesake fountain. Not your typical eatery, the chefs at Crispi 19 have a menu full of innovative takes on classic dishes while still offering some traditional favorites.

The restaurant’s nautical-themed frescoes and pale color palette make for a laidback and stylish set-up. Amongst the clusters of tables are white-washed wine cabinets and a slick bar, all of which I think reflect the eclectic nature of the menu.

I’ve always been eager to come here after hearing stellar reviews from fellow foodies, and I finally made it this last year. After spotting the spaghetti clams, a long-time favored option of mine, I was curious about how it was paired with bottarga, a cured fish roe pouch, and I just had to try it.

Thanks to the saline bottarga, all the delectable flavors of old-school spaghetti with clams, like the mineral taste from the clams and soft, lemony sauce, were given a new lease of life. Made from grey mullet, this delicacy was intense without overshadowing the gentleness of the dish.

Crispi 19 (€€€)Via Francesco Crispi, 19, 00187 Roma RM, Italy, Closed Tuesday. Open Wednesday to Monday, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Da Benito e Gilberto

Ask any local where to find the best seafood in Rome’s Prati district, and I’ll bet many of them will point you toward Da Benito e Gilberto. A family-run restaurant, Da Benito e Gilberto has been supplying the finest seafood fare to loyal patrons for almost 50 years.

Every time I step inside, the staff greet me with the warmest welcome. Teamed with photo-covered walls and a cozy seating area, Da Benito e Gilberto gives off the most wholesome vibes. Judging by their long list of celebrity clientele, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one who thinks so!

The menu includes all the finest and freshest seafood, including sea urchins, oysters, salmon, and squid. While I’ve never been disappointed with the food here, the fisherman-style mussels are particularly tasty. 

Cooked up in a way that mirrors how a fisherman might prepare them, the mussels are placed in a steaming broth of flavorful ingredients. Each mouthful had hints of floral white wine and zingy tomatoes, with some subtle touches of aromatic parsley and woodsy rosemary. 

These tastes complemented the brininess of the mussels, which had a chewy yet velvety texture.

Da Benito e Gilberto (€€€) Via del Falco, 19, 00193 Roma RM, Italy, Closed Monday and Sunday, Tuesday to Saturday, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm

Conclusion

An underrated city for seafood lovers, Rome doesn’t quite enjoy the same glory as its neighbors in southern Italy. If you ask me, the best seafood restaurants in Rome could give eateries in the likes of Sardinia and Sicily a run for their money, but maybe I’m biased after living here for so long.

Don’t take my word for it, though, and sample the delights of Rome’s seafood offerings for yourself.



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