While Rome certainly isn’t short on traditional hole-in-the-wall trattorie and osterie, it also offers a host of unique dining experiences that are sure to impress visitors to the Eternal City—especially for dinner. Ever dined among ancient ruins? Or sipped Prosecco while overlooking the Eternal City’s skyline? Read on for some of our picks of the best out-of-the-ordinary dining experiences in Rome.
Flavio al Velavevodetto
While the cuisine at this Testaccio osteria is classic Roman fare (think rigatoni all’amatriciana and coda alla vaccinara, or oxtail), its location is pretty exceptional: the dining rooms are built within Monte dei Cocci, an ancient landfill made up of 53 million terracotta containers (or amphorae) that date back to the Roman Empire. Glass panels along the walls reveal an up-close view of the perfectly layered terracotta shards. If you need another reason to go, Flavio’s carbonara was rated the second best in the city.
Via di Monte Testaccio, 97
Mon-Sun 12:30-3:00pm, 7:30-11:30pm
For true haute cuisine in Rome, look no further than La Pergola. The only three-star Michelin restaurant in the city, La Pergola is helmed by Bavarian chef Heinz Beck, who sublimely re-interprets Mediterranean cuisine. Standout dishes include spaghetti cacio e pepe with red prawns marinated in lime, fried zucchini flowers with caviar and a saffron consomme, and his signature fagottelli carbonara. A stunning panoramic view of St. Peter’s Basilica makes a pricey meal here worth every cent.
Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101
Tues-Sat 7:30-11:30pm. Closed Monday and Sunday.
Ristorante da Pancrazio
History buffs are in for a treat: opened in 1922, da Pancrazio is built among the Theater of Pompeii’s ruins where the infamous Julius Caesar was murdered. Besides it’s historical setting, the restaurant’s entrees are also divine: tuck into a dish of homemade artichoke filled ravioli or their filetto di rombo, white fish cooked with almonds and tomatoes. Save room for their pear and cinnamon cake!
Piazza del Biscione, 92
Mon-Sun 12:00-3:00pm, 7:00pm-12:00am
Sacro e Profano
A short walk from the Trevi Fountain, this restaurant is housed in a deconsecrated church that dates all the way back to 1199. Frescoes, an organ and a pulpit still adorn the interior, and the kitchen’s Calabrese cuisine is spot on. Try a pizza with ‘nduja, a spicy Calabrese sausage, or their squid-ink pasta. An open kitchen allows you to watch the chefs at work.
Via dei Maroniti, 29
Open Tues-Sun 12:00-3:00pm, 6:00-11:00pm. Closed Monday.
Found in the offbeat student district of San Lorenzo, SAID is part chocolate factory, part restaurant. The restaurant has been open for over nine decades and is family run, and the menu features a wealth of both sweet and savory dishes starring, you guessed it, chocolate. Selections include bitter chocolate ravioli, tartare of beef tenderloin with 70 percent dark chocolate and for dessert, hot chocolate served with a chocolate spoon or many other tempting options.
Via Tiburtina, 135
Tel 06 446 9204
Open Tues-Sun, 10:00am-1:00am. Closed Monday.
And for another unique dining experience, why not try our…
Cook Dinner with Nonna Cooking Class
Instead of eating what others cook for you while in Rome, why not try your hand at cooking your own Italian meal. Learn how to make traditional Italian and Roman dishes from our resident Nonnas, and maybe learn a little Italian on the way. And after you’ve made the food, you get to sit down to eat it. Our cooking classes are a great way to immerse yourself into Italian culture and can allow you to take away more than just a few photographs.
Learn more about Cooking with Nonna here: eatingeurope.com/rome/