- Best for Romance: A great place to pop the question or just enjoy a romantic evening is Sapori del Lord Byron, in the Hotel Lord Byron, a stunner of a place that also just happens to serve excellent Roman food. The decor is as romantic as the atmosphere; it's all white lattice and bold Italian colors highlighted by masses of fresh flowers. The setting is in a Relais & Châteaux-member hotel, an Art Deco villa set on a residential hilltop in Parioli, an area of embassies and exclusive town houses at the edge of the Villa Borghese.
- Best of the Best: Looking for one restaurant where you can have that no-regrets, blow-the-budget meal? Look no further than Metamorfosi. Innovative Roman fare with South American flair (the chef is Colombian), the service and setting here is genteel, but the flavors are explosive (in a good way). And we love the way they add five or six little courses to the six-course tasting menu, just to be nice.
- Best Seasonal Menus: Market-fresh ingredients await you at Il Convivio, one of Rome's most acclaimed restaurants. The Troiano brothers are truly inspired, shopping the markets for the best in any season and adjusting their menus accordingly. The location is in walking distance of Piazza di Spagna.
- Best Offbeat Choice: A lay sisterhood of missionary Christians from five continents operates L'Eau Vive, where various popes have dined. A fine French and international cuisine is served in a subdued, refined atmosphere under frescoed ceilings. You never know what will be on the menu.
- Best Trattoria: Ditirambo, on Piazza della Cancelleria 4, has been around so long it's cited as the most authentic and typical of Roman trattorie. Its wine list is compiled from the major winegrowing regions of Italy, and all its bread, pasta, and desserts are homemade fresh daily. Whether it's the grilled fresh fish of the day or classic Roman fare like wild boar, the cuisine is vivacious, colorful, and market fresh.
- Best View: The chic Imàgo, in the Hotel Hassler, might be called "the rooftop of Rome." Its sweeping panorama of Ancient Rome from this hotel at the top of the Spanish Steps is reason enough to dine here. The cuisine is also sublime, the creation of a brilliant young chef who roams the world for inspiration. Even Italy's political leader, Silvio Berlusconi, can be seen here feasting on his favorite dish — pheasant ravioli with truffles.
- Best Wine List: The food is secondary to the fabulous wine list at the Trimani II Wine Bar. One of the best tasting centers in Rome for both French and Italian vintages, this elegant wine bar offers a dazzling array of wines at reasonable prices. The Trimani family has had a prestigious name in the wine business since 1821; just sit down and let the pouring begin.
- Best Value: Twenty euros gets you one of the finest fixed-price menus in Rome at the der Pallaro. Each dish is prepared by the chef-owner, Paola Fazi, who sternly urges her diners to "Mangia! Mangia!" The moment you're seated at the table, the dishes start to arrive — first a selection of antipasti; then the homemade, succulent pastas of the day; followed by such meat courses as tender roast veal. Everything's included, even a carafe of the house wine.
- Best Continental Cuisine: At La Terrazza dell'Eden, in the Hotel Eden, you'll dine on Continental cuisine that is both bold and innovative. The seasonal menu offers the most polished, sophisticated cuisine in Rome; perhaps you'll choose a "symphony" of seafood or a warm salad of grilled vegetables.
- Best Emilia-Romagna Cuisine: The area around Bologna has long been celebrated for serving the finest cuisine in Italy, and the little trattoria Colline Emiliane, maintains that stellar reputation among Romans. The pastas here are among the best in Rome, especially the handmade tortellini alla panna (with cream sauce) with truffles. The prosciutto comes from a small town near Parma and is considered by many the best in the world.
- Best Roman Cuisine: The tempting selection of antipasti alone is enough to lure you to Al Ceppo (the Log). Try such appetizers as stuffed yellow or red peppers, or finely minced cold spinach blended with ricotta. Only 2 blocks from the Villa Borghese, this is a dining address jealously guarded by Romans, who often bring friends from out of town here. They feast on the succulent lamb chops, charcoal-grilled to perfection, or other grilled meats, such as quail, liver, and bacon.
Best Seafood: Who says good seafood has to be pricey? The tab is as cozy as the ambiance at Osteria La Gensola in Trastevere. And the spaghetti with sea urchin may just be the best manifestation of that dish outside of Sicily.
- Best in the Jewish Ghetto: For centuries, Romans have flocked to the Jewish Ghetto to sample Jerusalem artichokes. No one prepares them better than Nonna Betta which serves savory Roman food, both kosher and non. Of course, you can order more than these deep-fried artichokes here. A full array of delights includes everything from stuffed squash blossoms to succulent spreads, served with an array of good Israeli wines.
- Best for People-Watching: Join the beautiful people — young actors, models, and artists from nearby Via Margutta — who descend at night on Piazza del Popolo. Young men with their silk shirts unbuttoned alight from sports cars to go on the prowl. At Dal Bolognese, not only can you take in this fascinating scene, but you'll also enjoy fine Bolognese cuisine as enticing as the people-watching. In the 1950s, Via Veneto was the place to be for Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and other Hollywood types. Today the celebs are long gone, and Via Veneto is more about overpriced tourist traps than genuine hip. But lots of folks like to stroll this strip anyway, or enjoy the passing parade from a table at a café.
- Best for a Cappuccino with a View: The best-located cafe in Rome is Di Rienzo, which stands directly on Piazza del Pantheon, fronting the Pantheon. On a summer night, there's no better place to be than "the living room" of Rome, as the square before you has been dubbed, as you sit and slowly sip your cappuccino.
- Best Picnic Fare: When the weather is cool and the day is sunny, it's time for an alfresco meal. For the makings of a picnic, head for the Campo de' Fiori open-air market, between Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Tiber. The luscious produce of Lazio is on display here right in the heart of the old city. If you wish, you can purchase vegetables already chopped and ready to be dropped into the minestrone pot. There are also several excellent delicatessen shops on the square. Visit one of the shops selling freshly baked Roman bread, pick up a bottle of wine and a companion — and off you go.
- Best Pizza: At Pizzarium Bonci, chef-entrepreneur Gabriele Bonci elevates the simple slice of pizza to extraordinary levels. There’s nothing fussy about the place, or the prices, but every single ingredient that goes onto or into a Pizzarium creation is carefully sourced and expertly prepared. It shows from the first bite.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.