Near Vatican City—If you just want a quick, tasty sandwich before or after your Vatican safari, Duecento Gradi ★★, is a topnotch panino joint with lots of yummy choices, right across from the Vatican walls at Piazza Risorgimento 3 (tel. 06-39754239; Sun–Thurs 10am–2am; Fri–Sat 11am–5am).
Ancient Rome, Monti & Celio—For a cappuccino, a quick bite, or aperitivo snacking, head to the epicenter of Monti, La Bottega del Caffè ★★ (tel. 06-4741578) on lively Piazza Madonna dei Monti, open from 8am to the wee hours. When we hanker for something other than Italian food, we head to Maharajah ★★, an elegant Northern Indian eatery at Via dei Serpenti 124 (tel. 06-4747144).
Centro Storico & the Pantheon—Vegetarians looking for massive salads (or anyone who just wants a break from all those heavy meats and starches) can find great food at the neighborhood branch of L’Insalata Ricca, Largo dei Chiavari 85 (tel. 06-68803656; daily noon–midnight).
Tridente, the Spanish Steps & Via Veneto—The historic cafes near the Spanish Steps are saturated with history but, sadly, tend to be overpriced tourist traps, where mediocre slices of cake or even a cup of coffee or tea will cost 5€. Nevertheless, you may want to pop inside the two most celebrated institutions: Babington’s Tea Rooms (tel. 06-6786027; daily 10am–9:30pm), established in 1893 at the foot of the Spanish Steps by a couple of English signore, and Caffè Greco, Via dei Condotti 86 (tel. 06-6791700; daily 9am–9pm), Rome’s oldest bar, which opened in 1760 and has hosted Keats, Ibsen, Goethe, and many other historical cognoscenti.
Trastevere—Popular craft-beer bar Bir and Fud ★ also serves pizzas and traditional snacks like supplì (fried, stuffed rice croquettes) to hungry drinkers. It serves dinner daily and lunch Thursday through Sunday. Hearts and taste buds soar at Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti ★★ (Via della Luce 21; tel. 06-5803926), where Stefania and her family have been turning out delicate handmade cookies and cakes since the 1920s.
Around Termini—Mostly catering to dazed travelers toting wheeled suitcases and crumpled maps, restaurants around Termini don’t have to be good in order to bring in business.
Testaccio—The slaughterhouses of Rome’s old meatpacking district have been transformed into art venues, markets, and the museum MACRO, but restaurants here still specialize in (though are not limited to) meats from the quinto quarto (the “fifth quarter”)—the leftover parts of an animal after slaughter, typically offal like sweetbreads, tripe, tails, and other goodies you won’t find on most American menus. This is an area to eat cucina romana—either in the restaurants below or from street-food stalls in the Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio. Food-themed tours of Rome invariably end up here.
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.