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The Best Dining Experience in Rome

The Best Dining Experience in Rome

EUROPE, FOOD + WINE, ITALY

My company is one of those who believes that their staff will work better if they offer rewards of some kind and this year I was the lucky winner of two airline tickets to Rome, as well as three nights’ accommodation. Because I have always had a love for Italy I can actually speak the language and was delighted by the destination! Not everybody might have as much luck, but it doesn’t mean you can’t go to Rome, too – just remember to check Discountrue.com from time to time for Priceline coupons that might just make your trip there possible!

Of course, there are plenty of excellent restaurants in Rome, but it’s not always easy to choose which ones to visit, and the time we have is usually limited. The Michelin stars ones are great, but it doesn’t mean that’s where the world ends! Sometimes you will find places that will surprise you with their experience, even if haven’t been widely recognized yet. In any case, here is MY list of the best customer friendly restaurants in Rome!

 

Take Your Time

Photo Courtesy of Take Your Time
Photo Courtesy of Take Your Time 

 

Although they do serve other dishes, Take Your Time focuses on antipasto or cold cut platters. Thinly sliced cured and aged cold meats, different cheeses and other ‘nibbly’ food from every corner of Europe, the kind of thing you’d find at a luxury Mediterranean deli and don’t need a knife and fork for. And the staff know everything about every item on the menu so be prepared to be educated!

When you walk in you’re welcomed by the manager who fortunately speaks English quite well. He chats with you for a while and based on what he learns recommends a wine or one of their impressive range of craft beers. I would suggest going with his recommendation because the drink we chose for ourselves was okay, while the drink he chose for us was incredible!

If you’re in a hurry then DON’T come here! The atmosphere is very relaxed, the furniture is an eclectic mix that shouldn’t work together but somehow does, and the prices are fair considering what you’re eating. At Take Your Time, you enter a stranger and leave feeling like part of the family, full to the gills and definitely on the tipsy side!

 

Il nido del Pettirosso

Photo Courtesy of Il nido del Pettirosso Restaurant
Photo Courtesy of Il nido del Pettirosso Restaurant

 

When you go to Rome you absolutely HAVE to have at least one fine dining experience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Michelin stars, celebrity chefs or fancy tablecloths! At Il nido del Pettirosso you get the finest dining in the most intimate of settings, and when I say intimate I mean it! The restaurant holds about twenty people and you can lean over for a chat with your neighbours!

Every item is freshly made with local produce and you can order a set menu which is paired with different wines, or choose your own individual dishes from a MASSIVE selection. This is NOT a dine and dash experience, we spent more than three hours enjoying our meal and were kept entertained by the very passionate owner, the music and our neighbours (slightly rowdy but hysterical!).

I suggest making a booking because this restaurant is full every night, with both tourists and locals frequenting it (always a good sign). The prices are fair, and the portions are more French (average) than Italian (gigantic!) and the food will melt in your mouth delicious. The food, the wine, the atmosphere – I would never forget it, even if my bill hadn’t come with a beautiful keepsake!

 

Club Machiavelli’s

Club Machiavelli
Club Machiavelli Fresh Pasta Dishes

 

For our next meal we decided that we wanted authentic Italian cuisine and Club Machiavelli’s fits that bill to a tee! You absolutely have to book well in advance because the place is always packed to capacity and we watched several people being turned away or not being able to make a reservation for before they returned home.

This is another restaurant who believes in fresh local produce, so fresh in fact that the menu changes every week (or is it every day?)! This may be why they have only three dishes per course and only three courses (9 dishes total), but it means that they can focus on quality and spend time creating their mouth-watering masterpieces that embody Italy in every bite!

The entrance is hidden away down an alley, and unfortunately only accepts cash but we were informed when we made our booking so that was alright. The chef owner is absolutely passionate about every dish and will spend ages explaining every one (in English!), the house wine is DIVINE and the prices are amazing. If you’re going to have one meal in Rome, then this is the place to get it!

 

Pizza Florida

Pizza Florida Rome
Pizza Florida Rome

 

If you are in Italy and you don’t have pizza then you need to have your head checked, and if you want the best pizza in Rome then Pizza Florida is the place to go! Their bases are crunchy on the bottom with a perfect soft slightly chewy centre and there are at least fifty to sixty different toppings to choose from (maybe more?)!

The best part is you pay by weight, order by slice and decide on the perfect size for you – so you can easily try all the flavour combinations that you’d like to! And the prices are so great that you can walk in with €50, eat until you burst and walk out with change! There is always a queue of mostly locals but the service is quick and the staff are extremely friendly.

You can find a seat if you’re willing to wait a bit for space, but I would suggest grabbing a couple of slices at a time, then heading across the road and using the concrete step and barriers around the Largo di Torre Argentina ruins and cat sanctuary as a makeshift bench. Then you can enjoy the most delicious pizza you’ll ever eat, while looking out for a furry feline playing in the ruins below!

 

Baguetteria del Fico

Photo Courtesy of Baguetteria del Fico
Photo Courtesy of Baguetteria del Fico

 

Baguetteria del Fico is basically a licensed deli sandwich bar, and if you’re looking for a great place to have lunch or dinner then you can’t go wrong here. The menu is extensive and it will take you at least 20 minutes to read through it then decide what you actually want to eat, and they have a huge range of craft beers and several wines to satisfy just about every taste.

You can order a variety of sandwiches (bruschetta, Panini, baguettes, etc.) or what I would call an antipasto platter (essentially the same thing without the bread!) while seated at the counter watching the youngish owner and his team prepare every element right in front of you – or you can have your order to go if you prefer.

If you’re unsure what to choose, let the owner or your waiter decide for you – but be honest about how much you can eat because the platter for one was easily enough for two! Your budget will adore the bill, even if you drink and eat more than you should. And if you’re lucky you might just get a little something extra on the house (we got a slice of homemade chocolate cake – sin on a plate!)!!

As you can see I didn’t go to a single Michelin starred restaurant and yet I still ate like a queen, I didn’t go over my food budget at all and by the time I got back I was a few pounds heavier – not that I minded or regretted a single bite! I absolutely adored my trip but I honestly think the entire experience was a thousand times better thanks to amazing food and wonderful venues. If you’re headed to Rome then these restaurants are perfect for you!

Last note: You are in Italy and things work differently so don’t expect speedy service (at least 90 minutes per meal) and be prepared to shout for your waiter when you want your bill!!

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

35 Comments

  1. Amer
    May 20, 2016 at 4:17 pm
    Reply

    This is awesome and a perfect timing. I’m going back to Rome in November. Definitely will check out these restaurants.

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      That’s wonderful! I hope you get a chance to try some of these out.

  2. Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers
    May 21, 2016 at 4:16 am
    Reply

    Oh yes I’m sure I would have been an even more productive employee with the incentive of a trip to Rome! With such fabulous options to eat and drink it could be hard to find the time to see the other famous local attractions.
    Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers recently posted…Aussie long weekend getaways off the beaten pathMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      I’m a foodie and although I enjoy great food and wine. You can’t pass up the opportunity to see the sites in Rome.

  3. Anda
    May 21, 2016 at 4:55 am
    Reply

    Lucky you, Carmen! Not a bad deal to get free airfare and three nights in Rome. As for the food, there are so many fabulous places where you can ruin your waist line in Rome, that I can’t even recount them. Italian food is irresistible.

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      That’s probably why I gained 10 pounds on my trip, all the great food in Italy.

  4. Carly
    May 21, 2016 at 7:14 am
    Reply

    Omg I’d die in Pizza Florida. 60+ toppings? I’d be all over that. Italy is so high on my travel list I’ve almost booked a trip there like 3 times just this month. You’re lucky to have gotten the trip as a reward!
    Carly recently posted…How To Spend 24 Hours in BrusselsMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      As much as I love pizza, I’m not a big fan of putting tons of toppings on it. I’m happy with just a plain cheese pizza as long as it’s good. 🙂 Don’t hesitate any longer, and book your trip to Rome.

  5. RaW | Ramble and Wander
    May 21, 2016 at 7:18 am
    Reply

    Ooh! How I wish my old company rewards its staff with air tickets & hotels! Anyways, for food, I usually just ask the hotel staff where they usually have their meals, not where they would usually recommend to hotel guests/tourists. Haven’t gone wrong with that, yet, haha, even when I was in Rome. Having said that, fine dining is fine every now and then, and Club Machiavelli sounds like a place I’d really love to try!
    RaW | Ramble and Wander recently posted…Malaysia: Top Things to Do and See in LabuanMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      I’ve done that too, ask the hotel staff for recommendations instead of the hotel concierge. I rather eat in a restaurant that the locals go too, instead of a tourist trap.

  6. Michele Peterson
    May 21, 2016 at 7:40 am
    Reply

    Some great choices here! I’ve pinned to save for my next trip to Rome. It’s abosolutely one of my favourite cities for food

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      We found so many great places to eat in Rome. My husband loved one restaurant that was at the bottom of the Spanish steps, but I can’t remember the name now. It had the best pasta dishes.

  7. Marta
    May 21, 2016 at 10:10 am
    Reply

    Glad to see you found so many great places! I am from Rome (although I now live abroad) and while there is a lot of good food there, it’s also quite easy to stumble upon tourist joints that do nothing to showcase real Roman food. I don’t know any of these places but will sure try Piza Florida, I am tempted!
    Marta recently posted…Where to eat in Madrid: 8 fantastic addressesMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      We like to venture off on side streets and wonder around until we find a restaurants that the locals are eating in. Those are the best finds in my book.

  8. Gemma
    May 21, 2016 at 2:08 pm
    Reply

    Aw man, I just ate a packet of crisps (chips) for dinner! We have a one night stop over in Milan very soon and I cannot wait to spend the time eating. I like the sound of that laid back antipasto!

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Antipasto salads are great because you get to sample small a little of everything. My favorites are the Italian cured meats, and the cheeses.

  9. Jenny
    May 21, 2016 at 3:32 pm
    Reply

    Oh this all looks so good! With so many places to eat in Rome it’s great to have some recommendations! Thanks!

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Nothing like having fresh pasta in Rome. I could of had that everyday.

  10. anna
    May 22, 2016 at 1:25 am
    Reply

    I swear Italy was the country that broke my backpacker’s budget!! Looks so good. Definitely need to try out some of the places you recommended.
    anna recently posted…A Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to SpainMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 22, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      I understand completely because some of the restaurants aren’t cheap in Rome. It’s money worth spending.

  11. Vicki Louise
    May 22, 2016 at 7:45 am
    Reply

    These places look incredible – and I feel hungry just reading about them! If this was the reward on offer I would be working my butt off!
    Vicki Louise recently posted…Top 15 Travel Bloggers Who DIDN’T Quit Their Jobs To TravelMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 24, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      It’s nice to be awarded with travel, it makes the trip even more special.

  12. Sara | Belly Rumbles
    May 22, 2016 at 8:38 pm
    Reply

    What an incredible incentive! Lovely round up of delicious places to eat in Rome, book marked for my next culinary adventure there. Thanks for the tips.
    Sara | Belly Rumbles recently posted…Agedashi Dofu (Tofu)My Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 24, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      Being a foodie we love exploring new restaurants that are off the beaten path. It hard to select just a few restaurants in Rome, when they have so many great ones.

  13. Laura
    May 23, 2016 at 12:59 pm
    Reply

    Such a lovely foodie post about Rome! I actually just posted about my travels there. I loved the city and I certainly think knowing where to eat is really handy.

    This post is very true ‘take your time’ and you’re right, there are so many lovely places on offer and hidden gems everywhere.

    Smelling out delicious food is always a great way to get a food feel if a restaurant is good also if you do dine out also and to see if a place is popular with smily faces (you can gage so much from peoples faces).

    Great review, Rome is a fantastic place and when I return I’ll have this to hand!

    Laura xo

    http://www.shehearts.net

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 24, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks Laura for the compliment. When we look for restaurants we usually walk around, and past a few before we circle back. We look at the people that are eating, and also at their plates to see if it looks good. I agree if the people are smiling and having a great time you know the place it good.

  14. KOcchipinti
    May 30, 2016 at 8:46 am
    Reply

    Thanks for the tips, especially about the pizza. I think most Americans don’t realize that Italian pizzas have ONE topping! If you want another topping, you need to get a slice of a different pizza. But with the smaller slices this is possible and also fun. Will definitely check out your recommendations when I go this summer.

    • Carmen Edelson
      May 31, 2016 at 8:50 am

      I really love cheese pizza, and prefer it plain than with all the extra toppings. Italian pizza is the best!

  15. Morgan
    June 9, 2016 at 5:03 pm
    Reply

    These places look absolutely amazing, and these dishes look ravishing! Rome is an incredible destination to visit with anyone you love. Every spot on every corner is gorgeous, and the city has so much to offer for everyone, especially all the delicious food. These pictures are great and do a great job reflecting the city’s unique dining areas. Very well done! Thanks so much for sharing your adventure!

    • Carmen Edelson
      June 11, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Thanks Morgan! I love being in Rome and like you said you’ll find in almost every corner a great dining experience.

  16. Brian
    November 16, 2016 at 9:46 am
    Reply

    Pizza Florida looks incredible! Really all these restaurants do, but I am a sucker for a good slice of pizza. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Aaron C.
    May 31, 2017 at 1:01 pm
    Reply

    That food looks delicious. I really enjoy how you wrote this it feels like I am really there! Thanks for writing.

    • Carmen Edelson
      June 3, 2017 at 7:18 am

      Thank you very much, Aaron!

  18. Heather
    June 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm
    Reply

    Rome is one of my top destinations, and I’ve always wanted to try authentic Italian cuisine, so Club Machiavelli’s will at least have to be one of our stops (if not all of the above!) Thanks for sharing these reviews!

    • Carmen Edelson
      June 6, 2017 at 5:27 am

      You’re very welcome, Heather! The food alone is worth a visit to Rome 😉

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