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!
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!
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!
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!
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
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!!