Some of the best Italian restaurants in the world are in Rome. The cuisine of Rome is rich and rustic, with hearty meat dishes and terrific pastas. Two of the best known are Spaghetti alla Carbonara with pancetta, eggs, and Parmesan cheese, and Bucatini all’Amatriciana with tomatoes, pancetta, and onions.

Other Roman specialties you should try include stuffed fried zucchini blossoms, Saltimbocca, which is veal stuffed with prosciutto, cheese, and sage, and porchetta, or roast suckling pig. You’ll also find traditional Italian foods like gnocchi and pizza on most menus.

The best expensive Italian restaurants in Rome.

The proud recipient of three Michelin stars, La Pergola is generally acknowledged to be the best Italian restaurant in Rome. Located in the roof garden atop the Cavalieri Hilton, La Pergola has sweeping views of Rome and a beautiful frescoed ceiling in the elegant interior. Chef Heinz Beck is actually German, but he has wholeheartedly embraced Italian culinary tradition and used it as a launching pad for his creations. You’ll find everything here from the simplest tortellini or tomato salad to an ambitious duck-liver scallop with crisp pigeon. The 48,000-bottle wine cellar and the service are both superb. Make reservations well in advance and take a credit card with a high ceiling.

Pantheon

Conveniently located near the Pantheon, Il Convivio is one of the best Italian restaurants in Rome. It’s a traditional, formal place with old-world elegance and service. The clientele leans heavily toward affluent Italian executives. The kitchen’s attention to detail is apparent even in standards like risotto and fava beans. Roasted pigeon and duck dishes are top notch. And organ meats, which are popular in Rome, are as good as you’ll get.

Although fish is not as popular in Rome as it is in Naples or Sicily, Rome does have a very good seafood restaurant called Quinzi & Gabrieli. It’s in a 16th-century building not far from the Pantheon, and the terrace opens onto a small square. The fish couldn’t get any fresher – chances are, it was swimming in one of the tanks before it made its way to the kitchen. Clams (vongole) in a garlicky wine broth or calamari are a great way to start your meal, which could be perfectly cooked swordfish or sea bass. The three rooms are painted with frescoes of Portofino, Capri, and Elba. If you love seafood, this is your best bet in Rome.

The best affordable Italian restaurants.

Piazza Navona

Located on Piazza della Coppelle, not far from Piazza Navona, Maccheroni serves traditional Roman dishes and specialties from other regions of Italy as well. The most popular dish here is the Spaghetti Carbonara. But triofie al pesto, which originates in Santa Margherita Ligure, is another standout. The rustic interior is cozy in winter, and if you’re seated inside, you can watch the chefs at work. On a nice day, take one of the tables outside and enjoy the action on the piazza.

Owned by married couple Agata Parisella (who cooks) and Romeo Caraccio (who manages the dining room), Agata e Romeo has all the charm of a family-run place. The cooking here is modern, but steeply routed in tradition. Expect dishes like oxtail stew, rabbit croquettes, and inventive pastas. The modern décor is a nice change, and the restaurant is centrally located near the Vittorio Emanuele Monument (the dentures). Try to save room for the especially good desserts.

For the price, Antico Arco serves some of the best food in Rome. Above Trastevere on the Gianicolo Hill, Antico Arco serves imaginatively prepared rabbit, duck, and pheasant, in addition to the expected meats and pasta dishes. Chef Patricia Mattei uses lots of fresh vegetables and herbs, and her flavors are clean and bright — the duck breast starter is a must have. Antico Arco has a good wine list, and service is friendly and professional. There’s no terrace, but the attractive interior was redone in 2007. Reservations are required.

Located in the old courtyard of a 16th-century palazzo, Casa Bleve is the most elegant wine bar in Rome. It has one of the best selections of wine – both by the bottle and the glass – in town. But the lunchtime antipasto bar here is equally appealing. Platters filled with rolled veal tonnato, braciole, turkey rolls, marinated vegetables, cheeses, cured meats, and Sicilian desserts beckon. Indicate what you want to one of the servers, and he’ll compose a plate for you. It’s a great way to sample lots of Italian foods without breaking the bank.

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