This blog post was originally posted on February 6, 2019 and was updated on October 28, 2020.
Trastevere is Rome’s most charming neighborhood, and that’s saying a lot.
A bit overrun with tourists and students, yes—but no one who’s walked its winding streets can deny there’s something magical about it.
The word Trastevere literally means “across the Tiber,” as this quarter is separated from the historic center by the Tiber river. One of Rome’s oldest neighborhoods, in this millennium it’s gradually transformed from a proletarian residential area, famously proud of its generations-long inhabitants, to a more nightlife-heavy one frequented by both American students and young Romans.
The architecture is still living, accumulated beauty—all medieval stone and faded orange and cobblestone—and many of the old caffès and bakeries are still going strong. Any trip to Rome should involve a day spent wandering around among the narrow side streets of Trastevere, and a stop or two for a meal.
Here’s a guide to the best places to eat in Trastevere, from family-run trattorie to the ideal post-bar snack.
The best places to eat in Trastevere
1. La Tavernaccia da Bruno
Located in the far south of Trastevere, near the train station, La Tavernaccia (literally, “The ugly tavern”) is an example of how good simple food can be.
Founded by Bruno Persiani, originally from Umbria, it’s now run by his two daughters, Paola and Patrizia. Patrizia married a Sardinian, who captains the kitchen along with their son. The food is a celebration of Italian regional cuisine, mostly Roman with some Umbrian and Sardinian notes.
When you walk into the noisy, stone-walled space, you’ll be greeted by the proprietress carving slices off a whole prosciutto. Get some of those for an antipasto, along with a warm focaccia. Then a plate of pappardelle with wild boar, or the best gricia in the city, with fresh thick spaghetti, pecorino, and big chunks of rendered pancetta.
You must save room for meat, though. Suckling pig, veal brisket and goat, slow-roasted in the wood oven, arrive crispy and weeping juice over a pile of roasted potatoes. The service is always friendly and genuine, the wine pours generous, and the atmosphere truly homey.
2. Da Carlone
When you sit down at Da Carlone (Via della Cisterna, 13), the mustachioed proprietor will most likely saunter over and ask you “Sparkling or still water? Red or white? And a carbonara?”
Although there is much good cucina romana to be had at this old joint, it’s the spaghetti alla carbonara that’s the main attraction, and for good reason. Carlone uses fresh spaghetti, tossed with a large amount of pecorino, rendered guanciale, and a bit less egg than most places, so that the bottom of the plate is streaked with golden sauce rather than swimming in egg yolk.
The portion is almost-comically large—you’re not going to want a second course—but the combination of rich pasta and glowing pepper makes it impossible to not finish your plate.
Trapizzino serves its namesake sandwich: a triangle of crisp pizza bread that’s squeezed open and stuffed with a variety of fillings—meatballs, eggplant parmigiana, Roman-style oxtails and even tender veal tongue in salsa verde (trust us, you won’t be disappointed). They also make wonderful supplì, the traditional Roman fried-rice ball.
Like the other locations, Trapizzino Trastevere has a huge fridge of craft beers. What sets it apart is the space. Cavernous and tavern-like, it’s a place where you can really sit down and enjoy your beer and sandwich. Or two … it’s hard to resist ordering another one.
4. Da Teo
For those seeking a fun, elbows-on-the-table dinner in Trastevere, complete with wisecracking waiters and a lovely outdoor terrace, there’s no better spot than Da Teo. And, oh yeah, the food is really good, too.
Teo offers classic Roman trattoria fare—fried artichokes, chicken with bell peppers, and bitter puntarelle dressed with oil and anchovy. The best plates are the pastas, including perfect rigatoni either all’amatriciana (tomato, guanciale and pecorino) or alla norcina (a smooth sausage ragù enriched with cream).
In spring, you must end the meal with fragoline: tiny wild strawberries from the Roman countryside, served with a mascarpone cream as yellow as a setting sun.
5. Da Enzo al 29
We’ll admit, Da Enzo isn’t the easiest place to get a table. As one of the best places to eat in Trastevere, they only accept reservations for the tourist-heavy 7:30 p.m. dinner seating (Romans tend to eat 90 minutes later), and so afterwards and at lunch, you’re going to have to wait in line.
But the Roman food served at this studio-sized place is special. An example: the carciofo alla romana. At most restaurants, the artichoke is soft-boiled in water spiked with mint and garlic, and then plopped on the plate, still dripping with clear poaching water. At Enzo, the artichoke is just cooked through, and then dressed with a glossy emulsion of poaching liquid, oil and mint that tastes as vividly green as it looks.
Everything else—carbonara, tiramisù, and meatballs among our favorites—is prepared with a similar attention to technique and ingredients that makes Enzo one of Rome’s best trattorie.
6. Ai Marmi
Ai Marmi is a Roman institution. Affectionately nicknamed “the morgue” because of its marble-heavy interior, Marmi has been serving Roman-style pies for over half a century at the same spot right on the Viale Trastevere.
Unlike thick, chewy Neapolitan-style pizza, a Roman pizza is as thin and crisp as a cracker, and Marmi’s wood oven turns out hundreds of them a night. Start your meal with supplì, fried salt cod, and uber-Roman beans cooked with pork rinds, which should be washed down with cold beer.
Marmi is extremely popular, especially on summer evenings when everyone wants to sit outside, but the wait is rarely more than 30 minutes. Is Marmi the best pizzeria in Rome? Definitely not. But sitting outside with a Marmi pizza and a Peroni, people-watching and chatting with your friends … there’s no better way to pass a Sunday night.Want our insider’s guide to eating in Rome? Just add your email address in the form below! ADD_THIS_TEXT
Despite the name, Giancarlo was actually born and raised in Boston. He now lives in Rome, where he works as a freelance journalist. Passionate about Rome’s food, history and culture, he can usually be found with a good book and, depending on the time of day, an espresso or an Aperol Spritz. Never Campari.