When we Romans want to indulge in authentic local cuisine, there’s no place like a trattoria: a rustic, family-run restaurant with generous portions.
Cucina romana is known for its simple ingredients, and for the most heavenly antipasti, classic primi and hearty secondi, these no-frills, family-run spots are your best bet. So you don’t waste valuable time wandering the Eternal City on the hunt for the best trattoria in Rome, we’ve rounded up seven of our favorites, from Trastevere to Testaccio.
1. Trattoria Da Teo
Da Teo is tucked away in an ivy-covered palazzo overlooking a small piazza in Trastevere’s less-touristy section.
Go for the fried-to-perfection antipasti, from supplì and fried cod to the delicious olive ascolane. Then, stay for the mains. The gricia pasta is spectacular, the fettuccine with artichokes is the best we’ve ever had, and their seafood and meat dishes are unrivaled.
The wine selection is top-notch, but for a more budget-friendly option, go for the house wine (Da Teo’s is quite good)! When the weather is nice, dine al fresco in the lovely outdoor area on the quaint piazza. If you don’t have a reservation, good luck finding a table—this place is popular!
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2. Flavio al Velavevodetto
Flavio al Velavevodetto has taken Rome by storm with its perfect cacio e pepe: al dente, creamy and oh-so-tasty. Located on Monte dei Cocci Hill in Testaccio, it’s much larger than its fellow trattorias with more than 200 seats (that said, we still recommend reserving)!
In two of the indoor dining rooms, you can even see the remains of the broken terracotta Ancient Roman jars depicting Monte Testaccio Hill. In the summer, be sure to reserve a table on the outdoor terrace for a moonlit dinner.
Apart from the cacio e pepe, must-orders are the fried, breaded, marinated lamb cutlets, the delicious prosciutto di Parma and the gricia pasta (complete with the crispiest guanciale you’ll ever eat). Be sure to leave room for desserts: the tiramisù by the glass is unforgettable, and shouldn’t be shared under any circumstances!
3. Osteria Le Mani in Pasta
This small, no-frills restaurant in Trastevere is one of our favorite trattorias in Rome. Set on two floors and with a small open kitchen, it’s the ultimate trattoria experience. The service is excellent, and trust us when we say that the friendly waiters will truly make your experience one to remember.
But let’s get to the food, shall we? Don’t expect to find just your typical carbonara and amatriciana at Le Mani in Pasta. This trattoria is known especially for its delicious seafood.
From the sea bass carpaccio with truffle shavings, to the amazing tagliolini pasta with shrimp, cherry tomatoes and sea bream, you’re in for a treat. And that’s not to mention the delicious oysters, either.
Since the kitchen is quite small, the food can take a while. No worries, though—their friendly staff will bring you something to nibble on until your food arrives! Again, reservations are highly recommended here.
4. Da Enzo al 29
Da Enzo al 29 is known for its notorious long lines. The reason? Reservations are only accepted at 7:30 p.m., which is on the early side for Italian dinner times—good to know if you want to eat like a local in Rome!
The lines are proof, though, that this tiny trattoria is one of the best in Rome when it comes to traditional cucina romana.
Not sure what to order? Listen to the owners; they know what they’re talking about. From the carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-style artichokes) to the gricia pasta and the saltimbocca alla romana (veal with prosciutto and sage), they’re serious about Roman cuisine here.
This restaurant is as no-frills as it gets: just a few indoor and outdoor sidewalk tables, spartan tablecloths and cutlery, and a friendly and efficient service. It’s the trattoria experience everyone talks about.
5. Osteria da Fortunata
Sitting on Via del Pellegrino, a stone’s throw away from Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, Osteria da Fortunata is the place to go for delicious Roman primi.
It’s on the small side, with just a few sidewalk tables and an indoor dining room. You’ll likely be greeted by Antonia herself—she’s the mastermind behind all the homemade pasta here, from tagliolini to strozzapreti!
While the menu has all the classic Roman pasta dishes, they also have seasonal specials of the day. The carbonara with zucchini flowers is absolutely amazing if you happen to be around in late spring or summer. Their second courses are also winners, from the straccetti (beef strips) with arugula and Parmesan, to the coniglio alla cacciatora (rabbit stew).
Just a heads up, this trattoria’s prices are a tad higher than usual—but hey, food this great is totally worth it. As for the reservation policy, it’s first come, first served!
6. Da Felice a Testaccio
We can’t talk about the best trattorias in Rome without mentioning another legendary spot: Da Felice a Testaccio, a family-run trattoria founded in 1936 by Felice Trivelloni.
This place was made famous by the late Trivelloni’s caustic character. Legend says that if he didn’t like you, he would tell you the restaurant was “fully booked,” even if it was completely empty! However, he always made room for the working-class inhabitants of the Testaccio neighborhood that the restaurant calls home.
But stories aside, the food is as good as it gets. The most famous dish at Da Felice a Testaccio is without a doubt the cacio e pepe. The waiters bring in this bowl of tonnarelli pasta topped with pecorino cheese, set it on your table and start mixing away until the cheese is completely melted. The portions are served, and voilà—get ready to taste one of the best cacio e pepes in the world.
Unlike other trattorias, the service here is formal, the tableware is classy, and the setting is modern. It’s not a classic trattoria, but a fancier one. The menu is different each day of the week, but no worries—the classic primi are always there. Remember to reserve in advance.
7. Lo Scopettaro
This is one of the most ancient trattorias in Rome, with a pretty cool story behind it to boot.
One day, the wife of the owner put on a pot of pasta e fagioli for lunch. As it was cooking, the delicious scent of pasta flooded the streets, attracting a crowd of people asking to come in and eat. She soon started cooking more dishes until the broom workshop turned into a trattoria preparing delicious Roman dishes!
The quality of the ingredients is renowned throughout the Eternal City, and the recipes are classic Roman fare. Must-orders are the amatriciana, the pasta e fagioli and the delicious baked apple with red wine reduction!
Want to have lunch at one of our favorite trattorias in Testaccio? Join us on our Testaccio Neighborhood Food & Market Tour for the full Roman experience!
An Italian globetrotter with a gigantic crush on Rome, Federica has been travelling the world since birth and has lived in NYC, Tehran, Rome, Houston, Istanbul, London and Budapest. She loves sharing her passion for Italy’s food and culture, and has a personal travel blog about how to live la Dolce Vita around the world.