We Romans take Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch very seriously.
Official preparations for Christmas begin on December 8, the day of the Immacolata. This is when we put up our Christmas trees (the Vatican included!), and families inevitably start planning Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch.
If you’re traveling to the Eternal City for the holidays, it may seem hard to find a restaurant open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But not to worry—it’s not impossible! We’ve rounded up six restaurants where you can enjoy some memorable Christmas meals in Rome.
Where to eat in Rome on Christmas Eve
La vigilia di Natale, or Christmas Eve, is a major celebration in Rome. The protagonist of the menu? Seafood! Families call their local grocers and pescherias days—sometimes weeks—in advance to order fresh fish to serve on Christmas Eve! So what better way to embrace Italian tradition than by dining in one of the city’s seafood restaurants?
Il Tempio di Iside
This seafood institution not far from the Colosseum is the perfect place to enjoy a cozy Christmas Eve dinner. Step inside to feel the holiday cheer!
The restaurant’s setting is warm and refined, with brick walls and white tablecloths. Dive into the menu to explore delicious seafood options, from the tuna tartare and cruditè platter to the clam pasta with truffle shavings.
What’s great about Il Tempio di Iside is the simplicity of the cuisine, which allows the high quality ingredients to shine. And for the service, expect a friendly and professional staff that will truly make your Christmas Eve dinner a memorable one.
Wine connoisseurs, prepare for a wine selection that will definitely not disappoint. Because what kind of Christmas Eve dinner would it be without some great Italian wine?
If you’re on the hunt for a more romantic option for your Christmas Eve dinner, search no more. Casa Coppelle is the ideal place to reserve your table.
Just steps away from the Pantheon, this elegant restaurant with dimmed lights and background music truly creates the romantic atmosphere you were looking for. Because what’s Christmas if not the time to share great moments with your loved ones?
The menu is a mix of Roman and French dishes, as is the restaurant’s setting: brick walls with giant portraits, velvet chairs and plush seats. Start off with a cruditè platter to share followed by the irresistible tagliolini al basilico (basil pasta) with lobster and confit tomatoes. As for the wine selection, it’s a journey between the vineyards of France and Italy.
Unique al Palatino
A stone’s throw away from Palatine Hill lies the four-star Kolbe Hotel, a former monastery-turned-luxe hotel with a great restaurant: Unique al Palatino.
Step inside to be catapulted into a setting that hovers in between the past and present. Arched ceilings with a mix of wooden and red accents dominate the interior dining room, creating a warm and refined atmosphere.
The menu boasts seafood and meat options, but also delicious vegetarian dishes. Start out with the marinated shrimp with passion fruit, or the yummy eggplant millefeuille with basil sauce.
Where to eat in Rome on Christmas Day
Il pranzo di Natale, or Christmas Day lunch, is probably the most important Christmas celebration in Rome. Families reunite for a meal that lasts for hours, which later turns into a festive game-playing evening complete with tombola and mercante in fiera. Traditionally, this is when homemade tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth) are served along with delicious meat dishes.
Eggs is where innovation and tradition meet.
Located in the Trastevere neighborhood, this local gem will make your Christmas Day lunch an unforgettable one. A charming and warm setting with just 60 seats, this restaurant boasts a simple yet original concept entirely dedicated to organic eggs. And with Chef Barbara Agosti at the helm, you know you’re in for a special treat.
While it’s known for its spectacular carbonara menu (yes, there is a whole menu dedicated to 10 different carbonaras), Eggs has a wide range of other amazing dishes. Must-tries? The the omelette roll with black truffle and Piedmontese fassona tartare—and the carbonara, of course!
Cozy and rustic, this trattoria in the Testaccio neighborhood cooks up dishes filled with flavor! While it’s famous for being a great seafood spot, La Torricella also serves some amazing Roman primi and juicy meat dishes, too. From the cacio e pepe and the amatriciana to the traditional lamb with potatoes, you’re in for a true Christmas Day feast at La Torricella.
Sitting in the marvelous Piazza di Pietra overlooking the remains of the Temple of Hadrian, you’ll find this cozy osteria where you can taste the flavors of the past.
Osteria dell’Ingegno’s mission is to make its customers feel at home. And with its mix of traditional and innovative Roman dishes ranging from homemade pastas to desserts, they definitely accomplish it. The menu is a triumph of fresh seasonal ingredients and high quality meats and fish.
To pair with your Christmas meal, a wide range of wines from regional and national wineries await you, as well as a good selection of natural and organic wines. After lunch, stroll through the historic center (you’re right in the heart of it!) where the holiday vibes will be more present than ever.Want our insider’s guide to eating in Rome? Just add your email address in the form below! ADD_THIS_TEXT
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.