The past two years have transformed the global dining scene, and the situation in Rome is no different. While some addresses have sadly closed, it is worth celebrating the courageous entrepreneurs who have withstood many challenges to launch new openings during the pandemic. I’ve enlisted Rome’s leading food writers to highlight new eateries that add a contemporary spin to the Eternal City. From neo-trattorias and natural wine bars to hip spots that serve up quality comfort food, here are the best new restaurants to try in Rome in 2022 (in alphabetical order).
Far from the crowds of Rome’s centro storico in the Prati neighborhood, Almatò has conquered the most demanding palates with an intriguing concept that pays homage to tradition, while using childhood memories as a secret ingredient. The name Almatò is an acronym that combines the names of its owners Alberto (Martelli), Manfredi (Custureri) and Tommaso (Venuti), three friends united by their love for rugby and innovative cuisine. The menu excels at meat and fish, but also features intriguing vegetarian creations. Some examples? Shrimp, melon and purple potato, or Vongole 2.0, a reinterpretation of the classic spaghetti with clams prepared without salt. There are two tasting menus, with 5 or 7 courses, and an extensive wine list curated by the maître and sommelier Riccardo Robbio.
Recommended by Francesca Feresin
With its aromatic plants, open kitchen, and a beautiful internal courtyard, Aromaticus is a vegetarian and vegan bistro you can’t miss in the heart of Trastevere. Open from lunch to dinner, the menu covers a wide range of soups, salads and sandwiches that combine Mediterranean and international flavors to wonderful effect. Beetroot noodles with cashew cream, carrot and ginger soup and miso-peanut ramen are just some of the delectable dishes you’ll find on the menu. The drinks menu has hard-to-find beverages like matcha milk and kombucha alongside a selection of organic wines.
Recommended by Lavinia Martini
The brainchild of brothers Alessandro and Marco Lucchini, Biondamara is a metropolitan brewery in Prati where craft beer accompanies a refined local cuisine. Beer is the protagonist here, either served on tap or incorporated into the inventive dishes created by chef Giacomo Zezza (of Michelin-starred restaurant Bistro 64). Many of Italy’s celebrity chefs, such as Max Mariola and Igles Corelli, have lent their imprint in the kitchen since Biondamara’s opening in summer 2021. Whether you stop by for aperitivo or dinner, this beer lounge offers plenty of options for meat and fish lovers, and vegetarians as well.
Recommended by Elyssa Bernard
Located in Rome’s ancient ghetto, Bottega Tredici is a contemporary gourmet restaurant set within historic walls. Born from the passion of longtime friendship of three young Romans, Roberto Bonifazi, Francesco Brandini and Daniele Gizzi, the restaurant is named after Italy’s lucky number 13 and identifies itself as a “good food laboratory”. Chefs Francesco and Roberto run the kitchen, while Daniele is a certified sommelier who curates the wine list. Here, Italian culinary tradition is maintained thanks to an emphasis on trusted suppliers and seasonal ingredients, and there is constant experimentation with the latest cooking techniques. Tasting menus are available with 4 or 6 courses and feature dishes items like smoked duck with blueberries, raspberries and rice and raw fish with avocado and lime. The wine list is extensive and features natural wines alongside legendary labels from north to south.
Recommended by Rowena Dumlao
Carnal is a succulent and enticing love letter to Latin America by Colombia-native chef Roy Caceres, whose impressive CV includes a Michelin star. This tiny and tasty resto is a rising star of its own, redefining “local flavor” by showcasing delicious delicacies from Central and South America. Its seasonal menu creatively mixes traditional Latin recipes and ingredients with top quality Italian products. For a deep dive into Caceres’ tapas-like portions of yucca, tacos al pastor, pluma di maiale, you’ll want to try 8 Colpi, the chef’s eight-dish tasting menu. Carnal captivates from the very first bite, and its relaxed vibe — with just a handful of tables and an open kitchen — will make you feel right at home.
Recommended by Erica Firpo
Rome’s Prati district has seen some of the city’s best new openings in the past year and Carter Oblio is one address you won’t want to miss. An ambitious restaurant that juxtaposes minimalist, Scandinavian décor and inspired, creative dishes, Carter Oblio offers an unforgettable gourmet experience at an unbeatable price. Chef Ciro Alberto Cucciniello has a talent for mixing and matching ingredients, and applying new techniques, that allow him to draw out a nuanced array of flavors from seemingly ordinary dishes. A carrot concoction, featuring pureed carrots cooked with malt orzo, carrot confit and melted caramel, is honestly one of the best dishes I’ve tasted — ever. You’ll want to order a tasting with drinks pairings, which feature craft beers and unfiltered wines from artisanal producers, for the full experience.
Recommended by Livia Hengel
Pizza al taglio occupies top tier status in Rome’s vibrant street food scene, and CasaManco serves up some of the best in town. This pizza-by-the-slice place started in Testaccio Market in 2016 and steadily developed a loyal fanbase thanks to its light, crunchy yet chewy dough – the result of a 100-hour leavening process – and inventive toppings. A second location, opened right before lockdown in March 2020, is now one of Trastevere’s most popular snack spots. It’s worth ordering small slices to taste a variety of pizza toppings. My favorites include pizza with mango, spicy ‘nduja sausage and stracciatella cheese, and a pizza rossa with battuto di erbe fresche, a bright blend of parsley, basil, and mint.
Recommended by Emma Law
In Italian, Circoletto can be translated to mean a “little social club”. But the word also invokes a sense of freedom and accessibility: a place where everyone is welcome. Owners Manuel and Nicolò Trecastelli, already known for their superb Roman trattoria Trecca in Ostiense, have created exactly this type of environment with Circoletto, a cool hangout that overlooks the ancient Circo Massimo. With the atmosphere of an Italian members-only club from the 1950s, this is the kind of place you’ll lose track of time in the company of good friends. The menu changes often, but you’ll find timeless favorites like pastrami sandwiches and meatballs stewed in tomato sauce, alongside a list of natural wines.
Recommended by Andrea Strafile
Created by the team behind Hotel Vilòn, the new Hotel Maalot near the Trevi Fountain is positioning itself as a restaurant with rooms, rather than a hotel with a restaurant. And that restaurant, Don Pasquale, is gaining acclaim for its stylish design and perfectly executed Roman classics. The space evokes an eclectic English colonial clubhouse with plush banquettes, a chandelier hanging from the greenhouse-style glass ceiling, and gallery walls featuring what seem to be Old Master paintings, but with an ironic twist. The talented young chef Domenico Boschi, who cut his teeth at Dulcamara in Ponte Milvio, focuses on beautifully presented versions of traditional recipes like cacio e pepe and eggplant parmigiana.
Recommended by Laura Itzkowitz
Natural wines are starting to pop up in many of Rome’s restaurants, but the city didn’t have a dedicate natural wine bar until L’Antidoto came along. Tucked away in one of Trastevere’s tiny alleys, it only has 3 tables and 5 counter seats, making it a cozy little spot. Valerio will help you pick the wine, while Flaviano prepares some delicious food to go with it. Both the menu and wine list change constantly based on seasonality, availability, and new discoveries – expect small plates with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Unlike other wine bars, L’Antidoto has wines available only by the bottle (not by the glass), encouraging you to slow down and take it easy after a day exploring Rome.
Recommended by Sophie Minchilli
Ercoli needs no introduction in Rome. Their flagship food store launched in the Prati almost a century ago before opening in Parioli, and now even Trastevere has its own. Here, Ercoli has transformed a former theatre into a 700m2 gourmand’s haven. It’s a deli, wine bar, bakery, gourmet food store and restaurant — and much more. Quite simply, come here for the pleasure of eating and drinking (or to buy what you need for eating and drinking!). Open daily from 7:30am-1:00am, stop by to feast on quality prosciutto and burrata or something more substantial, like fresh pastas, meat and fish tartars and decadent desserts.
Recommended by Maria Pasquale
Eufrosino explores Italy through regional recipes that chef Paolo D’Ercole has rediscovered, and faithfully reproduces, in his glassed-in kitchen overlooking a large dining room furnished in the style of old-fashioned billiard rooms. You’ll find comfort food, like Tuscan fried chicken, but the menu varies often according to the season and the availability of fresh ingredients, all rigorously selected by the chef and Chiara (his partner in life and business) at the local market that morning. The culinary journey is accompanied by sommelier Paolo Abballe who left his position in a Michelin-starred restaurants to entice diners with wine pairing tips and curious anecdotes. FYI: Eufrosino is the name of the patron saint of cooks.
Recommended by Saverio De Luca
A multicultural neighborhood in the center of Rome, Esquilino is best known for its colorful neighborhood market and for being a bit of a rough area. That image is changing with gentrification, and many new up-and-coming businesses have popped here in the past few years. One of these is Forno Conti & Co. Freshly opened at the end of last year, Forno Conti represents the best of a traditional Italian bakery, with a variety of breads and small pizzas, and something we have rarely seen in Rome before: flaky croissants, babkas, as well as freshly baked baguettes. There is much love for sourdough and rye loaves here, too. With its Scandinavian vibes and excellent coffee from the Roman coffee specialists Faro, Forno Conti brings a breath of fresh air to Roman breakfasts and work lunches.
Recommended by Saghar Setareh
Despite its prime location, just a 15-minute walk from St Peter’s Square, Osteria di Mare has remained a locals-only secret since opening last fall. This charming and affordable eatery features charming, shabby-chic décor and equally pretty plating from chef Daniele Faia, an expert in seafood. The restaurant offers some very enticing €16 two-course lunch menus, usually pairing a pinsa flatbread or fish-topped bruschetta with a seafood pasta or risotto. But the à la carte menu is equally affordable, and a €45 set menu for four courses is a steal. Try the gnocchi with chorizo and octopus for umami spice balanced by the sweetly caramelized seafood.
Recommended by Isobel Lee
A new-ish place on the edge of the Monti neighborhood, Rocco combines the best of old and new. It’s a classic Roman trattoria, with a subtle and stylish nod to the modern, and attracts a hip crowd. From the terrazzo floor and the perfect crease in the pressed white linen tablecloths to the heavy ceramic plates with a deep red stripe, the decor hits all the right notes of nostalgia without being fussy. Rocco’s blackboard menu changes daily but sticks to tradition with offerings that include plates of pasta like carbonara, cacio e pepe and amatriciana, seafood fresh from Anzio, and breaded lamb chops. The wine list features small producers from the Lazio and Abruzzo regions.
Recommended by Gillian McGuire
Rome street food idol Stefano Callegari, the founder of the popular Trapizzino sandwiches, proves he’s equally deft at sit-down dishes eaten with a knife and fork at his brand new restaurant Romanè. The menu showcases traditional comfort food gussied up in its Sunday best: think perfectly fried baccala cod and Broccoli Romanesco hummus and spaghettoni all’amatriciana flecked with extra crispy guanciale. The dish I’m predicting will be tenured is his fettuccine al tortellino, where Callegari transforms the flavors of a classic tortellino (nutmeg, parmesan, mortadella and prosciutto) into an extravagant primo. Lucky for me, Romane is a minute walk from my apartment. A special shoutout to Callegari and his co-owners who are genuinely delighted to chat with diners and pour them a glass of mirto amaro on the house at the close of the night.
Recommended by Alexandra Bruzzese