TripAdvisor has just named Rome’s Colosseum most popular tourist attraction in the world – and it’s the second year in a row the ancient monument has taken the top spot. In 2018, a record 7.6 million visitors (21,000 people a day!), passed under its famous arches. With so many travelers in the neighborhood, there are many restaurants nearby to choose from but many of these fall into the tourist trap category, offering sub-par food at high prices. To help you choose your next meal wisely, we’ve put together a list of our favorite places all within easy reach of the Colosseum.
© La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
Located in the charming Monti neighborhood, less than 10 minutes walk from the Colosseum and our Daphne Terrace Apartment, La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali has forged a strong reputation for its warm, family-run atmosphere. Diners are in good company too – a number of celebrities, including Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and Bruce Springsteen, have all eaten here and have their photo on the wall. As such, it’s a well-known spot among tourists but still manages to stick to its Italian roots, serving up quality classics alongside a few more inventive dishes, such as carbonara with artichokes, fava beans, and peas. We recommend reserving a table in advance.
Located on the rooftop of the five-star Palazzo Manfredi Hotel, Aroma is a luxurious restaurant with a spectacular view. The gorgeous Colosseum vista might be the restaurant’s most talked about feature but it certainly isn’t its only attribute. Chef Giuseppe di Iorio has developed a menu that combines traditional Italian recipes and fresh ingredients with a flair for original ideas – earning Aroma one Michelin star. A La Carte dishes include guinea fowl ravioli with green tomato coulis, rosemary mist, and smoked bacon powder; and Iberian suckling pig served with fig compote and cavolo nero. A seven-course tasting menu, priced at €180 per person, is also available. Wine pairings are extra.
© Li Rioni
Pizza is a real crowd-pleaser and Li Rioni Pizzeria combines a convivial atmosphere with good service and delicious, crispy, Roman-style pies. A great all-rounder, Li Rioni is also a perfect fit if you’re looking for a budget, or simply more relaxed, dining option. The décor is old-school so we like to start the meal the traditional way, with fritti – deep fried appetizers like salted cod fillets, stuffed zucchini flowers, and supplì, or fried rice balls. A cold beer is the classic drink of choice but Li Rioni also offers a number of wines from the Lazio region. Order a sparkling wine which pairs particularly well with fried treats and pizza.
© Tempio di Iside
Tempio di Iside
Tempio di Iside, an elegant eatery close to the Colosseum, is one of Rome’s best loved seafood restaurants. It’s well known for its crudo (raw) fish offerings, such as tuna tartare, shrimp carpaccio, and prawn crostini – dishes which are a testament to the fresh ingredients that the chef personally selects at local markets. Cooked seafood options include fusilli pasta with prawns and pecorino, scorpion fish pappardelle with caper flowers, and sea urchin spaghetti. The wine menu mostly features labels from Italy and France, with a few names from further afield. Top tip: This place is just around the corner from our Bianca Family Home.
© Caffè Propaganda
Often described as a Parisian or New York-style bistro, Caffè Propaganda was actually inspired by turn-of-the-century Italian cafes. The cool décor features sleek white tiles, sparkling chandeliers, and a striking metal bar, and offers a relaxed reprieve from the busy scene outside. Many people come solely for the expertly crafted cocktails and first-rate wine list but the food offerings are excellent too. Caffè Propaganda sources organic produce from a farm just outside Rome and utilizes seasonal fruits and vegetables in dishes that range from the traditional, such as amatriciana pasta, to the inventive, like the ovo misù, a tiramisu served in an eggshell meringue cup.