We're just back from three days in Rome, and we managed to eat like emperors every night. It took just a little research before the trip, coupled with conversations with locals to find these great restaurants. Here they are:
Clemente alla Maddalena - Lovely casual piazza setting. While near the Pantheon, the square with two side-by-side restaurants was not overcrowded. Spacious tables, pleasant staff.
Osteria Siciliana - A highly recommended neighborhood restaurant on a corner of the via del Leoncino. Like the name says, Sicilian cooking. Elegantly plated courses served by an attentive staff, made for another delicious meal.
Santa Lucia - Located on the intimate square of Largo Febo, just in front of the Hotel Raphael (where we stayed). The setting under the trees, looking down towards a street of other cafes was perfect. While we were outside enjoying the last of warm nights, the restaurant's interior dining rooms are classic looking and very inviting.
Parallel to Piazza Navona, (behind the church of Santa Agnese in Agone) is a street called Via di Santa dell'Anima. Its north end is lined with some pleasant casual cafes. Here we had a wonderful pasta lunch at Solo Vineria e Gastronomia.
AND TO NOTE...
Dal Bolognese Roma - We did not get into Dal Bolognese, but it was on numerous locals' lists for fine Roman dining. The restaurant's setting on a street near Piazza del Popolo was quite nice - very chic.
In the same neighborhood, we saw and loved the courtyard dining of the Locarno Hotel. And very highly recommended is Taverna Trilussa Trastevere, located in the Trastevere neighborhood.
Lastly: If you're heading to the Vatican Museums and think that you're going to find many good lunch spots near the museum entrance? Forget that idea! Eat in your neighborhood before you go :)
Purchase the Red Map Rome