With its cobblestone streets, ornate churches, and baroque fountains, the Eternal City feels like an open-air museum—and the city’s best restaurants provide even more visual inspiration. Rome-based journalist Laura Itzkowitz shares nine of the prettiest places to eat, from a restaurant in a “secret garden” to a Scandinavian-style spot famous for baked goods.
Hidden on the second floor of the Auditorium della Conciliazione near the Vatican, this restaurant/bar exudes a cinematic glamour. Sky-high ceilings, marble columns, and low lighting set the scene for a romantic evening of cocktails by lauded bartender Massimo d’Addezio and acclaimed chef Arcangelo Dandini. Come for the cuisine, stay for the cocktails and DJ sets.
Located on the upper level of the Hotel de Russie’s tiered “secret garden,” this restaurant is a verdant Mediterranean oasis in the city center. When the weather is good, the terrace is the place to be, but the garden vibes continue inside the dining room, which features hand-painted frescoes of vines by Gio Bressana. Don’t skip the signature ravioli cacio e pepe.
Designed by renowned architect Jacques Garcia, this sultry restaurant tucked on a little piazza behind the Pantheon has sumptuous interiors that evoke Parisian style. Wood-beamed ceilings, exposed brick walls, velvet banquettes, heavy draperies, and reproductions of 17th and 18th-century paintings set the tone for a romantic meal.
Housed on the lower level of the Hall Tailor Suite hotel, this Michelin-starred restaurant designed and run by Chef Riccardo di Giacinto and his wife Ramona Anello is Rome’s most beautiful and delicious fine dining restaurants. Herringbone floors, velvet chairs in muted jewel tones, and curved brass lamps set the stage for Di Giacinto’s playful interpretations of classic Roman dishes. The six-course tasting menu showcases the chef’s creativity with dishes like pasta-less carbonara foam served in an egg shell.
Some restaurants try to recreate a vintage ambiance, but this historic family-run restaurant opposite the opera house is an authentic original. Founded in 1870, it later expanded and has kept its 1930s style, with marble mosaic floors, art deco chandeliers, white tablecloths, and plates bearing the restaurant’s name. Don’t leave without trying the bucatini all’amatriciana.
This chic restaurant inside Hotel Maalot near the Trevi Fountain was inspired by British colonial clubs, with plush banquettes, black bamboo chairs, and a massive chandelier hanging from the greenhouse-style glass ceiling. Upon first glance, the artwork on the walls looks like Dutch old master paintings, but take a closer look and you’ll see that the artist playfully imbued the subjects with cheeky modern details.
Expect a season-changing menu offering a range of Roman Classics (you’ll love the cacio e pepe) paired alongside walls dressed in retro art and posters.
Set within the Villa Laetitia hotel owned by Anna Venturini Fendi, this two-Michelin-starred restaurant boasts one of the city’s most elegant dining rooms. Soaring ceilings, a crystal chandelier, and art nouveau motifs lend the restaurant an enchanting Belle Époque style—the perfect setting for gourmet Mediterranean dishes served on fine china.
Scandinavian minimalism meets Mediterranean style at this popular restaurant/micro-bakery in hip Ostiense. Run by Danish baker Sofie Wochner and her Sicilian husband Domenico Cortese, it has stark white walls and blond wood tables accented with earthy handmade pottery and wildflower bouquets. A Sicilian Moor’s head sits on the bakery counter, where scrumptious cakes and pastries are displayed like jewelry. This place is especially popular for brunch on the weekends.
Other articles you may like: