The neighborhood of Trastevere (which comes from the Italian for “across the Tiber River”) is a charming part of the city, characterized by narrow, winding streets, small, local bars and restaurants, and the crown jewel, the minor Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. It’s a place where you can still find many Romans shopping for produce at the local markets or meeting up with friends and family in the piazza. It’s a part of Rome that’s not marked by the prestige as the capital city, but more like its own small village set apart. Trastevere is an increasingly popular area to stay for international travelers but there are far less hotels in the area, so most choose to stay at vacation rentals.
There are plenty of great places to sit down for lunch or dinner, but here are our favorite seven:
As far as traditional pizzerias and trattorias go, there’s a dime a dozen in Trastevere. As with all restaurants in the city, the quality will likely be fairly good, but the cost will be the most determining factor on the level of “tourist trap”. Popi Popi is a staple in the neighborhood having been a pizzeria for decades. The menu may have grown to include many things that aren’t life-changing, the wood-oven baked pizzas (thin-crust, Roman style) and Roman pastas like cacio e peppe, carbonara and amatriciana are still solid. Sit inside or al fresco in this no-frills spot in the heart of Trastevere.
Address Via delle Fratte di Trastevere, 45
Trastevere rarely dresses up, but at the Michelin-starred Glass Hosteria with local celebrity chef Cristina Bowerman at the helm, things are a little different. Bowerman uses her creativity to turn ordinary local and seasonal ingredients into extraordinary works of art on a plate. The space is minimal and dark which creates a dramatic backdrop to the dishes that float out of the kitchen. Go for a tasting menu, starting at €90 p.p., for the whole experience. There certainly isn’t anything quite like Glass Hosteria in the rest of Trastevere.
Address Vicolo de’ Cinque, 58
The ultimate in no-frills pizza dining experience. Ai Marmi is truly an institution where throngs of locals and visitors alike crowd the sidewalk on Viale di Trastevere for a pie. The pizza they serve is traditionally the Roman style, thin crust with all kinds of toppings imaginable though those more traditional will stick with the classics like margherita (tomato, mozzarella and basil) or zucchini. Don’t expect very attentive service, so try to order everything all at once. It’s all part of the experience, eating delicious pizza curbside at the center of it all in Trastevere.
Address Viale di Trastevere, 53
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Trastevere, Da Teo is the quaint trattoria you’ve been looking for. The menu features the traditional Roman style specialties, like pasta, veal, and ox tail, paired with a local wine list. Dine inside the family-home style decorated interior or al fresco in piazza. Call ahead to book a table to avoid waiting for one.
Address Piazza dei Ponziani, 7A
When it comes to fried street food, the Supplì is king. A fried rice ball concealing tomato sauce and mozzarella, the supplì is the ultimate grab n’ go option in Rome or antipasto before pizza. Trastevere is home to I Supplì a tiny pizza-by-the-slice and supplì joint just off the main road. There’s no place to sit, but there are a few standing tables if you choose not to eat passeggiando (walking). Their menu has grown to include more fried options like zucchini flowers stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella (another famous starter before eating pizza) and even calamari, but the supplì remain the star.
Address Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 137
Bir e Fud
Not everything in Trastevere is the cinematic red-checkered tables you’re used to seeing in the movies. Bir and Fud represent the growing craft beer scene, with nearly 40 beers on tap, both local and international. The menu was designed to be paired with the beer, featuring more of your fried favorites, as well as a few pasta and meat dishes. It’s a great place to choose for that pub-like nostalgia with a heavy Italian influence.
Address Via Benedetta, 23
For an upscale feel with down-to-earth food, head to La Gensola, also tucked away from the main streets. Here you’re likely to run into undercover Italian movie stars and politicians who know where to dine in the center of Rome where the food is still representative of the traditions. A vast wine list featuring national wines are carefully selected to pair with the elegant fish dishes and Roman staples. Here’s a great place to try Rome’s seafood heritage, like octopus, cod, and fried sardines.
Address Piazza della Gensola, 15
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What’s your favorite restaurant in Trastevere? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!