Rome restaurants
Rome has a large number of restaurants, trattorie, and osterie that caters to both tourists and locals. In the center of Rome, where most tourists tend to be found, it may be difficult to find a restaurant that does not have food specifically oriented to visitors. That does not mean that a meal may not be good, it simply may not be as "exceptional" as you would expect.

As you look at restaurant reviews on the many websites on the Internet, keep in mind the following two points:
  • taste, like beauty, is very personal, and what someone may find very good, someone else may find it not as such;
  • a restaurant may have a real good chef, hence in great reviews on the web; BUT he/she does NOT work everyday. The day you patronize that restaurant, the substitute chef may not be as good! It is amazing that this last point is rarely mentioned. I wonder whether some of the contrasting restaurant reviews simply reflects a different chef!

The restaurants we list below are some of the ones that we have experienced.
 
Il Fico - (Visited 2010 and 2011)
This little restaurant is found in Via di Monte Giordano 49, not far away from Piazza Navona. We found it in 2010 and visited again the same year and three times in 2011. It never let us down. It is worth looking for it.

We tried various dishes, from Ravioli and sage, to tonnarelli cacio e pepe (7 euros), spaghetti matriciana (7 Euros), tiramisu, etc. etc. Everything was always exceptional and the service matched it! Elena and Giovanna always attentive and ready to help. Make sure you ask for fresh pasta!
By far one of the best restaurants we have experienced in Rome with very reasonable prices.

The amazing thing is that there is a restaurant at the far end of the street that gets more customers and does look more touristy.... and it is more expensive!
In Trastevere - La Scaletta- (Visited 2011)
This little and not pretentious restaurants is located in the heart of Trastevere, in Via della scala 8.

We stumbled in it on our first day in Rome in the fall of 2011 (the beginning of our 4 months stay) and, since we lived just 10 minutes away, we went back for lunch and supper several times.

It is very inexpensive and, if the Chef is on deck, the meals are very good. This is where I had my best bucatini alla matriciana in Rome.
In Trastevere - Mani in pasta (Visited 2011)
We found Mani in pasta by pure chance after the recommendation of an english speaking resident in Rome.

This restaurant is located on a side street in the less touristy area of Trastevere. It is a small place and very popular, so a reservation is strongly recommended, particularly for the non-smoking area. During our first visit the meal was exceptional with an amazing variety of fresh pasta.

However, during a second visit we were not as impressed, the meal, while still good, was average. I wonder whether that day the chef was off!
 
In Trastevere - Arco di San Calisto
STRONGLY NOT recommended (2011)
I used to say that is not possible to have a bad meal in Italy. Well, I was wrong! While I have eaten in many average-quality restaurants, this is a really bad one, by far the worst I have ever been in (and that includes restaurants anywhere in Europe or NA)!

I should have known better. We were staying in Trastevere and had some Canadian friends visiting. When we went out for supper, all the trattorie and restaurants seemed full with tourists.
A large number of tables surrounded by greenery and lights on a side street (see the picture by mouse over it), a warm evening in Rome, a great ambience. It seemed like we had found the ideal place ..... I am Italian, so I speak Italian ... I ordered some pasta ... it come cold. I sent it back... it come warmed up from the micro-oven .... enough said ...

If you really want ambience, there are many other places that can provide it to you and, I am quite sure, the meal will be better .....
...... More restaurants coming ....