Our guide to dining out in Rome
The Trastevere district on the right bank of the Tiber has a great selection of trattorias and is the perfect location for a meal followed by an evening stroll, but be prepared to wait as the restaurants don’t take bookings and are often extremely busy, especially at weekends.
Today Italian cuisine is highly cherished around the world and beyond the stereotypical pizza and pasta dishes, people are discovering a colorful, flavorful set of magnificent dishes, an explosion of simplicity and natural ingredients. Every region has its own treasure, a signature dish, a particular wine and product, gifts of nature and heart of traditions.
Most Italian meals consist of a “primo”, pasta or rice course, “secondo”, meat or fish, and “contorno”, usually vegetables or salad on the side. Meals can include “antipasto”, hors d’oeuvre, “dolce”, dessert, and “frutta” – fruit.
Remember that most places will not open before 8pm and tables are scarce by 9pm. It helps if you make a reservation. If you just show up without one, don’t show up hungry. A “no sorry” from the host may mean that you might have to wait around and a table may free later. It is customary to order appetizers, pasta, main dish, coffee or grappa. You may omit a course, but remember that main dishes usually come without sides, and the pasta dish will not be meal-sized. The meal is never rushed; if you think you are getting the silent treatment, toss out the words for water (”acqua”), wine (”vino”), or the check (”conto”) to get your waiters attention. Even though the tip is included (”service com pris”), it is considered an insult to offer you the bill before you request it. In most restaurants they are expecting you will stay until closing.