Here is August! Rome is no more a ghost city for almost the whole month as it was some years ago and it can be a nice period of the year for visiting it too. Some really hot days have to be tolerated of course (but July is not much better from this point of view) and a bit of planning is required to face summer closures, in particular in the central week due to the Ferragosto (15th of August) Italian public holiday.
Since 2010 when we launched our blog in Italian we decided to give our contribution to August planning as far as eateries is concerned, doing some specific and not always simple research (unfortunately few restaurant owners are used to keep updated their websites and social pages) and sharing available information in an easy to use way.
This year in addition to the August openings full list published in our Italian blog (including information about more than 50 recommended restaurants and pizzerias in Rome and nearby), we have decided to write also this blog post with a selection more oriented to visitors that have chosen Rome for a short break or a bit longer holiday.
Hope it helps.
Eat. Explore. Enjoy. Rome!
- RESTAURANTS IN MAIN TOURISTIC AREAS -
When choosing where to eat many times logistic is a strong requirement for people visiting Rome just few days. The following places are located in the hearth of main touristic areas (Historical Center and Trastevere) and still offer a great food experience in our opinion!
Coromandel (NEW OPENING!)
open all August except 13th – 19th
breakfast lunch & dinner
via di Monte Giordano 60 / 61 (Piazza Navona area)
price: lunch 25-30 euros, dinner menu available at 28, 35 and 55 euros
An original format offered by this trendy place opened just few days ago. The name is from a Chanel parfum with “ROMA” in the word and the philosophy is to serve few dishes mainly based on selected seasonal ingredients, a-la-carte for lunch and with fixed menu at dinner. An all female staff wants to let you feel like at home from the breakfast to lunch and of course dinner. We haven’t tried it yet but first reviews are nice and it looks an interesting new venue with good quality/price ratio, not easy in Rome historical center. Spacedlaw nice pics on Flickr help in better understanding the type of place and food.
open all August except Mondays
vicolo de’ Cinque 58 (Trastevere area)
price: 70-100 euros, tasting menu available at 65 and 90 euros
A top choice for us when looking for a “splurge” dinner, with the creative cuisine by Cristina Bowerman, one of the few ladies between the most celebrated Italian chefs. This restaurant in the heart of Trastevere rightly keep one Michelin star since many years, actually we wish them to achieve the second one. We have chosen it recently also to organize an exciting special food tour, well reported by Maria HeartRome! Menu changes often according to seasons and is available in English too on their website (not yet updated for August). It includes original combinations like the Foie escalope, hazelnut brittle fig compote, pan brioche, contemporary interpretations of Roman traditions based on offal such as veal tongue pastrami and the amazing Amatriciana sauce “mezzelune” (stuffed pasta) with crunchy “guanciale”. Tables are in the modern, elegant but not formal (jacket is not required) spaces distributed between the not big ground floor and a rectangular loft. Reservation in advance strongly recommended.
open all August except the 15th and Sundays
dinner only during August (lunch to be verified)
piazza della Gensola 15 (Trastevere area)
price: 50 euros
Family run osteria located in a cute and quiet square of Trastevere. A place loved by locals and tourists, especially for their fish dishes with fresh raw materials and Sicilian influences. Not at the same level the traditional Roman preparations in our opinion. Informal setting with tables close each other in a friendly and warm atmosphere.
Pipero al Rex
open all August except Mondays
via Torino 149 (Hotel Rex restaurant, near Termini train station)
price: 70-100 euros, tasting menu available at 90 euros.
A recent entry in the gourmet panorama managed with passion by the owner Alessandro Pipero that became famous at his previous restaurant in a village in the Rome countryside. Probably the most celebrated carbonara in Rome (and consequently in Italy), here priced according to the weight you want to eat (10€ per each 50 grams). But we recommend to taste also less traditional creations by the young talented chef Luciano Monosilio such as spaghetti with sea urchins and oysters with “flying” fish. Better to reserve one of the few seats available in the nice room located at the bottom floor of the Hotel Rex building.
open all August except the 15th and Sundays
lunch & dinner
via dei Giubbonari 21 (Campo de’ Fiori area)
price: 50-60 euros
Roscioli family is an institution in Rome offering some of the highest quality food available in the city. Their restaurant-grocery-delicatessen-wine bar is perfect for an informal and unusual meal with an impressive selection of wine bottles too. Of course quality has its price and you will pay for food and drinks more than for ambience (small tables without privacy) and service (sometimes rude). Almost impossible to find a seat without booking some days in advance.
Great news for food lovers staying in August in Rome: the nearby amazing Roscioli old bakery (via dei Chiavari 34) will also be open all August Monday-Saturday.
- RESTAURANTS FOR MORE “ADVENTURE” EATERS -
If you are an authentic foodie and you don’t mind for a good meal to spend some time in the chaotic Roman public transportation or to add few euros for a taxi to your bill, we recommend to experience also restaurants outside the most touristic areas of Rome. Click map links below to see how to get there.
A reference address open the whole month of August, offering a restricted menu selection for lunch with a 10% discount and the full menu as always for dinner. The young chef Fundim Gjepali is from Albania but he is well continuing the food tradition of this restaurant, where you can taste not ordinary dishes mixing Roman and Italian traditions with character without being creative. Crispy buffalo mozzarella, salted tuna roe and confit tomato or homemade ‘chitarra’ spaghetti with pecorino cheese and zucchini flowers just to give you few examples. Full menu including prices is available on their website in English too. Ambience is sophisticated and modern, outside seats. We suggest to choose a table in the main room at the entrance floor when reserving and don’t miss a short walk before or after the meal to catch one of the best view of Rome from the Gianicolo hill.
Flavio al Velavevodetto
open all days of August except the 15th
lunch & dinner (dinner only Sat and Sun)
via di Monte Testaccio 97 (Testaccio area) - map
Flavio ai Quiriti
open all days of August except Sundays
piazza dei Quiriti 5 (Prati, not far from Vatican area) – map
price: 30-40 euros
It’s not a secret this trattoria is in our hearts and this is why we currently propose here some of our “Sit-down meal tours“, in particular dedicated to Roman Cuisine (if you are curious don’t miss to read also this great post written by Kathy on Food Lover’s Odyssey). Well done traditional food, genuine raw materials, distance between tables and noise much better than in many other trattorias, pleasant outdoor tables. Some of the key “ingredients” of this place. This year they have replicated the formula grown in Testaccio opening a second branch in Prati area (closed at lunch during August), about 15 minutes walking distance from St Peter Basilica. Menu and prices are the same in both locations, but Testaccio one can be more charming for foodies and for the amazing monte dei cocci windows inside the restaurant.
In the suburbs an address that worth a 20-25 minutes subway trip from downtown in our opinion for the good quality/price ratio and also to live the atmosphere of an authentic local area, especially when seated outside in the few restaurant tables available in the middle of the large modern (and not beautiful) pedestrian square where residents cool down themselves during summer evenings. Restaurant name is a tribute to the popular Italian comics Dylan Dog (“Giuda Ballerino” is an exclamation much used by the main character, actually not existing in the Italian dictionary) and also tables and internal walls refer to it. Food is creative with strong Roman influences, don’t miss piccoli arancini (deep-fried rice balls with mixed furnitures), a pasta dish and for dessert bombe calde mignon (deep-fried again). Chef Andrea Fusco Michelin starred restaurant located in the same building will be closed the whole month of August, however few of the dishes that made the restaurant famous (“Giuda classics”) are available at the osteria too.
Pascucci al Porticciolo (Fiumicino)
open all August except 16th – 22nd
lunch & dinner
via Fiumara 2, FIUMICINO - map
price: 50-70 euros
Roman residents love to have a summer meal at the sea-side villages near Rome, the distance is short and especially during August it can be nice for visitors too. You’ll not find tropical paradises of courses, but there are very interesting food venues. Pascucci is not located in front of the beach but you can experience here some of the best fish food preparations, we could say “with a twist”. Elegant but not too formal, it is one of the new 2012 Michelin starred restaurants. Hope this will not change the excellent quality/price ratio characterizing this place since many years. It can be a good option also if you have few hours to spend in Rome for a stop-over at Fiumicino airport!
The restaurant will be closed during August but the Café represents a nice option not only for a light break and an aperitivo but also for a whole dinner during this month, with the kitchen open (hopefully) until midnight. More information about the Café are available in the English post we wrote about it.
We include also a spot we recommend more for its uniqueness and “green” ambience than for food preparations: ViVi Bistrot (map). It is located inside Villa Pamphili, one of our favorites public parks in Rome. The restaurant is open for breakfast lunch and dinner, providing also picnic baskets if you prefer to seat on the lawn grass or on a bench. Open all August except between the 13th and 15th and on Mondays.
- PIZZA VENUES -
Finally we can’t miss a round-up on where to eat a summer evening pizza in Rome. Unfortunately our pizza top list venues will be closed almost the whole month of August: Sforno (closed from the 5th of August until the end of the month), Tonda (closed from the 6th and opening again the 28th of August), La Fucina (open only until the 3rd of August), La Gatta Mangiona (open until the 10th of August and after the 26th, working also during their traditional Monday weekly closure).
An exception interesting for “adventure pizza eaters” can be to take the A subway to Furio Camillo stop to experience the recent opening Lazzaroni (via Tommaso Fortifiocca 68/70 - Appia area - map) open for dinner only and closed on Mondays and between the 10th and 22nd of August.
Opened last February it is quickly becoming a mecca for Roman pizza foodies. Their philosophy is to replicate in Rome the authentic and original pizza from Naples (the pizza large picture above was taken there!). In our xperience not everything was perfect (especially noise and service have to be improved) but pizza is great and it can be a nice option completely outside tourist paths. Outdoor seats not available.
However if you are staying in Rome few days most probably you will not be interested to eat one of the above pizza. They are located in Rome residential semi-central if not suburban areas and it’s not so easy to get there, except for the mentioned Lazzaroni, La Gatta Magiona near a 8 tram stop about 20-25 minutes far from Largo Argentina and maybe Sforno with the A subway (Subaugusta stop) and a bit of walking.
In the heart of the historical center main open options are the most famous and crowded pizzerias in Rome (not top quality in our and most common opinion) but we are talking about pizza not gourmet food here and it worth mentioning them: ‘Gusto (piazza Augusto Imperatore, open all days of August) with its Neapolitan-style pizza and large internal and external spaces, La Montecarlo or Baffetto (both near via del Governo Vecchio, opening days to be verified) that can fit your needs if you are looking to experience a typical roman thin & crispy pizza and if you are ready to stay quite long time in a queue waiting to be seated.
In Trastevere area Bir&Fud (via Benedetta 23) will be closed only between the 6th and 20th of August and offers a less thin pizza and a great selection of craft beers too.
[2 Aug update: Panattoni closed from the 9th of August until the 28th]
[10th of Aug update: Remo is closed too until the 26th]
We’ll do our best to keep updated this post, however we suggest to check before going since opening dates/time may change at the last moment.
Other suggested source of information for August in Rome:
Where to Eat in Rome in August, 2012 Edition by Katie Parla
Chowhound forum 1, 2
The Lowdown on Traveling to Italy in August on Dream of Italy
Images credits: Spigoloso (Maurizio Camagna), ziofrankie, restaurants web-sites and facebook pages