After they cornered the market on pizza and bread at Antico Forno bakery for four generations, the Roscioli brothers opened a neighborhood coffee bar and pastry shop, which, despite little standing room, never fails to please locals. Along with spectacular coffee drinks (hot ones come in heated cups), the pastries are divine. Many are old-school, hard-to-find Roman dolci. If you don’t do sweet, the selection of salati (savory sandwiches) is big and creative. Go for the thinly sliced pastrami on homemade cornetto and the club sandwich with an over-easy egg.
BTW: Come before 9 a.m. to get a place at the counter. The back table is bookable, too.
Roscioli Caffe, Piazza Benedetto Cairoli 16, Rome
Rome finally has a little hygge, thanks to pastry chef Sofie Wochner and her partner, Domenico Cortese. The simple micro-bakery and restaurant may be one of the first sweet-and-savory brunch venues in the city. Guests come from around Rome for Wochner’s confections, including cinnamon twists, as well as homemade butter (made from kefir) and rye bread. Cortese, the mastermind behind dinner and lunch, makes daily sandwiches that are chef’s choice, with mustard aioli and Wochner’s sourdough.
BTW: Marigold doesn’t take reservations on the weekends.
Marigold, Via Giovanni da Empoli 37, Rome
This local market’s 100-plus vendors (produce, cheese, meat, fish, specialty foods, housewares) make it a great community hangout. Lunch standouts include fresh pasta of the day at Le Mani in Pasta (Box 58), vegan burgers and tacos at Sano (Box 3), mini pizzas at Da Artenio (Box 90) and fried delicacies at Mastro Papone (Box 96). In other words, every kind of eater can dine here all afternoon.
BTW: Bring cash, and if you are really hungry, head straight to sandwich shop Mordì e Vai (Box 15) before the nonni beat you there.
Mercato Testaccio, Via Beniamino Franklin and via Aldo Manuzio, Rome
The kind of hole-in-the-wall you’d walk by without giving it a second look. But stop: The small Supplizio is chef Arcangelo Dandini’s full-service incarnation of Rome’s staple fried fast food, the suppli, (deep-fried rice balls filled with mozzarella, tomato sauce and chicken giblets). Dandini’s are award-winning, and here he introduces different interpretations, from classico to carbonara, and cacio pepe (yes, your favorite Roman pasta, fried).
BTW: Beyond rice balls, Dandini’s lineup includes polpette al mio garum (fried anchovy balls) and the fave dessert, crema fritta (fried cream custard).
Supplizio, Via dei Banchi Vecchi 143, Rome
Luciano Cucina Italiana
Luciano Cucina Italiana is a next-generation trattoria, thanks to chef Luciano Monosilio. He’s known as the King of Carbonara, a title he rightfully deserves since elevating the typical Roman dish to Michelin-star status. The restaurant, with an absolutely-not-rustic, very contemporary design, features an exposed pasta lab and open kitchen and a menu with his award-winning (and must-try) carbonara and other traditional favorites. But the fun is in his creative Contemporanee (contemporary) and Ripiene (stuffed) pasta dishes: fettuccella ajo, ojo e bottarga di muggine — his version of pasta sauteed with garlic, pepper and olive oil and topped with cured fish roe.
BTW: Contrary to what you’d think, reserve no earlier than 9 p.m. It’s when Luciano gets lively.
Luciano Cucina Italiana, Piazza del Teatro Pompeo 18, Rome
Seu Pizza Illuminati
Seu Pizza is the precise opposite of a typical Roman pizzeria: stylish, with mod furniture and art pieces, and the feel of an art gallery. But you’re here for the pizza. Daniele Seu, the pizzaiolo (pizza-maker), is a dough magician whose thicker impasto and crusts will quickly obliterate any recollection of thin-crusted Roman-style pizza. (It is that good.) His menu is anchored with classics, but it’s Seu’s occasionally mind-bogglingly delicious creations — like the Gamberita, raw red shrimp atop buffalo mozzarella — that keep people coming back.
BTW: Choose a bunch of pizzas to share, and ask the waiter to serve them in the chef’s preferred order.
Seu Pizza Illuminati, Via Angelo Bargoni 10, Rome
(Courtesy of Jerry Thomas Project)
Jerry Thomas speakeasy
Although Jerry Thomas may no longer be a secret, it is still the choice of the late-evening-cocktail crowd. The bar is immaculately styled in 1920s retro, tiny and limited to reservations. (Call in the late afternoons.) Created as a hangout for restaurant-industry professionals, Jerry’s bartenders are colleagues and friends who make expert cocktails and personal creations. Bonus points: The team rolls deep in female bartenders who are innovating the mixology arena.
BTW: An ideal spot if you don’t want to be seen.
Jerry Thomas speakeasy, Vicolo Cellini 30, Rome
L’Angolo Divino is the enoteca (wine bar) of your dreams: a rustic corner spot with low lighting, lots of great labels and an owner, Massimo, who has something to say about every single bottle. The wine list includes the usual suspects (yes, you can try a Super Tuscan, Amarone or Barolo), as well as unexpected bubbles, natural wines and hard-to-find producers. The list may be heavy on Italians, but international wines are represented.
BTW: Ask Massimo about his favorite Lazio wines. A world of conversation and tasting will start, and you may make a friend for life.
L’Angolo Divino, Via dei Balestrari 12, Rome