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Jan 12, 2013 10:35 AM

Advice for lunch near Rome's main tourist sights

I will be in Rome with my teenage DD for a week next month. We will be visiting the main tourist sights and I want to try to plan out in advance exactly where we will have lunch to avoid the trap of just going to a convenient touristy place because we are tired and hungry and not sure where else to go. From my research so far I have found the following recommendations:
Near the Colosseum: Cafe Cafe
Near the Borghese Gallery: Arlu or Colline Emiliane
Near the Vatican: Romeo; Sorpasso; Pizzarium
Near the Pantheon/Piazza Navona: Osteria del Sostegno; Ponte e Parione; Trattoria Antonio; Vino e Camino; Costanza; Renato e Luisa; Armando al Pantheon

We are staying near the Pantheon and will probably want to eat dinners within walking distance which is why I have collected a few restaurants in that area.

We are looking for good standard fare - pastas, pizza, etc - nothing too fancy. Any advice or other suggestions greatly appreciated. Should I plan to make reservations for both lunch and dinner in advance or can we do it once we arrive? I do want to have a good place planned for our lunch on the day we arrive - maybe Armando since it has gotten such good reviews. Is there a place near the Trevi Fountain or the Spanish steps if we wander over there on our first day? From past experience, we are likely to conk out before dinner on our arrival day so I do want to plan a nice lunch. We arrive on a Saturday.
Thanks in advance.

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  1. Cavour 313 is a wine bar that serves good food and is not far from the Colosseum.

    It gets a good review on this thread:

    If you do a search, you will find it recommended on other past threads as well.

    1. Near the Colosseum there are a number of possibilities - we had a very nice lunch at Il Bocconcino, which is just a couple of blocks from the Colosseum, last fall. Pastas and other dishes were good, pleasant atmosphere.

      We also like Nerone, a couple blocks up the hill on the Via Terme di Tito, for a traditional lunch..

      1. Near the Villa Borghese is the sort of newish Localino Da Claudio, on Via Lazio 22, Rome. It's the same owners at La Gensola, and very good, mostly fish.

        Near Pantheon you could add Settimio for something very rustic and simple.

        Nice lunch on Saturday: What about Pierluigi?

        1. Thank you all for these suggestions. Do I need to make reservations for lunch at these places or should we be able to walk in?

          From looking up Pierluigi, it seems to specialize in seafood - I'm not sure if we will want that for lunch. Do they also have good pasta? I assume for lunch on Sat. we would need a reservation, is that right?

          1 Reply
          1. re: seaalice

            Weve never had a problem obtaining lunch in the centro without a reservation on a saturday - since the business/government customers are not there - as long as we arrive at the beginning of the Rome lunch hour. Asino d'Oro is a place I would not try without a booking.

          2. I had a great lunch at Taverna dei Fori Imperiali before walking 5minutes to the Roman Forum/Palatine Hills/Colosseum. (Tip: buy your combo tickets at the Roman Forum first to skip the long line at the Colosseum and be aware all three attractions close at 3:30. We found out the hard way and had to return the next day to go inside the Colosseum).

            I would recommend Romeo after the Vatican. It's easy to find, the food is delicious and you can sit down. Also, check out Grom for hot chocolate and Roscioli bakery for pizza with sauce/cheese! Perilli is also good for hearty pastas. Read my trip report for more details.