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.
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..
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?
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?
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.
I think if you arrive on a Saturday and want to eat at Armando al Pantheon for lunch that day, you should book even though it is a Saturday. You won't want to deal with the surprise of possibly finding it filled with a special party, and need to look for someplace else good when you're jet lagged and hungry. I'll say the same about any restaurant recommended to you for that first Saturday.
If you are near the Spanish Steps before your lunch and you've booked at Armando al Pantheon, it's 20 minute walk and I recommend giving yourself a bumper because I've found it easy to get momentarily lost in that part of the centro.
Thank you for these suggestions and advice. It is looking like we may go to the Vatican twice - once for the Scavi tour and a different day for the Vatican museums so we may end up eating near the Vatican twice. We will definitely try Romeo at least once. Do you think I need a reservation there for a weekday in Feb? I will either make a reservation at Armando al Pantheon for our arrival day or be sure to have a list of a few restaurants in the vicinity so we will be able to find a place if Armando is full.
You only need a reservation at Romeo if you want to sit at the restaurant in the back that serves pasta etc. If you just want a late lunch such as pizza/sandwiches, you can buy those at the counter in the front. There are tables where you can sit down for the pizza/sandwiches.
Taverna dei Fori Imperiali was half empty when we went for weekday lunch. Make sure to order the pappardelle!
Roscioli bakery and il Forno Campo di Fiori are 10-20min walk from Pantheon area and are good for a light meal/snacks. We didn't have time to try il Forno Campo di Fiori but heard the pizza is good there as well. At Roscioli bakery, you buy your pizzas/sweet treats at the counter, then you can sit down at bar benches in the back to eat. It's not a formal seating place.