While exploring the Pantheon area on your next Roman holiday, you may well discover that each and every restaurant claims to be the most ‘authentic’ in the city. Could that be? Well, yes indeed, Italians take their cuisine very seriously, and Rome in particular boasts quite delectable and unique specialities; yet one should be a little wary of the dreaded tourist traps. Restaurants all over the world are renowned for cutting corners when serving foreigners, and sometimes the Italians do so with glee.
But don’t despair, help is at hand! Book an apartment in Rome near the Pantheon and you will not only have the best of the city’s attractions right at your door step, but you’ll also be able to visit the following three gastronomic gems.
Tried and tested (oh no really, it was our pleasure), all three tick our imperative list: welcoming atmosphere, great service and delectable food at reasonable prices. So as they say “When in Rome…” go ahead and eat your heart out!
Da Fortunato Al Pantheon, Via del Pantheon 55
Considered to be the favoured ‘local’ of Rome’s most colourful personalities (and that’s just the politicians), Da Fortunato is an excellent choice if great food, ambience and service is right up your Pantheon alley. Amazingly, considering its popularity, this little gem is down to earth and almost gifts quite a homely feeling. The friendly service here is probably the biggest surprise and, while the restaurant does insist on semi-formal attire, the personnel is always more than happy to take in weary tourists, even German ones wearing socks and sandals. They might just seat them in the ‘private’ section to prevent offending the Armani suit wearing clientele however.
The cuisine is classic Italian, with favourites like spaghetti alle vongole, meatballs and grilled artichokes rating big points with visitors. Not to be outdone, the chef also grills a mean steak Chateaubriand and prepares seafood the way it was intended: fresh, drizzled with good quality olive oil and topped with a squeeze of lemon.
Da Fortunato is open every day for lunch and dinner.
Armando al Pantheon, Salita de’ Crescenzi, 31
Armando is a typical Roman trattoria and certainly not to be missed. It does not boast the elegant ambience of some other joints in the area, but the superlative cooking and family feel is a major bonus. Do note that its entrance is very subtle and there’s no outdoor seating, so it’s not a place one usually come across by pure chance…which is just great!
For starters, may we recommend the bruschetta with melt-in-your-mouth buffalo mozzarella, and don’t even consider not trying the bucatini amatriciana! The spicy bacon and tomatoes based sauce, typical of Rome, will make your taste buds jump for joy. For a truly cultural experience, visit on a Friday, when Armando offers ‘pasta e ceci’ on the menu. A broth-like pasta dish cooked with chick peas, this is one of the more traditional wintertime minestre served in every Italian home.
Armando is small and intimate, and most popular with locals so don’t arrive without a booking.
Taverna le Coppelle, Via delle Coppelle 39
You know how sometimes, when you’re on holidays, you just want to eat a cheap and cheerful meal, without any fuss, yet still enjoy an epitome dining experience? Too much to ask? Not in Rome!
Just north of the Pantheon you’ll find Taverna le Coppelle, and there you will have the most delicious pizzas in Rome. Oh yes, we know, everyone has an opinion on this topic, but trust us, ours is the only one that counts!
For a shared antipasti platter, two pizzas and a half-liter of house wine you’ll only pay about €30, yet that’s not the only reason to visit. The pizzas are wafer thin, the toppings fresh and generously heaped and the relaxing atmosphere makes a weary tourist feel like they just arrived home. Now isn’t that a treat?