ROME IS A city that adores tradition and adheres to ritual; its residents’ eating schedule is almost as immutable as the Catholic liturgy. Breakfast is coffee and a pastry, lunch is between 1 and 3 p.m., and the aperitivo hour lasts from the end of the workday until dinner, which rarely begins before 9 p.m.
This isn’t news to many of Rome’s several-million annual tourists, but what these visitors might not realize is that the city and its culinary charms stretch all the way to the sea. There, on the shore, lie the neighborhoods of Ostia, Fregene, and Fiumicino — the last of which is best-known for Rome’s international airport. But this coastal swath of the Eternal City is becoming ever more central to Roman life, in large part because of its vibrant food scene, which thrives on its proximity to the sea. Less than an hour’s journey (by car or train) from Rome’s historic center — but a tiny slice of the city — the coast is a fantastic place to experience gastronomic innovation.
Alessandra Serramondi and Gabriele Di Lecce — the young couple making a local splash with their elegant, modern seafood restaurant Dogma — insist that to truly taste Rome, you must taste the sea. Di Lecce is an Ostia native, whereas Serramondi was born in Cuba; they met while working at the Michelin-starred Roman restaurant Il Tino. Dogma, which opened in 2022 in Rome’s hip and central San Giovanni neighborhood, combines a passion for seafood with fastidious attention to ingredients. Bread is baked in-house from home-ground Sicilian flour, and the vegetables are grown at a family farm in Maccarese, above Fregene. Fish is grilled and served alongside an intrepid wine list, and the tasting menu is not to be missed.
One morning, as Dogma’s kitchen fired up, Di Lecce and Serramondi shared with me their favorite places to eat in Rome — from the center of the city all the way to the sea.
Coffee and Pastries
Forno Conti & Co.An exceptional bakery with an all-day menu
TriticumA small spot celebrating the lost art of baking
AllurePastry offerings made with passion
SantoPalatoA restaurant shaping the city’s culinary identity
NomisanA Japanese restaurant inspired by the Roman coast
L’Osteria dell’OrologioA pioneering seafood restaurant
Landi DegustazioneA wine bar with seafood offerings
Il GoccettoA lively enoteca
RetroVinoAn intimate and sophisticated wine bar
PizzicàrolaAn elevated small grocer with wine and snacks
Il PagliaccioA boundary-pushing, Michelin-starred restaurant
RetroBottegaAn inspired restaurant with vegetarian options
Zia RestaurantAn understated Michelin-starred restaurant
Carnal Morso SabrosoA bright restaurant with Colombian roots
Il TinoMichelin-starred seafood overlooking the marina
Madeline Gressel Writer
Madeline Gressel is a writer and bookseller currently living in Rome. Her work has been published in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Travel & Leisure, The South China Morning Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Nautilus Magazine, among others. She is currently in the process of opening a bookstore in Rome.