Bobby Flay Shares His Favorite Restaurants in Rome

mmac72/Getty Images; Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

These are the places for pasta, pizza, and aperitivo hour in Italy's capital. Chef's orders.

Departures is published by Meredith Corp. and owned by American Express. While American Express Card Member benefits are highlighted in this publication, including through the links indicated below, the content of this article was independently written by the editorial staff at Meredith. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such.

Before chef and TV personality (and celebrity cats owner) Bobby Flay opened his newest Sin City restaurant, he spent five weeks in Rome, immersing himself in the best of its food scene.  

No place can rival Rome for its beloved, soul-satisfying pasta and thin and crispy pizza al taglio, and Flay has done the research. "I ate everywhere you could go," he said

Related: This Under-the-Radar Neighborhood in Rome Is the Foodie Destination You Need to Visit

Though he spent those five weeks on his own, he's usually traveling with his daughter Sophie who'll be joining him in a new series tasting the best of New York for the Food Network. "My daughter and I spend a tremendous time together—we've traveled together since she was a little kid. And it would always evolve around eating in restaurants," he explained. It would be "15 minutes in a museum, and then 3 hours in a restaurant. Go see the Mona Lisa and then sit down to a plateau of shellfish."

Here, he shares his favorite go-to spots for food and drinks in Rome. 

Related: How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Rome

Trattoria & Osteria

L'Osteria di Monteverde, Monteverde 

At this seemingly casual restaurant on a quiet residential lane, some might think this osteria is unassuming. But look at the menu and you'll find some interesting options, like anchovy ice cream, and spaghetti with sea urchin dusted with coffee.

Hours: Open for lunch 1–3 PM every day, and dinner 8–11 PM except Mondays. Closed for three weeks in August.

Osteria Nuvolari, Borgo 

Just a five-minute walk from the Vatican (the second most popular tourist attraction in the world) takes you to this much-loved, family-run osteria serving traditional Roman cuisine "prepared in respect to the most ancient of customs."

Hours: Open Monday-Saturday for lunch 12:30—15:00, and dinner from 19:00 - 23:00. Closed Sundays.

SantoPalato, San Giovanni

Come for the yolky carbonara, stay for everything else on the menu from young, powerhouse chef, Sarah Cicolini who's at the helm of this new-ish trattoria in the San Giovanni neighborhood. 

Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday for dinner from 7:30—11:30 PM. Open Saturday & Sunday for lunch & dinner from 1:00-3:30 PM. Closed Mondays. 


Ai Marmi, Trastevere

A Trastevere institution since 1933, Ai Marmi is the area's most popular pizza place for a reason. Come here for super-thin, Roman-style pizzas and some fantastic fried starters such as supplì (risotto balls), baccalà (salted cod), and zucchini flowers.  

Hours: Open Thursday-Tuesday for dinner from 6:30 PM—2:20 AM. 


Le Jardin at Hotel de Russie

As you step into the breathtaking terraced gardens at American Express Fine Hotel & Resort property Hotel de Russie, which cascade toward Rome’s Villa Borghese, it’s easy to understand why this “secret” space is a favorite among those in the know. Before dining in the rose-and-orange-blossom-scented Le Jardin de Russie outdoor restaurant, stop to enjoy an aperitivo alfresco at the Stravinskij Bar.