Rome is famed for its local cuisine but it is also home to many ethnic and international restaurants which add an exotic dimension, and taste, to the Eternal City.
Describing itself as "a corner of Argentina in the heart of Rome", Baires offers quality Argentinian meat dishes along with a wide selection of Argentinian wine. Its speciality is the Angus Argentino which is available in various cuts and sizes, as well as other meat and vegetable dishes which have both native South American and Spanish influences. Open every day for lunch and dinner. Corso del Rinascimento 1, tel. 066861293, website.
Elegant Asian restaurant in Largo Argentina area offering cuisine from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. Kuriya prides itself on its fresh produce, particularly the fish, and there is nothing frozen on its menu. Specialities include sushi, butterfish, tuna, Cantonese dim sum, uramaki and spring rolls. Open every day for lunch and dinner. Via Arenula 48/49, 0668307247, website.
Small but popular venue in Monti providing a fusion of Brazilian and Japanese cuisine. The large menu has a focus on sustainable food, and includes sushi, ceviche, surimi, tofu, temaki rolls, fish dishes, and a good selection of vegetarian options. There is also a range of exotic smoothies and cocktails. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Online booking. Via dei Serpenti 16, tel. 0642016656, website.
Babington's Tea Room
Simplicity and quality have guided Babington’s philosophy since it opened in 1893. The simple décor, wooden tables set with colonial straw mats and silver-plated tea pots, together with the quality of the teas and cakes, are the expression of a style passed on for generations. Babington’s food menu includes English breakfasts, homemade English muffins and scones, Eggs Benedict with Scottish salmon, scrambled eggs, Victoria sponge cake, and club sandwiches. Daily 10.00-21.15. Piazza di Spagna 23, tel. 066786027, website.
One of Rome's best and most authentic Chinese restaurants, Hang Zhou's walls are plastered with photographs of its media-savvy owner Sonia alongside Italian celebrities of varying degrees of fame. This bustling restaurant is located in the city's multi-ethnic Piazza Vittorio district and serves all the favourite Chinese dishes but is slightly more expensive than its peers. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Via Principe Eugenio 82, tel. 064872732.
Located near Pigneto, Mesob is arguably the best Ethiopian restaurant in Rome. The food is prepared daily with imported Ethiopian spices, and served on injera, a sourdough flat bread which is used traditionally in place of cutlery. Dining is a communal experience, with guests enjoying meals from a shared platter. The menu includes Ethiopian vegetarian and meat specialities including spicy lentils, slow-cooked kale, doro wat (chicken with onions, garlic, ginger and spices), kay tibs (lean beef with green halapeno peppers), and baklava sweet pastry desserts. Open daily for lunch and dinner, with Ethiopian coffee ceremonies on Saturday evenings. Via Prenestina 118, tel. 338 / 2511621, website.
Family-run restaurant serving traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean food in the Prenestino district since 2002. The cuisine features specialities such as sambusa and kategna (puff pastrie), kikil lamb stew, yefem tibs (beef), and couscous, all of which guests are encouraged to eat by scooping up with injera bread and their hands. Small range of wine and beer also served. Try the Tej, a honey-flavoured liqueur. Lunch and dinner served every day except Monday. Viale della Stazione Prenestina 55, tel. 06273767, website.
Intimate restaurant serving quality French and Swiss cuisine and fine wines – mainly French but also some Italian. Highlights on the menu include the house patè and cheese plate, the escargot alla bourguignonne, onion soup, oysters, bouillabaisse alla Marsigliese and steak tartare. Located near Piazza S. Giovanni, the restaurant is expensive but certainly worth a visit for a special occasion. Open for lunch Tues-Fri, dinner from Mon-Sat. Sun closed. Booking advised. Via S. Giovanni in Laterano 270, tel. 0670495666.
Traditional, authentic French cuisine cooked with passion and simplicity according to trusted family recipes. With its lace-curtains and art deco theme, this small French-run restaurant on Viale Aventino has the feel of a cosy Parisian bistrot. The lunch menu features soup, quiches, terrines, salads, cheeses, and steak tartare prepared in front of customers. The dinner menu is known for its meat and fish dishes, escargots, and select French wines. The desserts include apple tart, lemon cake and coffee gourmand, not to mention the divine chocolate mousse. Sun closed. Viale Aventino 31/33, tel. 0687785445, website.
Small Greek-run diner serving authentic and tasty Greek cuisine. The traditional fare on the menu includes pita souvlaki, Greek salad, mousaka, tiropita and spanakopita, dolmades, tzatziki, melitzanosalata, taramosalata, and kataifi, as well as wine and beer. Ideal for a quick and informal brunch, lunch or dinner or simply a take-away. Reasonably priced. Friendly staff. Open 12.00-23.00, Sun closed. Viale Aventino, 107/109, tel. 0664420648.
Located in the Trastevere district, this restaurant serves all the Indian classics, with a good range of tandoori, curries, rice, shrimp, vegetable and meat dishes. It also has a vegetarian menu, Indian beers, and several tasty drinks made from yoghurt and fruit. Open every day for lunch and dinner, except Monday when it is open in the evenings only. Via S. Francesco a Ripa 56, tel. 065803992, website.
Restaurant offering authentic Indian cuisine and a warm welcome, in the centre of the Monti neighbourhood. Specialities include chicken Maharajah tandoori, chicken tikka masala, aromatic vindaloo lamb, makhani paneer, and curries. There are also fixed menus for fish, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian dishes. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Booking advised. Via dei Serpenti 124, tel. 064747144, website.
Located in Monteverde near Villa Doria Pamphilj, this restaurant serves a good range of authentic Indian dishes such as curry, tandoori, vindaloo, tikka masala and rogan josh. In addition to its à la carte menu it also offers reasonably-priced fixed menus with vegetarian, non-vegetarian and fish options. Open seven days a week except Monday lunch. Circonvallazione Gianicolense 277, tel. 065826001, website.
Serving authentic Japanese cuisine in Rome since 1974. In addition to its array of sushi, this large restaurant has an extensive menu of traditional dishes including tempura and sashimi. One of Rome’s best-known Japanese restaurants, Hamasei is slightly on the expensive side, reflecting its city-centre location. Booking advised. Mon closed. Via della Mercede 35/36, tel. 066792134, website.
Elegant Japanese restaurant in the Prati district serving sushi, sashimi and tempura along with salads and soups. Guests can choose from the menu or the kaiten conveyor belt, and there is also a take-away option. Lunch and dinner Tues-Sun, Sat closed for lunch. Mon closed. Via degli Scipioni 243, tel. 063213420, website.
Korean barbecue restaurant offering large range of traditional Korean cuisine. Specialities include fish, vegetable and rice dishes such as japchae (sweet potato noodles stir-fried with vegetables and meat), pajeon (a pancake-like dish with sea food), and kimchi, a popular vegetable dish. Its lunch menu also offers take-away lunch boxes. Located in the Piazza Bologna area, the restaurant is modern and airy with high tables. Mon-Fri for lunch and dinner, Sat dinner only. Sun closed. Via Cremera 21, tel. 068842132, website.
Well-established restaurant in the Jewish Ghetto serving Jewish Roman cuisine as well as Mediterranean–Middle Eastern Jewish fare. All dishes are prepared according to traditional recipes, and the meat is strictly kosher. Specialities include artichokes, coucous, shawarma, baccalà (cod) and spigola (sea bass). The kosher dairy version of the restaurant can be found nearby at Ba’ Ghetto Milky on Via del Portico d’Ottavia 2/A. Via del Portico D'Ottavia 57, tel. 0668892868, website.
Family-run Mexican restaurant just down the road from the Vatican Museums. The Mexican and Tex Mex cuisine on offer includes all the classics such as fajitas, burritos, chilli con carne and enchiladas, all washed down with frozen Margherita cocktails, Tequila and Mexican beer. The atmosphere is friendly in this brightly-decorated but pricey restaurant, and booking is advised. Open daily for dinner, from 18.00. Via Mocenigo 10A, tel. 0639746373, website.
This restaurant has been serving Persian food in Rome's multi-ethnic Ostiense neighbourhood since 2012 and also acts as a focal point for the city's Iranian community. It specialities include Mirzaqasemi (a starter made from grilled aubergine, egg, garlic, tomatoes), Kufteh (meatballs, rice, vegetables), Bagali Polò (beef, rice, broad beans, dill, saffron), Chelo Fesenjan (chicken stew, pomegranate juice, walnuts, saffron) and Chelò Kubideh (two skewers of lamb and beef minced together), as well as salads, desserts and Persian tea. Open every day for lunch and dinner. The restaurant also offers a catering and delivery service. Via Ostiense 36/H, tel. 0681109052, website.
Sophisticated bistro that mixes Scandinavian culture with the cuisine of India and the Mediterranean region. The menu is creative and exciting, ranging from savarin of basmati rice with shrimps and Swedish salmon to meatballs with brie. Desserts are excellent. Interesting wine list, friendly and efficient service, good value for money. Via Ofanto 6, tel. 068546705.
This restaurant in Monteverde is known for its authentic Thai cuisine and friendly welcome. Specialities include Pad Thai, fried shrimps, Pad See Ew noodles, Tom Kha Gai (chicken coconut soup), and Panang Curry with beef. All dishes are created using special herbs and spices that arrive from Thailand each week. Note that in mid December the restaurant is due to move from Via Andrea Busiri Vici to nearby Via Quirino Majorana 199. Open for lunch and dinner every day. Tues closed. Via Quirino Majorana 199, tel. 0655263993, website.
This authentic Vietnamese restaurant in the S. Giovanni area offers a wide selection of traditional cuisine from the Mekong Delta, based around five basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty. Its specialities include fish, seafood, rice, noodles, soup, chicken, beef, pork, duck and vegetable dishes. The owner of this medium-sized restaurant takes pride in explaining the menu to his guests. Quality, genuine Vietnamese fare at very reasonable prices. Booking advised. Via Enea 56/A, off Via Appia Nuova, (Metro Furio Camillo), tel. 067825247, website.