Here are ten of the best places to enjoy al fresco dining in and around Rome, whether it’s for the view, the food, or purely for the ambiance.Local Roman restaurants have been opening slowly, sprouting outdoor tables on sidewalks and covering parking spaces along the cobblestone roads. The Italian tradition of Al Fresco dining is alive and well. Trattorias and restaurants take advantage of gardens, loggias and courtyards of historic buildings to create the perfect environment for eating and drinking. Here are our top ten suggestions on where to eat well outdoors in Rome. The list ranges from classic spots for romantic dinners to starred restaurants with gourmet menus, to lively restaurants for those seeking simplicity.
Ristorante AdelaideHere is a place where you can touch history. The Hotel Vilòn overlooks the secret garden of Palazzo Borghese, complete with Renaissance fountains, and occupies a wing of the seventeenth-century residence that in 1841, at the behest of Princess Adelaide Borghese de la RocheFoucauld, became the first finishing school, "to educate those less fortunate girls in honesty of manners, acts and thoughts that would distinguish them for their elegance". She is the character that the restaurant pays homage to in its name, in memory of her grace and hospitality. The kitchen of Adelaide is run by young chef Gabriele Muro, and the menu does not forget Roman tradition, with an entire section - Tentazioni Romane - dedicated "to the dishes that have made Rome famous in the world, cooked according to their original recipes", including the "holy trinity": Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, Rigatoni alla Carbonara and Bucatini all'Amatriciana.
Via dell'Arancio 69, tel 06878187
Alfredo alla ScrofaAlfredo alla Scrofa has been world famous since the 1920’s, thanks to Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, two Hollywood actors who ate here during their honeymoon in Rome. Piazzetta Alfredo, the picturesque outdoor seating area of the restaurant in the historic center, is relaxing, comfortable and refined. If you’re not in the mood for fettuccine, the menu also offers seasonal dishes and an insanely delicious bufala mozzarella appetizer. There is also a new cocktail menu that promises to breathe new life into this classic restaurant. Service is guaranteed every day from 12:30pm - 3.30pm and from 7pm to midnight.
Via della Scrofa 104/a, tel. 0668806163
Ercoli 1928A few informal tables outside on the steep slope of Viale dei Parioli are perfect for enjoying the wonders of Ercoli 1928. Lunch is great, but the atmosphere is perfect for an aperitif with a charcuterie board with cold cuts and rare cheeses, or simply a glass of vermouth from among the dozens and dozens of bottles that the Vermouth Bar has on offer. A great place to meet friends, it’s open everyday from 9am - 1am.
Viale dei Parioli 184, tel 068080084
Ristorante GranoHave a leisurely dinner on the patio in quiet Piazza Rondanini, near Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. A more modern take on Italian cuisine, order the exotic spaghetti aglio e olio, caponata and grilled octopus. The unparalleled desserts are not to be missed: millefeuille, tiramisu and parfait. Excellent prosecco, or white wine, will keep you coming back, and the coffee at the end of the meal is one of the best from a restaurant. Grano’s reputation for fabulous service is much deserved and the prices are fair for the quality of the ingredients and the cool, sophisticated atmosphere. Open every day for lunch (12.30pm - 3pm) and dinner (7.30pm - midnight).
Piazza Rondanini 53, tel 0668192096
Cielo TerraceWe are in Via Sistina 69, at the top of the Spanish Steps. The 18th century building that houses the Hotel de la Ville has been completely restored, but the rooftop terrace is the real gem. Cielo Terrace Bar, not only serves oriental inspired snacks and salads, but also samples of traditional Roman first course dishes, raw and grilled fish, fried delights, and desserts. The skyline of the Eternal City is just icing on the cake. OPen every day from 12pm - 11pm.
Via Sistina 69, tel 0697793716
Ristorante ArchimedeIn the heart of Rome, with a beautiful view of Basilica Sant’ Eustachio, this restaurant offers a picturesque outdoor seating area, with tables available for large parties. The Italian cuisine of Archimede is rooted in tradition: try the excellent fried zucchini flowers, ricotta cheese and spaghetti carbonara. Fresh desserts change daily, from semifreddo to panna cotta. The house wine is perfect for pairing with pasta, but they also have an extensive list of wines from all over Italy. Have a glass at one of the shady, Ivy- covered tables. Open from 12pm - 3pm and 7.30pm - 11pm. Sundays lunch service only from 12pm - 3pm.
Piazza dei Caprettari 63, tel 066861616.
Latteria GarbatellaFar from the chaos of downtown lies a courtyard furnished with beautiful salvaged pieces, fabulous cocktails and a fresh, dynamic menu to be enjoyed in the company of friends and the cheerful chatter of other customers. With a commitment to the neighborhood’s tradition of offering customers value, Latteria Garbatella is currently open from 5pm to midnight from Monday to Friday, and from 12.30 to midnight on Saturday and Sunday.
Piazza Geremia Bonomelli 9, tel 065123913
Flavio al VelavevodettoIt’s not simply a trattoria: Flavio is the king of carbonara. The kind with a perfect creamy consistency that has been created over years of experience.
Nestled in the Monte dei Cocci in Testaccio, with a small terrace and a veranda, at Flavio's Velavevodetto you eat seasonal ingredients, which come strictly from the owner’s garden just outside of the city walls, including the wine. Open from 12.30 - 3pm and 7.45pm- 11pm. For the afternoon service, a menu of sweets and tea is offered as a snack, and more savory items are for the aperitif (from 3pm to 7pm).
Via di Monte Testaccio 97, tel 065744194
Trattoria da CesareAt this point, Cesare al Casaletto is an institution, and a must on any outdoor dining list. A large patio located at the top of the Monteverde Nuovo neighborhood is the ideal setting for a family meal. Leonardo Vignoli, owner and chef, combines local ingredients to create truly traditional cuisine. Tripe in tomato sauce, eggplant croquettes all'arrabbiata and fried gnocchi with cheese and pepper are just a few of the acclaimed dishes on offer. Lunch from 12.45- 3pm and dinner from 7.45pm - 11pm. Closed Wednesdays.
Via del Casaletto 45, tel 06536015
PianostradaThe inner courtyard of this restaurant is dripping with plants and flowers, and offers a tasty escape from the chaos of the city. Pianostrada is perfect for an outdoor lunch, alone or with friends, just a few steps from Campo de' Fiori, and in one of the most beautiful spots along the Tiber. The owners have taken advantage of the closure to study a new menu dedicated to quality streetfood and a slight restyling of the restaurant. Open every day for lunch and dinner (on weekends also for breakfast).
Via delle Zoccolette 22, tel 0689572296
L'Ancora (Maccarese)This traditional Mediterranean restaurant has a comfortable dining area, and is great for a quick and casual seafood meal right by the sea. Open for lunch and dinner from May-September, lunch only for rest of year. Located on Rome's coastline near Fiumicino.
Via dei Noci 28/30, tel. 062314433, website.
Casa del CinemaIn the heart of Villa Borghese, this sophisticated and elegant restaurant is the place for a full meal or just a quick snack before enjoying a film at the Casa del Cinema theatre next door.
Largo Marcello Mastroianni 1, tel. 0642016224, website.
La Baia (Fregene)This beachside restaurant offers a terrace overlooking the sea, with a refreshing breeze in summer. Its menu, with a large assortment of fresh seafood dishes, makes it a great option for lunch and dinner. Closed Mon lunch.
Via Silvi Marina 1, tel. 0666561647, website.
La Taverna degli AmiciThe terrace is so small that booking is essential. This ivy-clad restaurant is in a tiny but beautiful square, hidden away down an alley a few minutes from Piazza Venezia. Mon closed.
Piazza Margana 37, tel. 0669920637, website.
L’isola del Pescatore (S. Severa)Known for its fresh seafood and daily specials, this restaurant is located right on the beach and offers spectacular views of S. Severa castle. Located about 50 km north of Rome, near S. Marinella. Closed Wed during winter.
Via Cartagine 1, tel. 0766570145.
Roof Garden at Grand Hotel de la MinerveLiterally a stone’s throw from the vast dome of the Pantheon, this rooftop restaurant has a magical atmosphere on a summer’s evening. However it is far from cheap.
Piazza della Minerva 69, tel. 06695201, website.
Terrazza CaffarelliThe more upmarket sister restaurant of Il Caffe Capitolino in the Musei Capitolini on the Campidoglio has an amazing terrace with views over the whole city. Mon closed.
Piazzale Caffarelli 4, tel. 0669190564, website.
Vecchia RomaThis is one place where the food, scenery and atmosphere are all on par. Sparkling white linen and candlelight in one of the charming squares on the edge of the Ghetto make this a choice for romantic dinners and special occasions. Wed closed.
Piazza Campitelli, tel. 066864604, website.
Vivi BistrotLocated in Rome’s largest park, Villa Pamphilj, this charming, barn-style restaurant allows guests to dine amidst the greenery while enjoying healthy, organic cuisine. Closed Mon in August.
Via Vitellia 102, tel. 065827540, website.
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