Rome may be the perfect getaway during the holiday season as the weather is relatively mild (compared to New York, Boston or London) and there is a festive mood in the air. The tricky thing is that for Christmas (Natale) and the New Year celebrations (Capodanno) some Romans leave the city or close up shop to spend time with their families. On the other hand, there are many who stay in the capital because there are lots of fun things to experience like fare lo struscio, which is a walk around town to people watch and see the Christmas decorations (via del Corso is a good choice), then on New Year’s eve witnessing the fabulous fireworks display.
Christmas Eve (la vigilia di Natale) is usually spent at home but there are plenty of places to eat out. Romans love to have Christmas day lunch at a restaurant and there are prix fixe menus at top-notch places that must be booked in advance. On New Year’s eve (la vigilia di Capodanno) it’s the same. Romans love a great party so make sure to reserve well ahead of time to get a table (we can’t emphasize this enough!)
Here is our list of where to eat in Rome during the holidays:
Agustarello (Testaccio) – Home-style Roman cooking open on Christmas day and New Year’s eve where you’ll find rustic classics like salsicce, fagioli e cotiche (a melange of sausages and beans), roasts, veggies and Antonella’s famous cherry tart for dessert.
Via Giovanni Branca, 100 – Tel +39 065746585
Casa Bleve (Pantheon) – Open for lunch and dinner on Christmas eve, on Christmas day and the 26th for lunch, New Year’s eve for lunch and dinner, January 1st for lunch. They’re known for outstanding fish like carpaccio of baccalà (cod) and lamb chops with vintage mustard and vegetables.
Via del Teatro Valle, 48 – Tel. +39 066865970
Al Ceppo (Parioli) – Open Christmas day for lunch and dinner also December 26th. New Year’s eve for dinner. Especially cozy during winter months due to their wood-burning fireplace which is also where they grill their prime meats. Pastas and wine are exceptional.
Via Panama, 2 – Tel. +39 068419696
Cul de Sac (Piazza Navona) – A wine bar around the corner from the beautiful Saint Agnes church. Always open with a solid wine list and delicious charcutrie platters.
Piazza di Pasquino, 73 – Tel. +39 0668801094
Pizzeria Emma (Campo de’ Fiori) – Some of the best pizza in Rome but pastas, salads and other dishes available. Open for lunch on Christmas eve, Dec. 26th for dinner, New Year’s eve only for lunch but on New Year’s day both lunch and dinner.
Via del Monte della Farina, 28 – Tel. +39 0664760475
Marzapane (Nomentana) – Beautiful, traditional, delicious. Classic Italian holiday meals like a Christmas eve fish feast then the day after a Roman meat orgy for our favorite carnivores. Also open on New Year’s eve.
via Velletri, 39 tel. 066478 1692
Metamorfosi (Parioli) – Here’s a Michelin-starred chef and artist re-inventing dishes based on tried-and-true Italian classics. Open Christmas day and New Year’s eve. Take a look at their impressive tasting menu.
Via Giovanni Antonelli, 30 – Tel. +39 068076839
Nonna Betta (Jewish Quarter) – Roman Jewish cuisine specializing in fried carciofi alle giudia artichokes and kosher twists on classic cucina romana including pasta dishes. Umberto, Betta’s grandson, and his family are there to greet you & make you feel like you’re home. Always open except Tuesday.
Via del Portico D’Ottavia, 16 – Tel. +39 0668806263
Roscioli (Campo de’ Fiori) – Known for its spectacular spaghetti carbonara and delicious cured meats. Open Christmas eve for dinner, Christmas day for lunch and dinner, December 26th for both lunch and dinner, New Year’s eve for dinner and New Year’s day for lunch and dinner. Their Christmas sweet bread, panettone, is a must!
Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22 – Tel. +39 066875287
Tram Tram (San Lorenzo) – As a starter their fried anchovies are to die for. After, there’s top-notch raw beef tartare or delicious sautéed mussels. An amazing wine list covers the whole peninsula. Open for Christmas Day lunch and New Year’s eve dinner.
Via dei Reti, 44 – Tel. +39 06490416
If you’re spending the holidays in Italy, be sure to check out our food and wine experiences!
Elizabeth Janus is a passionate traveller, and makes it a point to peruse the farmer’s markets in every place she visits to get an immediate pulse of the city. For the last decade, she has been guiding discerning clients on food adventures at farmer’s markets, speciality shops and into her home for unique Italian meals to experience Italy as an Italian..