Rome Restaurants, Cafés and Nightlife

Now that you're in Rome, what are you going to do? While you might have the sightseeing and museum tours all mapped out, how about keeping body and soul together with some good Italian food, and then stepping out at night to taste the social scene?

When in Rome, if you want to do what Romans do, try sampling some of the "native" dishes. You can start with pasta, although the variety is mind boggling, from penni, to ravioli to spaghetti as you've never had it before. There's sure to be wine on the menu as well, since Italy has several fine vineyards, including the ones in the Tuscany region, which produce Chianti.

Quick meals or snacks at outdoor cafes might be pizza, calzone, or bruschetta, a tasty dish made on Italian bread brushed with garlic butter and olive oil, then topped with tomatoes and other delicacies only limited by your tastes.

Restaurants

For the sit-down meal and evening dining, you're going to want to treat yourself to a little more...

Tullio

Via San Nicola da Tolentino 26. Often cited by tourists and residents alike as one of the ten best restaurants in Rome. The house specialty is Florentine Steak cooked on a grill, but they feature an array of dishes and wines from Tuscany. Many of the staff have been with the establishment for years, and regulars return for the abundant portions of quality food and excellent service. Business attire is required. The restaurant is closed in August.

Il Drappo

Centro Storico. Steep yourself in the flavourful food of Sardinia, at this quirky little restaurant with walls covered in mirrors and coloured fabric that changes with the seasons. The menu is set, and changed daily. You can start out with carta da musica, unleavened bread, and then move on to the second course, which is usually from the sea, although you can get landlocked dishes like suckling pig with myrtle. Finish off with something as sinful as seadas, a fried dessert stuffed with cheese and drizzled with honey.

Osteria Marcello

37 Via Aurora. Counted as one of the "in" spots of Rome, it still has moderate prices and excellent food. The ambience is often Hollywood-Europe with many of the cast and crew of Italy's burgeoning film industry to be found here on any given day. The house specialty is considered to be their brasato, pot roast simmered for hours in red or white wine.

Nerone

Colle Oppio Park. First opened in 1929 at the edge of the park, this delightful dining experience centres around two compact dining rooms, and a magnificent terrace overlooking the Colosseum. Sitting atop the ruins of Nero's Golden House, the Nerone restaurant is worth a visit just for the antipasto buffet, which offers the best of land and sea that Italy has to offer. The homemade pastas are exquisite, and for the more venturesome there is grilled swordfish and Roman-style tripe. Prices are generally considered to be good, including their very excellent wine list.

Nightclubs and Cafés

Now that you are full of food and the evening lies ahead, there are dozens of nightclubs and other spots to end your day on a high note.

Bella Blu

Via Luciani 21. The epitome of "in" spots. Glitzy and elegant, requiring suit and tie, it is not only a supper club, but also offers dancing and a piano bar. Known to be the hangout for the "beautiful" people of politics, business and entertainment.

Caffé Latino

Via de Monte Testaccio 96. Located in a very trendy district, this nightspot attracts the mid-20s to late 30s crowd for dancing, Latin music, occasional cabarets, and its separate music video room and bar.

Qube

Via di Portonaccio 212. Dance till you drop, Thursday to Sunday, at Rome's largest underground disco. The decor is stark, but the lights and the volume will numb your senses anyway.

Piper

Via Tagliamento 9. One of Rome's first discos, this weekend-only haunt is still incredibly popular, offering live music, pop videos, and occasional ballroom dancing for older patrons. Sunday afternoon is given over to teenagers.

Suite

Via degli Orti di Trastevere 1. Considered very hip, very trendy, and very "in". Suite draws its name from the decor: a futuristic hotel suite decorated in neutral colours, its ambience enhanced by lighting effects. This is part of the Riparte design café where you can enjoy dinner before you dance... if you are chosen to enter. Guests are "selected" by staff at the door. Different themes are featured, including the Wednesday night 70s and 80s disco kick.