Rome Vatican Eating Guide

“Andate al Vaticano?” “Are you going to the Vatican?” “Vais al Vaticano?” “Allez-vous au Vatican?” Emerging from the Ottaviano subway stop into the neighborhood of Prati, one thing is clear – the Vatican is near! And if you chose your apartment in Prati, you probably didn’t need the tour guides to remind you of that. But what you don’t know – and will soon discover – is that hidden among the quiet streets of Prati are some of the best restaurants in Rome.
First on our list of must-try restaurants is Ragno d’Oro, a ristorante-pizzeria on Via Silla. They are most renowned for their pizza, and deservedly so. They serve up pizzas with a thin and crunchy crust, baked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. (And this is important – for a pizza enthusiast, there really is nothing worse than a soggy pizza with chewy dough!) The result is a light pizza that you can easily finish without feeling overstuffed afterwards. Be sure to ask for their signature “calzoncini” as an appetizer and you’ll be presented with delicious bite-sized pieces of baked pizza dough with melted parmesan.
And while you’re doing your rounds of pizzerie, you can’t miss La Pratolina. This pizza joint is famous for their unique oval-shaped pizza, or “Pinsa,” as they call it. With 37 types of Pinsa to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong. A favorite of ours is the Pinsa Genovese, which is topped with buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, pesto, and prosciutto. And to achieve that sought-out light and crunchy crust, La Pratolina uses a wood-fired oven with an innovative lava stone base. Reservations are a must!

Once you’ve had your fill of pizza, try Sorpasso. This trendy restaurant has its doors open all day, starting with breakfast at 7:30 am, though the place really starts buzzing around aperitif time at 6 pm. It has a wide selection of wines, as well as an equally formidable selection of cold cuts and cheeses. During the aperitif hour, try a “trapizzino,” a mini-calzone stuffed with a variety of delicious fillings. For lunch or dinner there are always new specials, but a tried-and-true dish is their Parmigiana di Melanzane (Eggplant Parmesan), ever so tweaked with the addition of zucchini. This shabby chic restaurant is cool, almost too cool – you can forget dinner if you haven’t made a reservation, sometimes even the day before.
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key and don’t want to fight for a table, I Colibri’is the perfect oasis after a hectic day of sightseeing. This quiet restaurant on Via Famagosta serves typical Roman cuisine, and both their first courses (pastas) and second courses (meats and fish) are delicious. An extra bonus is that it’s family-run and the staff is incredibly kind and polite.

For those who want to dine in, Prati is home to the biggest market in Rome, Mercato Trionfale. With a total of 273 stalls, this new, covered market is a dream for locals. If you’re staying in the Walton, LeBlanc, Lincoln, or Drake, you’re lucky enough to be just around the corner. This market has virtually everything – fresh fruit and vegetables, cold cuts, cheese, meat, fish, handmade pasta, fresh bread, pizza, spices, farm eggs, every type of mushroom imaginable, and the list goes on! (And if you forget something, it even has non-food items like toiletries.) The prices are competitive and the sellers zealous. It’s worth a visit, if just to tantalize your senses with all the delectable aromas before heading to a Prati restaurant.
(Photos courtesy of tripadvisor.com and info.howtotouritaly.com)


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