I wanted to put done some of my general thoughts and suggestions about dining in Rome.
First of all let me say that I think Rome is a one of the best food cities in the world. You may not have as much variety as you would in New York or London, but in terms of quality and choices of local cuisine Rome cannot be beat.
My number one suggestion is avoid restaurants that are too touristy. They will generally be overpriced and the food not up to the quality that you would find in restaurant that caters to locals. Most restaurants that are situated right on the main piazzas and other prime spots fall in to this category. Though these restaurants do offer the most convenient locations and often time have great views. There is nothing quite like have dinner al fresco right on one of the beautiful piazza of Rome. If you go this route I would make sure you pick a place that someone recommends or simply save this experience for cappuccino and dessert. I would suggest trying the many restaurants that are located on the small streets.
In the area around Piazza Navona and The Pantheon, there some great restaurants on the small streets just of the Piazza. While I’ve found all of the restaurants I tried that were immediately on Piazza Navona or directly in front of The Pantheon to be so-so and overpriced.
Though there is nothing like a nice, long, sit down meal at an Italian restaurant in Rome, they can be long affairs. So if you want to have any time left for sightseeing, some of your meals will need to be on the go. No need to worry though, some of the best dining experiences quick bites or taken on the go.
Gelato (Italian ice cream) is simply the best. Ice cream served in the U.S. and elsewhere that I’ve tried just does not compare to. There are gelato shops all over the place in Rome; you can’t walk for more than a few minutes without passing one buy. This makes it very easy to succumb to temptation. Most places make it fresh and serve dozens and dozens of different flavors.
There is nothing quite like a quick cappuccino to start your day off with in Rome. Unfortunately I’m a bit of a caffeine addict so that quick cappuccino to start off the day is the first of many. Fortunately though it is quite reasonably priced. For under US$1 you can get a cappuccino that blows away anything that they make at Starbucks and is usually whipped in about 30 seconds. One thing to note though, if you sit down and order from the waiter as opposed to ordering and drinking at the counter, you will be charged more.
A great quick bite on the go is a slice of pizza served from one of the small pizza shops located everywhere, usually on the main street. They typically have five to ten types of pizzas sitting out at that glass counter top. The usual way of ordering is done by telling the person working the counter which one you want and indicating with your hands how big of a slice you would like. The pizza is then cut and weighed since it is sold by weight, not by slice.