12 Delicious Family-Friendly Restaurants in Rome

Carbonara, one of the four classic Roman pastas
Carbonara, one of the four classic Roman pastas

One of the great things about taking a family vacation to Rome is the food. Most kids love pasta, pizza and gelato, and most restaurants are welcoming to children, so there is no need to stress about finding a restaurant with kid-friendly food.  

Yet sometimes finding good, authentic Roman cuisine around the most popular tourist attractions can be a challenge. 

Ask any tour guide in Italy where to find good food and they will tell you to walk three blocks and then pick any place that doesn’t have a menu in multiple languages out front. But sometimes, you want a bit more specificity. 

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Rome 

First, it helps to know what foods Rome is particularly known for, so you can be sure to try some of the local specialties. Like they say, “when in Rome…” 

What to Eat in Rome
Traditional Roman pizza rossa, with tomato sauce and olive oil but no cheese

What to Eat in Rome 

  • Roman pizza — unlike Neapolitan pizza’s doughy, chewier crust, Roman crust is thin and crispy. 
  • Fritti — especially in the Jewish Ghetto, you will find fried specialties like Roman fried artichoke, fried salt cod, fried zucchini flowers and crochette (mashed potato croquettes).
  • Carbonara — carbonara, usually served with spaghetti but also with rigatoni, is made with eggs, pecorino cheese and guanciale.
  • Guanciale — found in many pasta dishes, guanciale is pig cheek. But don’t be scared — if you like pork belly, pancetta and bacon, you’ll love guanciale, which is cut in small chunks and sautéed until crispy. 
  • Amatriciana — also served over spaghetti or tube pastas, amatriciana is made with tomato, pecorino, and guanciale. 
  • Cacio e pepe — the “cheese and pepper” pasta sauce is made with pecorino and pepper. 
  • Porchetta — this slow-roasted pork is cooked over wood and seasoned with garlic, rosemary and other herbs to the point that it is falling-apart tender.
  • Tripe — the Testaccio neighborhood is famous for its offal-based dishes, but tripe might be a tough sell for kids. 
Restaurants in Rome featuring authentic Italian food. Photo by Natalia_Maroz/ AdobeStock
Photo by Natalia_Maroz/AdobeStock

Eating in Rome with Kids 

So where can you get some of these specialties? Let our roundup of family-tested restaurants in some of Rome’s most popular neighborhoods be your guide. 

Roman Forum and Piazza Venezia

Taverna dei Fori Imperiali Located steps from the Colosseum and Roman Forum, this homey restaurant may offer an English menu, but when we dined there, we saw plenty of locals having their Sunday evening meal. The carbonara was exceptional, as well as the artichoke sautéed in lemon and white wine. 

Colosseum 

Caffe Propaganda — Just a 5minute walk from the Colosseum, this upscale modern Roman restaurant looks a bit more like a French bistro inside. It may not be as good for younger kids but the food is excellent.   

Reimagined dishes like the deconstructed tiramisu and eggplant croquettes were outstanding, as were the classic Roman pasta dishes like cacio e pepe and amatriciana. 

Carciofi fritti at a restaurant in Rome, Italy. Photo by Comugnero Silvana/AdobeStock
Carciofi fritti at a restaurant in Rome. Photo by Comugnero Silvana/AdobeStock

Campo dei Fiori

Ai Balestrari — A visit to the market in Campo dei Fiori is fun, but if you want to sit down, Shannon recommends Ai Balestrari, which offers outdoor tables that seat four to five, with paper tablecloths for coloring. They offer typical Roman cuisine and pizza, and in the summer you will likely be entertained by street performers. 

Jewish Ghetto

Hosteria da Giggetto — Not far from the Pantheon or Piazza Venezia, the Jewish Ghetto is a great neighborhood to explore. We enjoyed touring the museum and beautiful synagogue, but we also loved sampling the fritti in this neighborhood. Try to go in the spring when the carciofi alla giudea is in season, because this deep-fried artichoke and its crispy leaves are such a treat. 

Piperno — We also enjoyed sitting in the quiet outdoor courtyard at Piperno and sampling their fried artichoke, crochette and fried zucchini flowers. 

What to Eat in Rome
Carbonara, one of the four classic Roman pastas

Pantheon

Pizzeria ZaZa — Finding non-touristy food around the Pantheon was challenging, but Shannon recommends Pizzeria ZaZa in Piazza Sant’Eustachio (across from the famous coffee bar). She says that here it is easy to find seating in the quiet piazza and enjoy the amazing seasonal toppings like ricotta and zucchini flower, wild mushroom and pecorino, and potato with rosemary. 

Piazza Navona

Ristorante Tre Scalini — This may be a prime tourist restaurant in a prime tourist location, but you still need to go to get their famous tartufo. 

Where to Eat in Rome with Kids
Cacio e pepe suppli in Trastevere

Trastevere

If you are visiting the Vatican, you will have a hard time finding good food, but if you pop across the river to the lively Trastevere neighborhood, you can eat to your heart’s content and enjoy exploring the area while you are at it. 

I Suppli — One food I neglected to mention above is suppli, fried rice balls stuffed with cheeses or meats. Unlike Sicilian arancini, suppli rice is cooked with tomato sauce instead of broth. This walkin joint is perfect for a snack when exploring Trastevere. You can also find delicious versions of suppli made with pasta.

La Renella — Maybe it is the hazelnut shells they use in their giant ovens that makes the thin-crust margherita pizza so crispy. I’m not sure, but whatever it is, it is delicious. 

Da Enzo al 29 — This small, casual restaurant is famous for its classic Roman dishes like fried artichokes and tripe, but you can also find all the local pastas, like cacio e pepe, carbonara and amatriciana. 

Eating gelato at the Trevi Fountain in Rome Italy. Photo by Alona Dudaieva/AdobeStock
Photo by Alona Dudaieva/AdobeStock

Best Gelato in Rome

Fatamorgana — Fatamorgana makes artisanal gelato using all-natural ingredients, not like that fluffy, neon-colored stuff you see throughout the city. We had the most amazing gelato in their Trastevere location, and Shannon let me know that they also have an outpost by the Spanish Steps. Her kids love “The Prince’s Kiss,” Fatamorgana’s version of the delicious chocolate-hazelnut bacio. 

If you avoid tourist traps, you are bound to find something that will make you and the kids happy, but hopefully this guide will make your choices a little easier. 

Relevant Links: 

Browse all family-friendly accommodations and activities in Rome on Ciao Bambino

72 hours in Rome with kids

10 off-the-beaten-path family activities in Rome

52 things to know before traveling to Italy with kids

10 tips for traveling to Italy with kids

1 to 2 weeks in Italy: The best itinerary for families

 

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