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Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas
Updated for 2015

Wondering where to eat in Rome at Christmas? Worried that the city shuts down for Christmas, or at least that it will be hard to find a place to eat?

seabream ravioli with shellfish broth at Crispi19Ravioli of sea bream in shellfish broth with tempura vegetables at Crispi 19

 Actually, there are lots of good options for places to eat in Rome on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas in a nutshell

Certainly on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, you will be able to eat at any of the restaurants in the 5-star hotels; many of the high-end (michelin-starred) restaurants; most of the restaurants in the Jewish Ghetto; and many ethnic restaurants. (Listed at the very bottom.)

This page is more about where to eat in Rome at Christmas, in more local and central restaurants. I've updated opening/closing dates and prices for the following restaurants for December 24, 25th and 26th, since that is a holiday too.

Just below, you can read about what people eat during Christmas in Rome.

Or you can jump down to read Where to eat in Rome at Christmas.

What to eat in Rome at Christmas

Aside from giving you suggestions for where to eat in Rome at Christmas, I thought you'd like to know what people eat in Rome on Christmas.

Dinner on Christmas Eve is all about fish. Which specific fish dishes people eat varies widely and often simply depends on the traditions within a given family.

The "Feast of the Seven Fishes" is part of Italian-American cuisine and you won't find it in Rome.

It's common to start Christmas day lunch with tortellini soup. Although tortellini pasta is traditionally from northern Italy, you will often find it in Roman homes and trattorias on Christmas Day. This is followed by a meat course. In my Roman mother-in-law's case, it was always roast lamb. But other meats are used as well.

For dessert, we eat panettone and pandoro, or pan d'oro. Panettone is a kind of bready tall cake, filled with either raisins or candied fruits...or even chocolate or orange. Pandoro is more of a plain spongecake, topped with powdered sugar. 

panettoneArtisanal panettone - yummm!
pandoroPandoro - my fave!

Ask any Roman and they will tell you they have a strong preference for one or the other. I love panettone when there are not raisins or candied fruits involved, but otherwise, I am a pandoro girl.

If you are invited to someone's home for a holiday meal, you can't go wrong bringing a panettone or pandoro.

But you will make an even better impression if you take care to get one made at a bakery. It will cost a bit more than the ones you can find at the supermarket but there is a world of difference in the quality and the taste.

If you want to have a big Roman meal at a restaurant on Christmas day, you should consider booking in advance, as many Italians like to eat out on Christmas Day (who wants to cook and clean on Christmas?) 

Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas - listed by type

There are actually quite a few places where to eat in Rome at Christmas. I can't list them all here, But, I'll give you a great selection of some of my favorites. Unless otherwise noted, all meals are a la carte.

Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas - My Faves

I would eat at any of the places I list on this page (otherwise I would not put them here!) But if I was going out for Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas Day lunch, these would be my first choices.

Piccolo Arancio - One of my favorite local restaurants in Rome. Although they are right near the Trevi Fountain, they are relatively un-touristy, they offer authentic, delicious food, and their prices are reasonable. Around 30 Euros per person not including drinks.

Why I'd eat here on Christmas - It's warm and homey and cozy, and I love the food.

Details: Vicolo Scanderbeg 112/113. Tel: 06 678 6139

Open December 24th and 25th for lunch only. Open December 26.  

jewish style artichoke piccolo arancioJewish style (fried) artichoke made perfectly at Piccolo Arancio

Baccano - The more I eat at Baccano, the more I love it. It's got a bright, airy ambiance, and plenty of interesting options on the menu (including big salads, foie gras, giant burgers, oysters.) They also offer many traditional Roman dishes that they do very well. It's right near the Trevi Fountain so expect other tourists, but don't let that stop you. The menu is very varied, so there is a wide price range. Something for everyone. 

Why I'd eat here on Christmas: It's bound to have a nice vibrant, cheery atmosphere.

Details: Via delle Muratte, 23. Tel: 06 6994 1166

Open 365 days a year from 10am - 2am. Menu a la carte, but there's a slightly reduced menu for Christmas and New Years.

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baccala mantecata il baccanoBaccalà manteca (torte of buttered cod), topped with puntarelle (chicory salad), at il Baccano

i Clementini - One of my favorite restaurants near the Colosseum, and one of the few to have excellent quality, fresh food at very fair prices. Around 30 Euros per person not including drinks.

Why I'd eat here on Christmas: First, I enjoy the food and casual ambiance. Second, this is a great area of Rome to be in any time, and certainly at Christmas! The basilica of San Clemente is right next door, (and lots of other great small churches I love are nearby.) Plus, there is a giant beautifully lit Christmas tree right by the Coliseum. So I'd spend my time before or after eating soaking up the Christmas feeling in this neighborhood.

Details: Via di San Giovanni in Laterano, 106. Tel: 06 4542 6395

Open December 24 lunch only. Open December 25 and 26, lunch and dinner. No special menu, just a la carte. 

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rigatoni carbonara clementiniGorgeous rigatoni alla carbonara at i Clementini

Moma - My go-to "nice" restaurant in Rome. The setting inside is subdued, romantic and elegant, but not stuffy. Add delicious, sublimely-prepared, innovative Italian food, and a superb wine selection, and you have the perfect spot for a special meal out. Located in the Piazza Barberini/via Veneto area, so you can easily get there by Metro. Around 40-50 Euros per person not including drinks.

Why I'd eat here on Christmas: This is the spot for a special or romantic dinner any time, and particularly around the holidays!

Details: via di San Basilio 42. Tel: 06 4201 1798

Open December 24, 25 and 26 for lunch and dinner. A Christmas tasting menu is available (for the entire table only.) Or, you can also choose a la carte.

baccala Moma ristoranteSteamed cod entree at Moma

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Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas - Roman trattorias

All these are top-notch, well-known and loved Roman trattorias, serving traditional Roman cuisine. Unless they have a special menu, expect to spend between 35-45 Euros per person not including drinks.

Checchino dal 1887 - Open December 24 dinner only, December 25 lunch only, and both dinner and lunch on December 26. Tasting menu but also a la carte available. Via di Monte Testaccio, 30 (Testaccio). Tel: 06 574 6318

Flavio Velavevodetto - Open December 24 and 25 for lunch only, all day December 26. Via di Monte Testaccio, 97 (Testaccio). Tel: 06 5744 194. 

Hosteria Grappolo D'Oro - Open for lunch and dinner December 24, 25 and 26. For Christmas Eve dinner, there is a set seafood-based menu, for 50€ a person, including wines (and it looks scrumptious!) For Christmas day lunch, there is a set menu with a mix of dishes but including tortellini soup and roast lamb. The cost is 45€ per person including wines. Finally, they have some set menus for Christmas dinner (December 25 evening) as well, between 30-40 Euros per person not including wines. Other mealtimes, everything is a la carte. Piazza della Cancelleria, 80 (Campo dei Fiori). Tel: 06 689 7080. 

Two other Roman trattoria favorites, Da Cesare al Casaletto and Armando al Pantheon, are both closed all during Christmas and New Years.

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Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas - non-touristy Roman trattorias

roman artichoke at antico forno testaccioCarciofo alla Romana at Antico Forno a Testaccio

So why am I calling this section "non-touristy" Roman trattorias?

Well, the above Roman trattorias, are really good, really Roman...but they are also on the guidebooks' and food-blogs' radar. And, they tend to be pretty central.

So you will find excellent Roman food, but yes, you will find plenty of tourists there also. I personally don't mind this but I know a lot of visitors to Rome want to eat "where the Romans eat."

If you want to know where to eat in Rome at Christmas with the locals, try these. You have to venture just slightly away from the tourist center, but you will very likely find the place chock-a-block with Roman families and barely a tourist in sight.

tonnarelli scoglio romolo e remoTonnarelli allo scoglio at Romolo e Remo

Armando a San Lorenzo - Closed December 24. Open December 25 for lunch only. Open December 26. A la carte menu, but with reduced options on Christmas Day. Piazzale Tiburtino, 1-5 (San Lorenzo/Termini). Tel: 06 4959 270. 

Antico Forno a Testaccio - Open for lunch only December 24 and 25 and for lunch and dinner December 26. Via Amerigo Vespucci, 28 (Testaccio). Tel: 06 5746280

Romolo e Remo - Open December 24 for lunch only and December 25 and 26 lunch and dinner. For Christmas Day lunch, there is a special menu, for 30€ per adult, 20€ per child, not including wine. Via Pannonia, 22-26 (Porta Metronia/San Giovanni). Tel: 0677208187. 

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Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas - Seafood

spaghetti vongole tartare di gamberi crispi19Spaghetti with clams, bottarga and shrimp tartare, at Crispi 19

Crispi 19 - Open December 24, 25 and 26 for both lunch and dinner. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they have special set menus, 100€ per person (not including wine.) The Christmas Eve menu is all about fish, while the Christmas Day menu leans towards the traditional, with a modern take on tortellini soup, and other game and meat dishes. Via Crispi, 19 (Trevi Fountain/Spanish Steps). Tel: 06 678 5904

Sardegna - Open December 24, 25 and 26 for lunch and dinner. Via Sardegna 34/36 (via Veneto). Tel. 06 42016296

Le Mani in Pasta - Open December 24 and December 25 for lunch only. Via Dei Genovesi (Trastevere). Tel: 06 5816 017

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Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas - various other options

I am lumping these all together just to give you some more choices where to eat in Rome at Christmas. They are all restaurants where we send our hotel guests during the year, and where we ourselves eat out as well! Unless otherwise mentioned, all meals are a la carte. 

baccala e ceci casa bleveBaccalà e ceci (codfish with chick-pea cream) - Casa Bleve's take on a traditional Roman dish

Casa Bleve - Apart from being one of the prettiest restaurants in Rome, they also have one of the most impressive wine cellars around. You will eat and drink divinely (although not inexpensively.) Open December 24 for lunch and dinner. Open December 25 and 26 for lunch only. Via del Teatro Valle, 48 (Pantheon). Tel: 06 686 5970

Trattoria Moderna - I love this trattoria for the warm, cozy yet elegant decor, the inventive and traditional dishes they serve and for the super friendly staff. Open December 24, 25 and 26. Vicolo dei Chiodaroli (Campo dei Fiori). Tel: 06 6880 3423

Urbana 47 - This modern, quirky place serves innovative yet distinctly Italian dishes in a warehouse-y chic setting.  Open December 24, 25 and 26. Via Urbana 47 (Monti). Tel: 06 4788 4006

il Falchetto - A very good all-around Roman and Italian restaurant that has delicious food and friendly service. It's right between the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, making it an excellent central place to be on Christmas.  Open December 24, 25 and 26. Via dei Montecatini, 12 (Trevi Fountain). Tel: 06 679 1160.

San Marco - A pizzeria/restaurant serving fantastic wood-burning oven Roman-style pizza and plenty of other typical Roman fare, in a modern yet warm setting. Open December 24, 25 and 26. Via Sardegna 38 (via Veneto). Tel: 06 4201 2620.

Tullio - old-fashioned Tuscan-style restaurant and steakhouse with great pasta, Florentine beef and large portions. Open December 24 for lunch and dinner. Open December 25 for lunch only. Closed December 26. Via di San Nicola da Tolentino, 26 (Piazza Barberini/Via Veneto). Tel: 06 474 5560.

il Corallo - cozy pizzeria with other dishes like pastas, seafood and steaks. Open December 24, 25 and 26 lunch and dinner. For December 25 lunch, there will be a reduced a la carte menu, with more traditional dishes, and no pizza available. Via del Corallo 11 (Piazza Navona). Tel: 06 6830 7703.

Ristorarte Vegetariana Margutta - Arty, modern vegetarian restaurant. Open for lunch and dinner December 24, 25 and 26. Via Margutta, 118 (Piazza del Popolo/Spanish Steps). Tel: 06 3265 0577.

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Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas - you can count on these to be open!

The below restaurants are places you can count on to be open at Christmas:

  • Hard Rock Cafe - American fare on via Veneto, always open.
  • Almost all 5-star hotel restaurants, and Michelin-starred restaurants, including Imago (at the Hassler), Pipero al RexLa Terrazza dell'Eden, Le Jardin de Russie, The Raphael Rooftop Bramante Restaurant, and many more. Just know all of these have sent menus in the 150€ per person range, and up. Sometimes way up.
  • Some ethnic restaurants including Chinese and Indian, such as Il Guru, in the Monti neighbourhood.
  • Giggetto and other trattorias in the Jewish Ghetto. I am not a big fan of Giggetto, as I find the food just ok, but some people love it. But it's a good option if you want to kind of avoid all the Christmas stuff (or if you just want to eat in the Ghetto!)

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