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?
Well don't worry! There are lots of fantastic options for places to eat in Rome on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
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.
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.
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. Sometimes you will find it with bits of chocolate or orange.
Pandoro is more of a plain spongecake, topped with powdered sugar.
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.
You can easily get authentic panettone or pandoro in other parts of the world. Click here to browse for Italian Christmas cakes on Amazon.
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?)
There are many 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. In some cases, there is a set menu with a fixed price (prix-fixe), where noted. If I don't mention a prix-fixe menu, it's a la carte.
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 for where to eat in Rome at Christmas.
Secondo Tradizione - One of my newest favorite Roman restaurants. Located in Prati, not far from the Vatican Museums, this restaurant grew out of a collaboration between the nearby historic salumeria (deli), La Tradizione, and chef Piero Drago who trained under 2-Michelin ** chef chef Anthony Genovese (Genovese contributed to the crafting of the menu). Christmas menu 65€ not including drinks. You can view it on their Facebook page.
Why I'd eat here on Christmas - It's a little out of the center and feels like a longtime neighborhood spot. I also enjoy the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. But more than anything, I'd eat here for the exquisite food, perfectly prepared and presented.
Details: via Rialto, 39 (a 3 minute walk from the Cipro metro stop.) Tel: 06 3973 4757
Open December 24 2017 for lunch and dinner. December 25 open only for dinner. December 26 open for lunch and dinner.
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.
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.) 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 2017 for Christmas Eve dinner (fish based, 60€ per person, incl water, coffee, bread, digestives, and 1 bottle of wine for every 2 people. A great deal!!)
Open December 25 2017 for Christmas Day lunch (meat based, 50€ per person, incl water, coffee, bread, digestives, and 1 bottle of wine for every 2 people. )
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 35 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 24 and 25 2017 for lunch only. Open December 26.
Marzapane - My favorite should-have-a-michelin-star-but-doesn't restaurant in Rome. Marzapane is just wonderful, in so many ways: the ambiance is subdued yet warm and welcoming; the service is perfect, and of course, the food, well the food is just amazing. I think a Christmas meal for under 100€ is a steal here. Wine not included.
Why I'd eat here on Christmas: The food. Period.
Details: via Velletri 39. Tel: 06 6478 1692
In 2017 open December 24 for Christmas Eve dinner, December 25 for lunch only, December 26 for dinner only. On days where there is a specific menu (see link to their website above), you may only order that menu (please let them know in advance of any food allergies.)
Moma - The setting 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.
Why I'd eat here on Christmas: This is a warm and cozy spot for a special or romantic dinner any time, and particularly around the holidays!
Details: via di San Basilio 42. Tel: 06 4201 1798
For Christmas 2017, open December 24 for dinner only, 25 for lunch and dinner, and 26 dinner only. A Christmas tasting menu is available for 70€ without wine (for the entire table only.) You may also choose a la carte.
Baccano - Baccano offers an interesting menu with some traditional Roman dishes, and plenty of other international plates too (caesar salads, burgers, oyster bar and raw fish!) It's right near the Trevi Fountain so expect other tourists, but don't let that stop you. As the menu is so varied, you will find a wide price range.
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
In 2017, as always, open 365 days a year from 10am - 2am. Reservations for Christmas meals strongly recommended.
All these are top-notch, well-known and loved Roman trattorias, serving traditional Roman cuisine. These are great options for where to eat in Rome at Christmas if you want something simple and local. Unless they have a special menu, expect to spend between 35-45 Euros per person not including drinks.
Hosteria Grappolo D'Oro - In 2017, open for lunch and dinner December 24, 25 and 26. You can view all their holiday menus for 2017 here. 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. 45€ per person including wine. Other mealtimes, everything is a la carte. Piazza della Cancelleria, 80 (Campo dei Fiori). Tel: 06 689 7080.
La Torricella - This super-local, simple trattoria in the less touristy Testaccio neighborhood is known for their seafood, and delicious Roman pastas. In 2017, they will be open December 24 and 25 for lunch only. Via Evangelista Torricelli, 2/12. Tel: 06 574 6311
Checchino dal 1887 - In 2017 open December 24, 25 and 26 for both dinner and lunch. For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you may find some typical Christmas dishes in addition to the regular menu. There is also a "tasting menu", which is available year-round. If you prefer, you can simply order a la carte. Via di Monte Testaccio, 30 (Testaccio). Tel: 06 574 6318
Flavio Velavevodetto - They used to be open 365 days a year but in 2017 they will be closed December 24 evening and December 25 evening, but open for Christmas Day lunch. Open all day December 26. Via di Monte Testaccio, 97 (Testaccio). Tel: 06 5744 194.
Two other Roman trattoria favorites, Da Cesare al Casaletto and Armando al Pantheon, are both closed all during Christmas and New Years.
Here's my latest find in Roman "trattorias", and it's a great option for where to eat in Rome at Christmas if you crave Roman food:
Do you love Roman cuisine? Never sure what to order because you want to try it all? This is the place for you! At Assaggia, a new restaurant near the Spanish Steps, with dishes conceived by Michelin-starred chef Angelo Troiani, you can order tapas-sized tastings of your favorite Roman dishes.
On Christmas Day, enjoy a full-course Roman Christmas lunch, in lovely small portions that allow you to taste a bit of everything. 60€ not including wine. Via Margutta 19 (near the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo.) Tel: 06 9779 7980
Why am I calling this section "non-touristy" Roman trattorias?
Well, Roman trattorias I listed above 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 a bit more of a local feel, try these. You have to venture just slightly away from the tourist center, but you will likely find the place chock-a-block with Roman families, and fewer tourists.
Armando a San Lorenzo - In 2017, closed December 24. Open December 25 for lunch only. Open December 26 all day. 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 - In 2017, open for lunch only December 24, open December 25 and 26 and for lunch and dinner. A la carte menu but fewer choices than their typical menu. Via Amerigo Vespucci, 28 (Testaccio). Tel: 06 5746280
Romolo e Remo - In 2017 open December 24 and 25th for lunch only and December 26 lunch and dinner. For Christmas Day lunch, there is a special menu, for 45€ per person, not including wine. Via Pannonia, 22-26 (Porta Metronia/San Giovanni). Tel: 0677208187.
Crispi 19 - In 2017, open December 24, 25 and 26 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
Chinappi - In 2017, open December 24 for dinner (89€ per person, not including wine); December 25 open for lunch and dinner (66€ per person not including wine, either meal). December 26, open normally for lunch and dinner. For menus, visit their website.
Sardegna - In 2017, open December 24 for dinner, 25 and 26for lunch only. A la carte. Via Sardegna 34/36 (via Veneto). Tel. 06 42016296
Osteria Der Belli - In 2017, open December 24, 25 and 26 lunch only. Via Dei Genovesi (Trastevere). Tel: 06 5816 017
If you are looking for something really special, you cannot go wrong dining at these wonderful restaurants headed by celebrity Michelin-star chefs.
Probably one of the most special places where to eat in Rome at Christmas is at 3-Michelin*** restaurant, La Pergola.
On Christmas Eve, enjoy unique creations by executive chef Heinz Beck and one of the most amazing views in Rome. Seven-course Christmas dinner 450€, not including wine.
In the same location, the Roma Cavalieri Waldorf Hotel, you may also dine on chef Fabio Boschero's delicious 5-course menu, for 98€, not including wine, at the pool-level restaurant L'Uliveto.
Finally, on Christmas Eve, if you prefer to indulge only in some holiday cocktails, come by the Tiepolo lounge and terrace for a real treat.
On Christmas Day, you have the choice of lunch at the Uliveto restaurant, with lunch 160€ (65€ for children), and a la carte beverages, or dinner at La Pergola, for 450€, not including wines.
La Pergola +39 06 3509 2152; ROMHI.LaPergolaReservations@waldorfastoria.com
L'Uliveto +39 06 3509 2145; ROMHI.FB@waldorfastoria.com
If you want to know where to eat in Rome at Christmas, with amazing food, and special views like this, look no further than Imago.
The Hassler Hotel is uniquely situated right at the top of the Spanish Steps, and their superb restaurant Imago is without a doubt a very special place to enjoy Christmas in Rome. They also have a sister restaurant on the lobby level, Salone Eva, which offers delicious dining too.
Christmas Eve dinner at Imago, 265€ not including wine. Executive chef Francesco Apreda.
At Salone Eva, 120€ not including wine.
On Christmas Day, indulge in a special Christmas lunch at Imago. 150€ not including wine. Or, at Salone Eva, enjoy high tea and a Christmas harp concert from 5-7pm. 30€.
Piazza Trinità dei Monti, 6. Tel: 06 6993 4726
I am lumping these all together just to give you even more choices where to eat in Rome at Christmas. Unless otherwise mentioned, all meals are a la carte.
Casa Bleve - A beautiful spot with superb wine cellar. In 2017, open December 24 dinner only, open December 25 lunch only; December 26 dinner only. Via del Teatro Valle, 48 (Pantheon). Tel: 06 686 5970
Trattoria Moderna - Warm, cozy yet elegant decor, with inventive and traditional dishes, and, a super friendly staff. Open December 24, 25 and 26 2017. A la carte menu with fewer choices and slightly higher prices. 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. In 2017, open December 24 for early lunch only. December 25 and 26 open for lunch and dinner. 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 2017 lunch and dinner. 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. In 2017, closed December 24 evening. Open lunch and dinner, a la carte menus on December 25 and 26. Via Sardegna 38 (via Veneto). Tel: 06 4201 2620.
il Corallo - A cozy pizzeria with other dishes like pastas, seafood and steaks. In 2017, open December 24, 25 and 26 for 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. In 2017, open for lunch and dinner December 24, lunch only on December 25, and on December 26 open lunch and dinner. Christmas Eve dinner menu is 60€ which does not wine. Christmas Day there is an all you can eat lunch buffet for 35€. Via Margutta, 118 (Piazza del Popolo/Spanish Steps). Tel: 06 3265 0577.