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Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas

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

Well don't worry! There are lots of fantastic 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.

New in 2021!

Looking for new ideas for where to eat in Rome at Christmas?

I'll be adding some new spots to the page ... stay tuned! 

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. 

christmas tortellini soupTortellini soup is one of my favorite parts of a traditional Christmas meal in Rome.

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. 

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.

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 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 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.

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 for where to eat in Rome at Christmas.

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 Roman food, and their prices are reasonable. Usually around 35 Euros per person not including drinks.

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

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 2020 for lunch only.

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. 

rigatoni carbonara clementiniGorgeous rigatoni alla carbonara at i Clementini

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 2019 for Christmas Eve dinner (fish based, 60€ per person, incl water, bread, coffee, and a glass of prosecco)

Open December 25 2019 for Christmas Day lunch (meat based, 60€ per person, incl water, bread, coffee, a glass of prosecco and 1 bottle of wine for every 2 people) Menus for both meals are on their Facebook page, under their Events tab

Secondo Tradizione - 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 Anthony Genovese. Christmas menu 65€ not including drinks. You can view it on their Facebook page.

secondo tradizione in romeDelectable cold cuts and cheeses are front and center at Secondo Tradizione, one of my new favorite place to eat in Rome, and a perfect option for where to eat in Rome at Christmas!

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

December 24, December 25 2020 open lunch only. Limited a la carte menu, no set menu. 

Moma - One of my favorite moderately upscale Rome restaurants just received their first Michelin star. Don't let that throw you off. It's still affordable.

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. 

baccala Moma ristoranteSteamed cod entree at Moma

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. Also, their Christmas menus are a bargain!

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

Open December 24 and 25, 2019 for lunch and dinner.

Christmas lunch menu 130€ per person not including drinks. 

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.

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

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

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

In 2019, as always, open 365 days a year from 11am - 2am. Reservations for Christmas meals strongly recommended.

Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas - Roman trattorias

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.

The carbonara at Grappolo D'Oro is superb. This is one of my top picks for where to eat in Rome at Christmas.

Hosteria Grappolo D'Oro - In 2019, open for dinner December 24, for lunch and dinner December 25.

December 24, 2019, there is a set menu, for 65€ per person (including wine!) or a la carte.

December 25, 2019, there is a set menu, for 55€ per person (including wine!) or a la carte. The Christmas lunch menu is very traditional and includes tortellini soup and roast lamb,

All the menus looks scrumptious!

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 2019, they will be daily throughout the holidays, for lunch and dinner. Everything a la carteVia Evangelista Torricelli, 2/12. Tel: 06 574 6311

Checchino dal 1887 - In 2019 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 2019 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. 

Da Cesare al Casaletto is open for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2019. Via del Casaletto, 45. Tel: 06 536015

Roman trattoria favorite, Armando al Pantheon, is closed all during Christmas and New Years.

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

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.

tonnarelli scoglio romolo e remoTonnarelli allo scoglio at Romolo e Remo

Armando a San Lorenzo - In 2019, 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 4457 860.

Romolo e Remo - For Christmas Day lunch, there is a special menu, for 45€ per person, not including wine, menu is on their website. Via Pannonia, 22-26 (Porta Metronia/San Giovanni). Tel: 0677208187. 

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 - In 2019, 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 Francesco Crispi, 19 (Trevi Fountain/Spanish Steps). Tel: 06 678 5904

Chinappi - In 2019, open December 24 for dinner (99€ per person, not including wine); December 25 open for lunch and dinner (A la carte fish menu or Gala menu (fish) 88€, or Gala menu (meat) 69€ per person not including wine, either meal). December 26, open normally for lunch and dinner. For menus, visit their websiteVia Augusto Valenziani, 19. Tel:+39 06 481 9005

Sardegna - In 2019, open December 24 for lunch only, 4 course special menu, wine not included - click here for info info. Open December 25 for lunch only, a la carte menu. Closed December 26. A la carte. Via Sardegna 34/36 (via Veneto). Tel. 06 42016296

Osteria Der Belli - 2019 open December 24, 25 and 26 but lunch only every day, normal menu. Piazza di Sant'Apollonia, 11 (Trastevere). Tel: +39 06 580 3782

Where to eat in Rome at Christmas - Luxury

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.

Christmas 2019 - On Christmas Eve, enjoy unique creations by executive chef Heinz Beck and one of the most amazing views in Rome. Seven-course Christmas dinner 490€, 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 175€ (80€ for children), and a la carte beverages, or dinner at La Pergola, for 490€, not including wines.

La Pergola +39 06 3509 2152;

L'Uliveto +39 06 3509 2145;

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, 270€ not including wine. Executive chef Francesco Apreda.

At Salone Eva, 130€ not including wine.

In 2019, on Christmas Day, indulge in a special Christmas lunch at Imago. 165€ not including wine. Or, at Salone Eva, enjoy high tea and a Christmas jazz concert from 5-10pm. 40€.

Piazza Trinità dei Monti, 6. Tel: 06 6993 4726

Looking for something special on Christmas Eve, December 24? Look no further than Grand Hotel Plaza di Roma.

In 2019, the Grand Hotel Plaza di Roma are offering a unique experience on December 24, in their Sorelle Fontana restaurant

A price of €95.00 per person applies, and a full menu and details can be found here

Via del Corso, 126. Tel: 06 67495

Where to Eat in Rome at Christmas - various other options

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. 

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

Casa Bleve - A beautiful spot with superb wine cellar. In 2019, open 24th and 25th  (à la carte menu); Closed on December 26. Via del Teatro Valle, 48 (Pantheon). Tel: 06 686 5970

Urbana 47 - This modern, quirky place serves innovative yet distinctly Italian dishes in a warehouse-y chic setting.  In 2019, open December 25 and 26 open for lunch and dinner. Via Urbana 47 (Monti). Tel: 06 4788 4006

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 2019 open December 24, 25 and 26, lunch and dinner. No set menus, normal a la carte menu. Via Sardegna 38 (via Veneto). Tel: 06 4282 4893.

il Corallo - A cozy pizzeria with other dishes like pastas, seafood and steaks. In 2019, open December 24, 25 and 26 for lunch and dinner. For December 25 lunch, there will be a reduced a la carte menu. Via del Corallo 11 (Piazza Navona). Tel: 06 6830 7703.

Ristorarte Vegetariana Margutta - Arty, modern vegetarian restaurant. In 2019, open for 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.

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

  • Hard Rock Cafe - American fare on via Veneto, always open.
  • Above, I've listed two of my favorite restaurants in Rome's luxury hotels, but you can count on most of them around Rome to be open. Try La 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, especially around Piazza Vittorio (Termini.)
  • Giggetto and other trattorias in the Jewish Ghetto. 

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