My 10 favorite restaurants in Lazio outside Rome

Marina and I at Il Cappano dei Pescatori in Fregene, our favorite beach spot in Lazio.
Marina and I at Il Capanno dei Pescatori in Fregene, our favorite beach spot in Lazio.

Rome is my favorite restaurant city in the world. Sorry, Paris. I’ve had a steak there that a Bengal tiger couldn’t eat. New York? Too crowded and expensive. Mexico City? Haven’t been there in more than 40 years. 

Rome may not have the variety or ethnic food of other cities but for consistently high quality, prices and atmosphere, no city in the world beats Rome for restaurants.

The quality has rubbed off outside of Rome, too. Since Marina and I started TraveLazio, a website dedicated to day trips from Rome, in January 2023, we have written thumbnail sketches on 34 fascinating little towns near the capital. 

If you haven’t read TraveLazio and love Italy, this is a must read. Every TraveLazio blog includes a general overview, three Things to Do, a short feature on a quirky town trait, How to Get There and More Information. But this is my favorite part:

Where to Eat.

Each blog includes a restaurant that we tried and recommend. We have eaten our way from the sea in Sabaudia to the hills of Tuscania. As in Rome, in rural Lazio we can count our bad meals on a couple fingers. But some stand out.

Below are our 10 favorites, in rough order. Each town is linked to the TraveLazio we wrote about in more detail. Bookmark it. Next time you’re in Rome and want off the beaten path, check out TraveLazio and this list and you’ll have a day trip you’ll never forget.

Buon appetito!

Vinous, the food and wine website, called Cimino’s amatriciana “the best in Italy.” Photo by Marina Pascucci

Trattoria del Cimino, Caprarola

Via Filippo Nicolai 44, 39-07-61-646-173/39-371-484-2982,,, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 7:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Opened in 1895 and in the Calistri family for five generations, Cimino is an elegant restaurant built in the town’s first palace from 1300. Behind the elegant bar is an 8,000-year-old marble slab found in the area. According to the wine and food website Vinous, Cimino has “La Migliore Amatricana d’Italia (The best amatriciana in Italy).” The amatriciana truly is spectacular and made with pici, the short, twisty pasta native to the area. Mains start at €12. Caprarola is considered one of the hazelnut capitals of Italy and Cimino’s torta di nocciola dessert is alone worth the trip.

The dining laout at Il Capanno dei Pescatori. Restaurant Guru photo

Il Capanno dei Pescatori, Fregene

Via Silvi Marina 21, 39-06-6941-6497, 9 a.m-midnight. This is our go-to place when we hit the beach in the summer. With a private beach, it has free parking if you rent their lounge chairs. Come off the beach for lunch and eat fresh seafood dishes and salads at shaded tables while your toes wiggle in the sand and you look at the sea. Lunch for two with wine usually costs me €50-60. Fregene is just north of Fiumicino Airport and has a great old Italy beach vibe with beach bums cruising the paved paths on one-gear bikes.

My gnocchetti in salmon sauce at Romeo Ristomare. Photo by Marina Pascucci

Romeo Ristomare, Santa Severa

Lungomare Pyrgi, 39-07-66-570-997,,, 12:30-3 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, dinner starting May 13. We just went here Friday on our latest TraveLazio assignment. Look for the blog this Friday. The 40-year-old restaurant is a big room with huge picture windows looking out onto one of the best beaches in Lazio. It’s easily reachable by a direct train. Don’t freak out by the giant octopus mural on the wall. The polpo (octopus) isn’t as scary when grilled and put in your salad. My gnochetti (small potato dumplings) in salmon sauce and pistachio was one of the best gnocchis of my life. Before lunch, tour the nearby 13th century castle which the Vatican built, not for defense, but for an escape to the sea.

The mixed antipasti at Chiocchio’.

Chiocchio’, Artena

Via Santa Maria 40, 39-06-951-7096,, A modern, sprawling restaurant at the top of the town tucked into the Lepini Mountains southeast of Rome with a spectacular panoramic view of the valley below, the 50-year-old restaurant specializes in meat and fish. Get the mixed antipasti with everything from baccala’ to bruschetta to bufala mozzarella. My veal-filled ravioli in truffle sauce was exquisite. Lunch for four of us came out to only €30 each. Artena has the world’s best rugby museum but you don’t need to be a rugby fan. Just wander around the steep, narrow alleys and watch the town mules haul goods down the hill.

The cheese plate at La Torre di Lavello. Photo by Marina Pascucci

La Torre di Lavello, Tuscania

Via Torre di Lavello 27, 39-07-61-434-258, noon-11 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday. Housed in a medieval building, the 23-year-old restaurant is in the shadow of the Torre di Lovello. The outdoor tables have a tremendous view of the countryside and landmark St. Peter’s and castle beyond. Get the enormous cheese plate served with sliced pears and honey. The surrounding nature reserve is a big wild boar hunting area and I had paccheri (wide, flat pasta) al ragù di cinghiale (wild boar) e arancia (orange). The orange added an inviting sweet taste. Mains start at €12. Lunch for two with wine was €54. Tuscania is 70 miles south of the Tuscany border, the perfect stopover on the way to Florence. It’s also a huge center for ceramics.

Spaghetti vongole (with clams) at Amelindo. Photo by Marina Pascucci

Amelindo, Fiumicino

Lungomare della Salute 111/b, 39-06-658-3216,, noon-3:30 p.m., 7:30-11 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday. Yes, Fiumicino is more than the name of Rome’s airport. It’s also a town of 80,000 people. It’s right on the sea and where smart Romans go for fresh, inexpensive, authentic seafood void of tourists. Amelindo is our favorite place in Fiumicino. We’ve gone for Christmas and anniversaries. Across the street from the sea, it has been around since 1969 and is popular with Rome families, particularly on Sunday. Fresh fish and seafood pasta dishes start at €12. The house white wine is straight from the Lazio vineyards.

Casual atmosphere, high-end seafood at Antonio al Porto.

Ristorante da Antonio al Porto, Anzio

Via Molo Innocenziano 38, 39-06-92-09-0309, noon-3 p.m., 7-10 p.m. Great fresh seafood on harbor over the water with outdoor seating. Antonio worked for years in Florida and is fluent in English. It’s one of the many casual eateries ringing Anzio’s historic harbor. The wraparound windows show the port and a plant wraps its way around a column to the ceiling. We sat at blue and white checked tablecloths and I had the risotto alla crema di scampi (rice in a prawn sauce). It’s easy to screw up scampi, but the flavor of the prawns stayed on my tongue on every bite. Anzio drips with history. It’s Nero’s birthplace and the remains of his massive villa can still be seen. It also has the Museum of the Anzio Landing when Allied troops hit the beach in 1944 and turned the tide in World War II.

The mixed seafood grill at Romolo al Borgo. Photo by Marina Pascucci

Romolo al Borgo, Nettuno

Piazza Marcantonio Colonna 1, 39-06-980-5037,,, 9:30 a.m-3 p.m., 6-11 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Just down the road from Anzio is Nettuno, famous for the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery with more than 7,800 graves of American soldiers from World War II. Romolo al Borgo is a stylish, modern, 20-year-old restaurant near the port featuring a big floor to ceiling glass door and black and white photos of old Nettuno. They introduce you with house borak, little egg roll appetizers. Try the mixed grill and definitely order a glass of Cacchione, Nettuno’s signature white wine. Lunch for two with wine and appetizers was €70.

The carciofi at Trattoria dei Cocci. Photo by Marina Pascucci


Trattoria dei Cocci, Cerveteri

Via Agillina 41, 39-379-199-7005, 6 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 1-3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.-midnight Friday, 1-3:30 p.m., 6 p.m.-midnight Saturday, 12:30-3 p.m.-6 p.m. midnight Sunday. Speaking of graves, Cerveteri has one of Italy’s largest necropolises with 20,000 tombs. You won’t lose your appetite at Cocci. It features classic Roman dishes such as amatriciana, carbonara and, the challenging Roman street dish of rigatoni pajata (intestine of unweaned calf), starting at €12. My gnocchi with sausage was excellent. Wash it down with Cerveteri’s highly regarded mixed red wine served as the inexpensive house red. Lunch for two with wine was €35. 

Il Vescovado is a cozy place to eat. Photo by Marina Pascucci

Il Vescovado, Sutri

Via del Vescovado 9, 39-08-61-608-811,, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Sit under an archway with art covering the walls near the fire where they prepare local dishes. I paid only €42 for two fixed-priced set meals on Valentine’s Day. It’s hard to find a good steak in Rome but they specialize in them here. Sutri is also home to the “other” colosseum, a 9,000-seat smaller version of the one in Rome just northwest of the capital.