Luciana Squadrilli

Luciana Squadrilli was born in Naples and lives in Rome, so it’s no surprise that the journalist and author has a thing for pizza (she cites extra virgin olive oil and sweets as her two other major passions). As editor of the Italian editions of Lonely Planet Magazine and Food & Wine, she has plenty of opportunities to share her insatiable love of eating and travelling.

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Where the Locals Are Eating (and Drinking)

Dining at Barred is never a disappointment. It’s a small and unassuming bar-slash-restaurant managed by two young bothers (a sommelier and a chef). The food is delicious and creative without being pretentious, and they serve an interesting selection of natural wines and great cocktails. It’s the perfect place to experience the local scene.

Experience Roman Food Culture and Cuisine

To visit the Mercato di Testaccio (local food market) is to really experience the local food culture in a number of great food stalls. For a taste of typical Roman food try SantoPalato, a modern trattoria run by Sarah Cicolini, who is often (and deservedly) featured in TV shows. Romanè is a restaurant that opened recently by Stefano Callegari and also serves traditional local cuisine. Its pollo alla cacciatora (Italian chicken stew with peppers) is outstanding! Cesare al Casaletto remains my place of comfort. The atmosphere is unfussy, and it serves great Roman dishes using simple recipes. Trattoria Pennestri does a brilliant modern take on Italian cuisine in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The Different Faces of Pizza

La Gatta Mangiona was the first to serve good pizza in Rome – so I’m an aficionada – but many others have opened since. 180grammi and L’Elementare Trastevere now make some of the best pizza in the city. They have revived the tradition of making good-quality, round Roman pizza that’s thin and crunchy. When in Rome, you can’t miss out on pizza al taglio (by the cut). It’s a Roman staple and [Gabriele] Bonci’s Pizzarium is deservedly the most famous address for it. There are many other great places that make it though. So much so that other food writers and I have created an entire guide dedicated to the best addresses for pizza al taglio in Rome. Young Francesco Arnesano is the most talented of Gabriele Bonci’s pupils so his Lievito Pizza, Pane deserves a mention for pizza al taglio. I also love Sbanco and Trapizzino where you can experience the genius pizza “pocket” concept by Stefano Callegari (from Romanè) filled with typical Roman sauces to eat on the go. For me however, when it comes to pizza, Seu Pizza Illuminati is the best in all of Rome: the dough is light, fluffy and perfectly risen, and the toppings are imaginative and delicious.

“It Is Possibly the Most Interesting Place To Dine in Rome Right Now”

I love Zia. It has only been around for a couple of years and already earned itself a Michelin star. The food is creative and the atmosphere is warm. Marzapane has made a huge impact on the local dining scene. Its format really surprised and conquered me from the minute it opened. It has since moved to a new location in a very nice period building. The kitchen – previously run by two brilliant young chefs – has been taken over by the talented Tommaso Tonioni who successfully mixes haute cuisine with genuine ingredients and a primordial taste of fire and grill. It is possibly the most interesting place to dine in Rome right now.

Italian Classics With a Divine View

I really love the Divinity terrace restaurant at the Pantheon Iconic Hotel, where one can enjoy drinks, wine, pizza, pasta and other simple, delicious food with a stunning view. Chef Francesco Apreda is also the chef at fine-dining restaurant Idylio on the hotel’s ground floor.

Make New Friends at the Dinner Table

Retrobottega is my favourite restaurant in the city because it offers a really unique experience. I’ve made friends with so many interesting people from all over the world while dining there. It was one of the first restaurants in Rome where you could share a table with other guests and interact with the chefs. It does a high-quality, fine-dining cuisine in an informal setting and personally sources wild herbs and fruits. It has a fresh pasta atelier that also sells pasta and other products to take home.

The Taste of Lazio in Rome

ProLoco Trastevere is a shop that sells amazing products from Lazio (like cured meats, cheeses and olive oils) that’s also a restaurant celebrating the cuisine of that region. It opens from noon until 1am and makes incredible cocktails. Owner Vincenzo Mancino has become a good friend of mine. He’s a smart guy who has devoted himself to finding and promoting the best of the Lazio region.

The Taste of Sicily in Rome

The most anticipated opening recently was that of the W Rome [hotel], which took place at the end of 2021. It features Giano Restaurant run by Sicilian chef Ciccio Sultano and a young and clever executive chef called Nicola Zamperetti. The cuisine is their contemporary take on Sicilian comfort food. The setting is equally elegant as it is lively and welcoming. The W Lounge Bar serves a Sicilian-inspired aperitivo and makes great cocktails crafted by Emanuele Broccatelli.

Rome’s Best Breakfast and Pastries

Casa Manfredi is the best pastry shop in Rome. It’s also my favourite breakfast place. It makes the best maritozzo (sweet Italian cream buns) in town and gorgeous modern cakes, French-style croissants and pain au chocolat. Also worth trying are the masterpieces by chefs Fabrizio Fiorani and Cesare Murzilli at the Zucchero pastry shop inside the W Rome hotel.

The Prettiest Little Bakery With the Most Delicious Tarts and Sourdough Bread

A bakery, a specialty coffee bar, a pastry shop, a peculiar decor workshop where vintage pieces find a new life and where everything can be purchased. I may be a little biassed here, since one of the founders is a friend and former colleague, but Tulipane really is a small gem in the heart of Rome. It’s a creature of love and passion where the gorgeous loaves, the delicious tarts and croissants and the lovely filled focaccia are not to be missed.

My Local Wine Bar

La Barrique in the Monti borough is a special place that’s full of happy memories for me. It’s where I built up my wine knowledge and shared many great bottles with friends and owner Fabrizio Pagliardi who has become a friend too.

Where I Celebrate in Rome

When I have something special to celebrate, I often like to go to Il Pagliaccio, a great fine-dining restaurant with the most cosmopolitan ambiance and food in Rome. There’s also Enoteca La Torre a Villa Laetitia, an elegant and very romantic restaurant where the food is also extremely good.

My Go-To for Fish

I really love going to Pascucci al Porticciolo, located just outside the city. Chef Gianfranco Pascucci comes up with the most creative recipes using outstandingly fresh fish.

A Sunday Escape From the City

Sora Maria e Arcangelo is where I go to treat myself to a Sunday lunch out of town. The atmosphere is warm and unpretentious and the food is very tasty. 

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