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The best non-Italian restaurants in Rome
I’m here today with a post on the best non-Italian restaurants in Rome with a few specific audiences in mind: my fellow foreigners who have moved to Rome and want a break from Roman food, people who come to Rome and don’t like the food (HOW DARE YOU), people who like spicy food, and those in search of their own personal comfort food.
Under no circumstances should you interpret me writing this post as a way to express that I do not deeply, deeply love Roman food. On the contrary, I have written a 4,000-word treatise on Roman pasta, another guide to everything you should eat in the Eternal City, and a listicle about my favorite restaurants in Rome.
Some of these restaurants are recommended by the Michelin or other guides, but I came up with this list of the best non-Italian restaurants in Rome by using my own criterion: the food is good (revolutionary, I know, I should be a critic).
As always, I will add to this list whenever I find a new spot that I love! Until then, happy dining, L&Lers.
The best Japanese restaurants in Rome
Via dei Baullari 147a – +39 06 6476 0753 – website (phone reservations only)
Located between Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori, Shiroya offers excellent Japanese food in the heart of Rome’s city center. Hand-made dumplings, sushi, ramen, donburi and more are served up alongside craft beers and wine.
Umami Trattoria Giapponese
Via Mario Menghini 99 – +39 06 8913 8094 – book online through The Fork
There is a fried salmon roll at Umami that I think about more than is probably appropriate. The dumplings and shrimp tempura also live in my head, rent free. Trust me, the food at Umami is definitely worth the metro ride out to Colli Albani.
The best Chinese restaurants in Rome
Via Bergamo 15 – +39 3888348616 – Facebook page
I lived most of my early years thinking that Chinese people ate stringy strips of beef with sickly sweet teriyaki sauce, greasy chicken fingers with breading as thick as a winter coat, jerky-like cubes of bright red pork, fried rice that was so blackened with soy sauce that it was almost inedible, and bowls of powdery pastel mints for dessert, because that’s what was served at the Chinese restaurant in my hometown. Needless to say, I didn’t like Chinese food, although I did like roasting my teriyaki beef strips over the little flaming bowl of sterno that they gave us, and let’s be real, I still love those powdery pastel mints.
I have since had the joy of trying delicious Chinese dishes that are completely different and worlds better than what I ate as a kid in Maine, many of which have been in Rome at JiaMo Lab.
A great part of the dining experience at JiaMo is chatting with Chen, the face of the place. He’s so welcoming, and he takes the time to talk to you about the food.
The specialty of the house are the JiaMo from the Shaanxi province of north-west China. They’re a kind of sandwich made a crunchy bun and filled with seasoned meat and/or veggies. The dumplings are also stellar, as are the noodles, the Peking duck, the baozi… Ok, guys, just go hungry and order with gusto.
Viale Guglielmo Marconi 586 – +39 324 639 9916 – book online
When I heard that there was a Chinese restaurant with a natural wine list in Rome, it seemed like the perfect place to go, given Jeremy’s love of the cuisine and my love of natural wine.
On the menu at Sinosteria, you’ll find familiar dishes like sweet-and-sour pork and Kung Pao chicken, but unlike the Chinese food that I grew up eating, the meat is tender, and the ingredients are fresh.
Another cool aspect of Sinosteria is that the kitchen uses Italian ingredients. On the menu, you’ll find potatoes from Avezzano, oregano from Pantelleria, saffron from Navelli, and mugnoli di Pettorano sul Gizio, a type of green vegetable that’s only grown in a small area of Abruzzo.
The best Indian restaurants in Rome
Via Foscolo 13 – +39 06 8983 0063 – book online through Quandoo
Dreaming of daal or a buttery curry over fluffy rice? This is the spot.
Janta Indian Fast Food
Via Mamiani 11 – +39 06 446 0792
If you’re hungry near Piazza Vittorio, find the bright yellow “Indian Fast Food” sign and don’t look back. This budget-friendly option serves some of the best Indian food in the Eternal City.
The best Mexican restaurants in Rome
Via Catanzaro 6b – +39 06 4554 2607 – Facebook page
There are quite a few Mexican restaurants in Rome, but in my opinion, there are only two that matter, and Casa Sanchez is one of them.
The margaritas at Casa Sanchez perplex me slightly, because I don’t know how they can be so delicious, yet so strong.
After one, you’re dreamy, after two, euphoric, and after three, I’d imagine, you’re sleeping under the table (two is my absolute limit, so I wouldn’t know). For this reason, my husband and I refer to them as Quaaludes.
The food does not perplex me; I would happily eat it every day. I love the option that allows you to have three different tacos.
Daily specials are available. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT – if you ever go and they have barbacoa on the specials menu, YOU MUST:
1. let me know IMMEDIATELY
2. order it
Read my full post on Casa Sanchez here.
Via Aurelia 483 (inside the Mercato Irnerio) – +39 06 8913 5970 – website
I kept hearing rave reviews of El Jalapeño, so one night, we finally decided to go. A hop, skip and a two metro lines later, I was making my way to the Mercato Irnerio, heading down a sloping hill to hunt for tacos.
El Jalapeño totally lived up to the hype. It’s got a great menu, the staff was friendly, and the food was super.
Bonus: it’s a perfect spot for an early dinner or apericena, margaritas included.
Read my full post on El Jalapeño here.
The best Korean restaurants in Rome
Via dei Mille 18 – +39 06 4436 0160 – website
Tucked on a side street near the Stazione Termini, Gainn is a Michelin-guide-recommended restaurant that serves traditional Korean dishes in an elegant setting.
Via Roma Libera 26 – + 39 06 5831 0269 – website
I went to Igio once after it was recommended to me, and I have since been back several times for the spring rolls and kimchi fried rice, as well as the fried chicken, which is SO GOOD.
If you’re up for some table-side cooking, you’re in luck: Igio also does Korean barbecue (at the indoor tables only).
The best Peruvian food in Rome
Via Palestro 32/A – +39 06 446 0712 – book online
Inka Chicken is a small chain with three locations in Rome. I’ve only been to the one in Castro Pretorio (which is the original location). I can’t speak for the others, but they’re probably all comparable.
Sublime ceviche, juicy grilled meats, and pisco-based cocktails are just some of the Peruvian fare served up at Inka Chicken. The portions are big, so go hungry, or with friends, or, for the best experience: both!
The best Burgers in Rome
Via Candia 6 and Via Catania 94
Anyone who knows me knows that I loathe most condiments, but I make one exception: the smoky sauce on the Smoked Burgez. Throw in a side of crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside fries, and you have a perfect combo.
Disclosure: I haven’t ordered or been in awhile, but be aware that the wait times can be really long if you order Burguez from a delivery app, and if you go to the physical location in Via Candia, seating is limited. The prices are also pretty high for a burger and fries, but they’re very good.
Via degli Specchi 6 – +39 06 683 8989
Italian craft beer and big, juicy burgers in the city center? Sign me up! Just a stone’s throw from Campo de’ Fiori, Open Baladin is a great place to enjoy a brew or two and some of the city’s best burgers.
Via Giuseppe Parini 4 – +39 06 5833 2681
The rotating beer selection at Luppolo Station is reason enough to go, but the burgers sweeten the pot considerably.
Did I mention that they also have natural wine?
The best Filippino food in Rome
Via Germanico 170a – +39 06 8667 0274
I didn’t know much about Filippino food when two of my foodie friends brought me to Neighborhood Restaurant, but now I know one thing for sure: I was missing out!
I LOVE the Bicol Express, its significant heat cut with creamy coconut, and I could eat about 10,000 crispy Shanghai rolls. Truthfully, I’ve loved everything I’ve ever tried there, right down to the marshmallowy taste of the Ube ice cream for dessert. My favorite thing to do is let the owner just bring us a selection of dishes – if you’re not sure what to order, let her do the choosing for you.
9,994 more, please
The best Greek food in Rome
Via Gabriello Chiabrera 114/120 – +39 06 8777 8227
The line at Ilios is long, but the food is good. It’s worth the wait in my opinion – there’s lots of seating, both indoors and out, and everything is freshly prepared.
Viale Aventino 109 – +39 06 6442 0648
Elleniko speaks my love language, which is HALLOUMI. It’s not easy to come by in Rome, so whenever I find it, I squeal with delight, do a short but meaningful dance, and then order it.
Their vegetarian plate is my favorite: hummus, halloumi, fries, salad and pita. Elleniko has just a few seats, so it’s best to order for delivery or takeaway.
The best fried chicken in Rome
Legs and Legs Go
Legs: Via delle Rose 54 – +39 06 64962847
Legs Go: Via Giovanni da Empoli 23 – +39 06 83957506
When in Rome, pass on the colonel and go for something much better: Legs! Brought to you by the team behind Mazzo, they combined their Italian fried chicken with the best beers from Artisan in San Lorenzo, and made Legs.
If you don’t feel like going all the way to Centocelle to try their stellar fried chicken, you’re in luck: Legs Go opened for takeaway in Ostiense in early 2022.
The best brunch in Rome
Via Giovanni da Empoli 37 – +39 06 8772 5679
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am at Marigold multiple days a week. That is because I love it there. I love the ambiance, I love the staff, and I love the food.
Note that brunch is only served on Saturdays and Sundays, but you can get eggy breakfasts and superlative pastries and cakes from 9 -12 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as well, and then fabulous veggie-heavy lunches from 12 – 3.
Via di Monte Giordano 60/61 – book online
Right near Piazza Navona, Coromandel has a big menu that includes pancakes, eggs, and many things in between. Make sure to book as its extremely popular!
The best Thai restaurants in Rome
Via Giovannipoli 25 – +39 06 8901 1631 – book online
TukTuk Ride serves Thai dishes in a brightly decorated space.
The last time we went, we decided to try something new and went for the devil wings. The server warned us that they were very spicy, which we took with a grain of salt because, in our experience, our threshold for heat is higher than that of the local palate, generally speaking, but holy hell. These wings knocked us on our asses – in the best possible way, mind you. Despite their extreme spiciness and the sweat dripping into our eyes, we couldn’t stop eating them.
Via Quirino Majorana 199 – +39 06 5526 3993 – Facebook page
Located in the Portuense area, Sukhothai is an out-of-the-way spot that can satisfy your craving for Thai food in a sea of pasta and pizza.
If you order the dishes as is, they might be lacking a kick, so ask for them to be prepared with more spice than usual.
Via Britannia 5 – +39 06 5820 3145 – website
Thai Inn goes beyond just Thai food to include Malaysian and Indonesian dishes. It’s another great spot in the Eternal City to get your fix of many flavors you won’t find in Roman fare.
The best Syrian food in Rome
Piazza della Repubblica – +39 389 8930310 – website
Initially started to provide jobs for Syrian refugees in Rome, Hummustown has since opened its arms wider, hiring refugees from other countries, as well as victims of domestic and other violence, and Italians who were badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to their catering service and cooking classes, as well as holiday celebrations, Hummustown recently opened a kiosk in Piazza della Repubblica, so now you can enjoy their delicious Syrian food daily!
Hummustown has lots of special events, and the menu has expanded to include Italian and other cuisines for some of them. The best way to keep up is to follow them on Instagram.
That’s my list for now. Next up for me will be El Maìz, a Venezuelan street food place near that Vatican that I’ve been hearing very good things about!
I’d love to hear from readers on this topic – do you have a favorite non-Italian restaurant in Rome that I should try? Share it in the comments!