A Chef's Inside Guide to Rome's Best Food and More

Conde Nast Traveler

Photograph courtesy of Antica Pesa Close

Photograph courtesy of Antica Pesa

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Photograph courtesy of Antica Pesa

Trastavere's Antica Pesa is an institution in Rome. The Panella family has owned and operated it since 1922, and it's beloved for its classic Roman fare—cacio e pepe, amatriciana, and carbonara—as well as its modern take on traditional recipes. Celebs (think Michael Douglas, Alec Baldwin, and Jennifer Lopez) and locals alike frequent this establishment. But where does the chef himself chow down when he's not working? We spoke with Antica Pesa's co-owner and executive chef, Simone Panella, who told us his favorite eateries in Rome (besides his own), as well as his go-to spots to shop, drink, and relax.

La Casette di Campagna. "This is the local spot in Trastavere that I go to for pizza with my family, right near my house. The kids just love it. It's surrounded by nature and it's very quiet." Via Affogalasino 40; +39 06 6574 3230; www.casettedicampagna.it

Panatonni. "This is the restaurant I go to after work, when I get hungry. It's better known as 'The Morgue' because of the marble tables and the minimal furnishings—but it's great for late-night fried pizza and bruschetta. It's also a popular nightspot." Viale Trastevere 53; +39 06 580 0919

Da Buffetto. "I go to Da Buffetto for date nights with my wife. It's a typical Roman pizzeria—it’s always crowded. But it just has this amazing energy." Via del Governo Vecchio; +39 06 686 1617

Photograph courtesy of Antica Pesa Close

Photograph courtesy of Antica Pesa

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Photograph courtesy of Antica Pesa

Freni e Frizioni. "I go here for cocktails. It's a former garage that has been transformed into a modern cocktail bar, and a meeting place for night owls like me." Via del Politeama, 4/6; +39 06 4549 7499; www.freniefrizioni.com

Siver. "I love to shop at this place whenever I have free time during the day. They have great kitchen knives." Via Tuscolana, 269/A; +39 06 780 0056

Porta Portese. "This massive flea market is the best place to go to for any kind of antiques or vintage treasures." Via Portuense and Ippolito Nievo

Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio. "I love to spend time at this church, it's not touristy and absolutely magical. The architecture is completely circular, and the altar is placed exactly in the middle. It stands on an ancient temple dedicated to Mithras, God of War, worshipped by Roman soldiers. It's also the church where I got married." Via di Santo Stefano Rotondo; +39 06 4211 9130; www.santo-stefano-rotondo.it

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