Looking for restaurants near the Vatican? This guide to dining close to St. Peter’s square and the Prati neighbourhood has restaurants for every budget – and a few locals-only secrets!
So search no more if you’re looking for where to eat near the Vatican – typically one of Rome’s most touristy areas, but no longer a place where you are obliged to settle for a mediocre meal.
Restaurants in Prati: Rever Food
Rever Food in Rome is a relatively new restaurant in the Prati neighbourhood, close to Piazza Cavour, which typically welcomes a mix of local workers and residents as well as travellers in the know. This project, from two under-30 friends, Fabio Sardella and Matteo Insegno, is distinguished by imagination and originality. It’s a 20 minute walk from the Vatican, making it ideal if you’re looking for somewhere to eat after visiting the Vatican Museums.
Go elsewhere for typical pasta dishes or second course plates – at Rever Roma, every stage in the dining experience is a breath of fresh air. The restaurant itself is fashioned from a former workshop, with lovely square glass windows and a cavernous dining space where you won’t be rubbing elbows with your neighbours.
I started dinner with a Newton gin and tonic – a fun play on words which features a dash of apple juice poured over the g+t at the table – referencing Newton’s apocryphal fallen apple event. This intellectual-but-fun vibe continues through the plates which all have a strong chromatic identity.
‘Rosso su Rosso’, red on red, is a pasta dish combining tonarelli with beetroot, mint, gorgonzola and smoked ricotta. Meanwhile, ‘Zona Gialla’, a tongue in cheek reference to pandemic zoning classifications – combines steamed baccala, yellow cherry tomatoes, baby eggplant in a hunter’s sauce for a very cheerful, golden plate.
The dessert menu at Rever Rome isn’t afraid to break the rules, combining fruit with savoury notes. For example, the lemon meringue tart features powdered spinach, adding rich organic notes. All in all, it’s a daring but delicious menu which is worth your time. And look out for savoury, filled croissants during the aperitivo hour!
Rever Food Via Pietro Cavallini 25, Rome; tel 0039 375 670 4956
Restaurants near the Vatican: Mr Doyle Barbeque
Located on the edge of a rather wild park beyond Via dei Cavalleggeri, on the south side of San Pietro, this barbeque garden has proved one of Rome’s best-kept secrets this summer. You have to know about this cool, green field sheltered by trees and bushes – and plan to wear fairly sturdy shoes to eat here!
Once you’re inside the magical garden of Mr Doyle Barbeque, everything makes sense. The strings of fairy lights give it a lovely food festival vibe and in fact this barbeque garden is essentially a warm weather pop-up which is destined to to transition to reduced hours in October and make an appearance basically at weekends and bank holidays.
During the summer months, however, it’s open every day, with its no frills garden party vibe. The meat is slow grilled off-site and briefly warmed on site, in a safe and professional way, so there’s no smoke or unnecessary heat.
What to order? I recommend the festival-ready combo box (€16) which includes pulled pork, pulled beef, sticky ribs, pork belly and sausage, plus two mini buns so you can put the pulled pork and beef into delicious sandwiches. There are also fries and salads available, plus individual portions of all the barbeque options. The wine, beer and cocktail list is good and designed for park life – so expect individual cocktail portions pre-mixed by Drink It and a handful of craft beer labels.
They do only have chemical toilets so expect a 360° festival experience – although I can guarantee you won’t need wellies! Definitely one of the most unexpected restaurants near the Vatican!
Mr Doyle Barbeque Via Cavatore, Rome; tel +39 0664503277
Restaurants in Prati: Sogno Autarchico
This characteristic wine bar near the Vatican may look old-school, but there’s a delicious, slightly anarchical vibe thanks to owner Gianni and his colourful band of regulars. This is a wine bar in the strictest sense which won’t cater to tourists looking for soda and snacks. Instead, come ready to try some excellent Italian wines and an informal but quality dining experience.
Gianni serves up beef tartare, mouthwatering focaccia trays from his hometown of Genoa, savoury flans and slices of game with a menu that changes regularly. Best of all, try to drop in on one of his Saturday set lunches where you pay an incredibly reasonable fee – think around €30 – and the wine and food just keep coming.
Gianni chooses what arrives, of course, and you can expect a sharp word if you want to veer from his magnificent plan! Reservations recommended. All in all, one of the most interesting restaurants near the Vatican.
Sogno Autarchico Via Properzio 23, Tel +39 06 68801310
Restaurants near the Vatican: Les Etoiles
Les Etoiles Rome is a cocktail bar and fine-dining restaurant near the Vatican in Rome offering peerless rooftop views of Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Located in a sleepy side street close to Castel Sant Angelo and Piazza Cavour, Les Etoiles is the rooftop restaurant and bar of the Atlante Star Hotel in Rome, a luxury hotel with 70 rooms and suites.
Don’t be fooled by its neutral exteriors – Les Etoiles has the best rooftop with Vatican views in the whole of Rome. As one of the highest buildings this side of Saint Peter’s, you almost feel like you’re getting an exclusive audience with the Pope!
Thanks to its strategic position, Les Etoiles offers plenty of charms during the aperitivo hour when golden light slants across the rooftop terrace. You’ll be getting ready for a Vatican selfie from this peerless spot, on the building’s highest rooftop terrace.
Once the aperitivo hour is done at Les Etoiles, head to the lower terrace for fine dining. Think fish-focused gourmet food, with Saint Peter’s Basilica perched on the horizon like a jewellery box. As the sun goes down and the lights come up on Vatican City, this is an unforgettable experience! Full food review here.
Les Etoiles Via dei Bastioni, 1; Tel +39 06 686386
Restaurants in Prati: Carpaccio The Beef Boys
Carpaccio: the Beef Boys is an exciting new restaurant in Rome’s Prati district which specialises in raw meat dishes and top quality steaks.
Situated in a modern building just steps from Piazza Cavour, and not far from the Vatican, this meat-focused menu at Carpaccio in Prati specialises in that most Italian delicacy – carpaccio – while also welcoming fusion flavours to its varied menu.
Carpaccio, the Italian dish of thinly sliced, raw steak which is usually dressed with oil and lemon juice, rocket and shavings of parmesan, is served in multiple variants here at Carpaccio in Prati at impressive prices. This is one of the most popular restaurants near the Vatican thanks to its tasty dishes and well-priced menu so reservations are an absolute must. Full food review here.
Carpaccio the Beef Boys Via Ennio Quirino Visconti 8B Tel +39 0647548964
Where to eat near the Vatican: Benco
Why should you try Benco, an unassuming restaurant in Prati, not far from the Vatican? Look for no higher praise in the fact that locals love it. Offering smart and simple lunch menus which are perfect for a quick bite, the restaurant comes into its own in the evening, with an ambitious menu that runs the gamut from seasonal and local ingredients to modern plates with a touch of the exotic.
The plating displays flair and the dishes are deeply, soulfully Mediterranean – you are clearly in great hands with these consummate restaurant owners. Full food review here. Another one of my top restaurants near the Vatican!
Benco Ristorante Via Fabio Massimo 101; Tel +39 0639728933
Restaurants near the Vatican: Passpartout
Passpartout Restaurant near the Vatican is a great choice in touristy Borgo Pio. Featuring a wonderful secret garden – a true haven from the crowds – this is an authentic and well-priced option in one of the Vatican area’s most picturesque streets. Open for coffee, lunch, light bites, cocktails and dinner, Passpartout will take care of your needs nearly all day!
Borgo Pio is one of the prettiest streets close to the Vatican, lined with restaurants and bars and typified by a real buzz. However, many of the restaurants here have become tourist traps in recent years, and you should expect to be pounced on by half a dozen restaurant bookers as you walk down the street.
My advice is to keep walking to number 50, where Passpartout has set up its stall in a former 16th century building, with a charming secret garden in the back for low-season lunches and dinner in spring and summer. Full food review here.
Passpartout Borgo Pio 50; Tel +39 0640412368
If you have enjoyed this guide to the best restaurants near the Vatican and in Prati, don’t miss my other neighbourhood guides to the best restaurants and bars in Rome! These include my guide to where to eat near the Trevi Fountain, the best restaurants near Circus Maximus, the best restaurants and bars in Trastevere, and my Tiber Island guide.