UPDATED FOR 2014! There is a widely held misconception that during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Rome’s restaurants shut down and people who don’t have the luxury of eating at home are left to scavenge for food wherever they can get it. While one should expect some venues to be closed and many to embrace limited hours and prix fixe menus, visitors to Rome can eat very well during the holidays. It just requires a bit of planning.
To partake in the traditional Christmas Eve fish feast, head to Il Sanlorenzo, the best place in central Rome to find fresh, local and relatively sustainable fish. Il Sanlorenzo is open at lunch and dinner on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
A short stroll away on via dei Giubbonari, Roscioli will be open for lunch only on Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Eve.
For fine dining options, try Metamorfosi, which will be open at dinner on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day, Pipero al Rex, which will be open at lunch and dinner on December 24, 25, 31, and at lunch only on January 1, or All’Oro, which will be open throughout the holidays.
For Roman fare, Cesare al Casaletto will be open for lunch only on December 25th, 26th and January 1st. Near the Vatican, Romeo will be open for lunch only on December 24 and for lunch and dinner on December 31. Flavio al Velavevodetto will be open for lunch on December 24, 25 and 31. Also in Testaccio, La Torricella is open for lunch on December 24. It is open December 24 for lunch, December 25 at lunch and dinner, and for lunch and dinner on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
For international cusine, try Mesob, which will be open throughout the holidays
A special event will take place at Vino Roma on December 25th at 6:00pm; Hande Leimer is offering a Christmas edition of her new tasting type Wine & Cheese Dinner, with an even more interesting wine selection. For booking and details, visit the Vino Roma site.
For craft beer check out Birra + in Pigneto, which will always be open, but will close at 8:30pm on Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Eve, and Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa’ in Trastevere, which will be open from the late afternoon every day this holiday season. These two watering holes are the only places on the list where reservations are not accepted and no food is served.
It is also worth noting that most Kosher restaurants in the Ghetto will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
You can get the portable version of this list by purchasing my app “Katie Parla’s Rome”, details here and be sure to call all venues in advance before turing up. While the aforementioned openings have been confirmed multiple times, non si sa mai (you never know what can happen!). Buone feste!