Lunch Near the Vatican 

Half the success of a day of touring is knowing where to stop for lunch

Lunch before your Tour:

  • The tour begins at Ristorante Da Paolo on Viale Vaticano. A restaurant which works just fine for a light lunch before you head off on the tour – tell them you are with me and they will give you very good treatment, especially if Mamma Lucia is there. Their pastas are their forte, but it’s a bit hard to focus on a tour after a plate of pasta and wine – so best stick to lighter fare.

  • Otherwise, not far from our meeting point is Insalata Ricca – which is a chain specializing in salads. They do have other fare, pizza, pasta, etc. but with dozens of salads to choose from, I find this a refreshing way to begin an afternoon of touring.

  • Three blocks from the Vatican entrance there is a wonderful cafe called La Fiorentina. They are famous for their breads and pastries, but they now serve all kinds of fare in their little osteria which has tables both inside and out. Plus, you get to walk through one of Rome’s busiest markets (Trionfale Market) on your way there and enjoy the amazing displays of produce – just what you need to get into the lunch mood!



The tour almost always ends at St. Peter’s so you might want to have the following restaurants up your sleeve.

  • La Veranda in Hotel Columbus – hands down the best place for a post Vatican lunch in the area – it has tables in a frescoed dining room or in an outdoor garden. This location never ceases to be amazing for its peace and tranquility amid all the chaos of the streets around it. They have a new lunch menu which is reasonably priced with salads, pastas - all very good! Plus you have the Church of Santo Spirito across the street so you can have your cake and get your Divine Mercy too!

  • If you just want a quick sandwich before you move on, across the street from La Veranda is Rome’s insider’s caffe, Bar Penitenzieri. They have a beautiful array of sandwiches at lunch, a dining area so you can rest your weary feet, and in the afternoon it is a great place for a post-tour restorative!

  • Borgo Pio is the busiest food street in the Vatican area, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some good places – you can souvenir shop and then sit and enjoy a meal at any time of the day at Arlù, which doesn’t close its kitchen during the day. You can enjoy a freshly made meal from pizza to pasta to several fun fish dishes which are always on special. It is small so if your group is larger 5 people, you might want to make a reservation.

  • If you are finished with touring and you are planning on calling it a day you might walk all the way to the end of Borgo Pio where you will find Ristochicco – a carb nirvana on Borgo Pio – their menus are pretentiously large, but the pasta is excellent – if you are up for a pasta induced stupor try the pasta Norcina which will probably have you trying to fly back to Rome for one more plate.



A little further on – if you are planning on walking along Rome’s shopping boulevard of Cola di Rienzo towards Piazza del Popolo – a very fun walk by the way - there are a couple more places where you might find sustenance – they are of course as different as night and day.

  • The first place, Velando, is another insider Rome haunt. Vatican journalists, prelates and curators from the museums can be found in this tiny elegant restaurant on a quiet little alley. They have just a few tables, less than 10, and they serve a very interesting and delicious menu based on Northern Italian cuisine. The menu is limited, no pizza or rigatoni carabonara, but put yourself in their hands and it will be a fine meal. The wine list features the best of Italy’s Northern varietals, which makes this a good spot after a tour – not before.

  • The second spot is an Italian version of a pub with wooden tables and a rustic atmosphere, but it serves wine over beer and lots of very fresh and tasty plates. It is called Il Sorpasso and is casual, easy, and allows for those who just would like a little plate of prosciutto to dine alongside those who want heavier fare.

© 2019 by  Elizabeth Lev All Rights Reserved