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Airbnb "Experience"

A dinner out in Rome is bookended by a classic aperitivo and digestivo. For an aperitivo,  a spritz or a glass of bubbly Franciacorta. As for a post-dinner digestivo, bittersweet amaro, a dark, herbal liqueur.

What’s the Difference Between a Trattoria & Osteria?

In Italy, there’s no shortage of eateries but choosing the perfect spot can pose challenging. There are endless options including  trattorias, osterias, mescitas, hostarias and more. Yes, there are more. It can be difficult to select a location when there is a multitude of options, but is there really a difference between these eateries? Read on to find out.

In the past, a trattoria was a more casual dining location while a ristorante was elegant and formal. Currently, these words can be used interchangeably as trattorias have become a bit more formal. However, you can still walk into either and notice distinct differences. In fact, there are some major differences when it comes to eat eatery.


 Many ristorantes still uphold their reputation as a formal establishment. You’ll find tables dressed in linen, fine china, and an extensive menu. The waitstaff is well-versed in Italian food and they’re usually extremely knowledgeable when it comes to Italian wines, desserts and entrées.

Trattoria: These are small, family run businesses with several dishes on the menu. In some trattorias, the recipes have been past down from generation to generation so you are truly getting the family Italian dinner experience. Decor can change from unique and intricate to subtle and refined.

Osteria: In the past, an osteria was a place where locals gathered to play cards and drink wine. This type of establishment didn’t always serve food, rather, an osteria was quite similar to a bar. Osterias have transitioned throughout the years and now they are closely tied to trattorias.  Here you’ll find home cooked meals and a rustic charm.

Mescita: Established as a wine shop, mescitas now serve small bites for those on the go. From olives and cheese to meats to paninis, mescitas have gained traction with those seeking a small portion of Italian food. 

Near Navona - Lunch

  1. Bernini Restaurant - this restaurant is on the Piazza & gets the best reviews on trip Advisor and the photos of the food look amazing. Opens at 11:30 AM

  2. If we just want a coffee and a pastry, we can go to Cinque Lune. Closed on Monday.


Near The Apartment​- Dinner

  1. Maccheroni - ate there last time. - very flirty loud waiter (wouldn't let Sarah take home the carbonara).

  2. La Campana: Ate there last time. It was cozy and they had a big buffet of roasted vegetables and the food was delicious. Lots of locals eating there.

  3. Da Gino al Parlamento - well reviewed on trip advisor. It looks like they have a good range of menu items and it looks cozy.

Near Trastevere

  1. Da Enzo -lunch or dinner, special way of preparing artichoke

  2. Ivo - thin thin crust pizza

  3. Baylon Cafe - cozy with good crudite platter

  4. DaMeo Patacca - dinner, big restaurant, needs reservation

Near Borghese

Near Vatican City

  1. Old Bridge Gelateria

  2. Nanu - lunch, Vegetarian Friendly

  3. Bacio Di Puglia - lunch