Giggetto al Portico d’Ottavia

Via del Portico d’Ottavia, 21/a-22
00186 Roma
Tel. 06 6861105

Situated in the midst of Roman ruins next to the Portico d’Ottavia and the Teatro di Marcello, this is one of Rome’s finest.

It is located in the neighborhood still called the Jewish “Ghetto,” which is filled with some of Rome’s best restaurants.

The Portico d’Ottavia was built around 27 B.C. by Augustus for his sister, Ottavia, and is a beautiful ruin. Unlike some of the Foro Romano (Roman Forum), which you cannot walk through, you can get up close and personal with the Portico and with the Teatro di Marcello, another fascinating structure.

Giggetto allows you to dine in the midst of this great history as few other restaurants do.

The menu is authentically Roman, and specializes in the Judeo-Roman delight, carciofi alla Giudia.

Also unforgettable are the fiori di zucca or zucchini flowers, which can be served stuffed, fried, or over pasta. The very typical squid ink pasta is also not to be missed here.

Sit outside in the spring or summer for a romantic atmosphere, with a view of the lit Teatro di Marcello; inside, the environment is louder and more family-friendly, with bigger tables seating whole groups (usually of Italians).

Don’t expect to be waited on hand and foot at this busy, extremely popular restaurant, and do prepare to do some serious flagging down to get your server’s attention.

The food, however, makes it all worth it.

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Sora Margherita

Piazza delle Cinque Scole, 30
00186 Roma
Tel. 06 687 4216
12:00 pm–3:30 pm, 8:00 pm–11:15 pm
Cash only
Menu only in Italian

In big European cities, there are hundreds, even thousands of restaurants from which to choose, many of which claim to be “authentic” and “local.”

This is perhaps the most true of Rome and Paris, both of which are filled with tourists at most times of the year.

It’s hard to blame the restauranteurs, when their livelihood is often made by foot traffic in cobblestone cities where websites for restaurants are still few and far between. But it can be frustrating to spend a not insignificant amount of Euros on a so-so meal.

Sora Margherita is your solution.

Hidden in the Jewish Ghetto, Sora Margherita is a tiny restaurant usually filled with locals.

Be sure to book a table in advance, as it fills up, especially for dinner. Tucked away in a corner of a piazza, Sora Margherita shows its local character with simple paper tablecloths and hand written menus.

Described by a local as a working class sort of a place, this restaurant doesn’t offer much in the way of ambiance or a grand menu, but more than makes up for it with the outstanding, fresh food.

Carciofi (artichokes) and fiori di zucca (zucchini blossoms) stuffed with cheese and anchovies are Jewish quarter classics, while polenta with sausage or spaghetti with meatballs showcase a home-style Roman cuisine.

The menu changes daily, so aside from those few guaranteed favorites, try whatever tickles your fancy (or whatever delicious-looking thing the table next to you ordered!).

Don’t miss seeing the famous bronze turtle fountain by Bernini around the corner in the Piazza Mattei.

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