UPDATED FOR 2016/2017! 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, 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 elegant 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, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Reservations are compulsory and as of December 7, they were almost fully reserved through the holidays.
A short stroll away on via dei Giubbonari, Roscioli will be open for lunch only on Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Eve. Though they are normally closed Sundays, they will remain open every Sunday from December 6-January 1 (lunch only December 25 and January 1).
For Roman fare, Flavio al Velavevodetto in Testaccio will be open for lunch on December 24, 25 and 31, but will be closed on January 1. Also in Testaccio, La Torricella is open for lunch only on December 24, 25, 31, and January 1. Across the river in southern Trastevere, the extremely awesome Tavernaccia Da Bruno is open December 25 and January 1, but closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Also in Trastevere, La Gensola is open for lunch of Christmas Eve, but all day on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Mazzo in Centocelle is serving a €35 fixed take away menu on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. They are closed December 25, 26, and January 2 and open for dinner on January 1.
As of the writing of this post, Romeo was still deciding their opening hours, but should be up an operating in their new venue in Testaccio.
For international cuisine, try Mesob, which will be open on January 1 for dinner.
For fine dining lovers, Pipero al Rex will serve tasting menus daily, but is fully booked as of December 7.
For craft beer check out Birra + in Pigneto, which will be open December 24 and 31 at 8PM. They are open Christmas Day, but closed January 1 and 2. The finest pub in the land, Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa’ in Trastevere, is open daily.
A heads up to Cesare al Casaletto fans, the trattoria will be closed from December 22-January 6.
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!