UPDATED FOR 2017/2018! 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 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. Antico Forno Roscioli will also be open on the same schedule. Forno Campo de’ Fiori is open Christmas Eve day and New Years Eve day.
In Testaccio, La Torricella is open for lunch only on December 24 and 25, then open for lunch and dinner December 31 and January 1. Piatto Romano is open Christmas Eve at lunch, Christmas at lunch and dinner. They are also open for lunch and dinner on New Year’s Eve and Day. Taverna Volpetti is open at lunch on Christmas Eve Day and New Year’s Eve day. Across the river in southern Trastevere, the extremely awesome Tavernaccia Da Bruno is open December 24 at lunch and dinner. They are already fully booked December 25. They are closed for New Year’s Eve and Day. Also in Trastevere, La Gensola is open for lunch and dinner Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Up the Janiculum Hill, Antico Arco is also open for lunch and dinner Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. In the San Giovanni/Appio-Latino district, Santo Palato is open for lunch and dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
For international cuisine, try Mesob, which will be open throughout the holidays upon request, while fine dining lovers should check out Pipero, also always open. It is also worth noting that many Kosher restaurants in the Ghetto will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Nonna Betta is the best of the lot. It is open on New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, too.
Il Goccetto is open from 11:00am until 8:00pm on Christmas Eve day and New Year’s Eve Day. Open Baladin will be open throughout the holidays on a limited schedule: noon to 6:00pm Christmas Eve, 6:00pm to 2:00am Christmas Day, noon to 6:30pm on New Year’s Eve and noon until 2:00am on New Year’s Day. Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa’ in Trastevere is open 11:00am to 3:00pm on Christmas Eve and 4:00pm until 2:00am on Christmas. Meanwhile Birra Piu’ in Pigneto is open 5:00-8:30pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and from 6:00pm to late on Christmas Day.
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!