/Il Sanlorenzo, Rome’s Finest Fish Restaurant

Il Sanlorenzo, Rome’s Finest Fish Restaurant


In spite of the countless fish dishes that populate Roman menus, Rome’s not much of a fish city. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century, with the proliferation of refrigeration and deep freezing, that fish caught in the Tyrrhenian, Adriatic, Mediterranean Seas began making their way to the Italian capital’s market stalls and

restaurant tables. Before that, salt cod from northern Europe, salted anchovies, and Tiber perch dominated. You can still find the first two all over town in many forms. The latter has completely disappeared from the Roman diet and that’s probably a good thing.


Today, plenty of fish is sold and served in Rome, though finding truly exceptional quality and preparation is exceedingly rare. The cheap stuff is scary and the expensive stuff is a gamble, so for a completely spectacular pescatarian meal, Il Sanlorenzo on Via dei Chiavari is the place. A meal won’t be cheap (think €75 and up per person for a full meal), but fresh fish is very expensive–and it should be; the seas around Italy aren’t exactly teeming and it’s a highly perishable, often seasonal, commercial good. Il Sanlorenzo collaborates with fishermen in the Pontine Islands and Civitavecchia, so the investment in a meal there supports local economies. Plus, the freshness of their seafood is unrivaled in Rome.


The menu constantly changes to reflect market availability, so among the starters you might find are amberjack tartare, raw scampi, fried calamaretti, sea urchin roe, sauteed clams, octopus salad and Catalan-style seafood salad. The pasta portions tend to be on the large side, so a starter or two and a primo are usually adequate–the spaghetti with razor clams and spaghetti with clams are both outstanding. For mains, there are whole fish, filets, and all sorts of mollusks and crustaceans to prepare roasted, baked, or fried.


There is an a la carte menu, as well as a tasting menu. The service is formal but not overbearing and the wine list is perfectly suited to the menu. Book in advance for dinner, but I walk in at lunch and always find a place. A bonus: they are fabulously kind to solo diners.

Il Sanlorenzo
Via dei Chiavari 4/5
Tel +39066865097

2017-02-17T15:16:12+00:00 June 29th, 2014|Categories: Fish, Food & Wine, Restaurants, Restaurants in Rome, Rome & Lazio|Tags: |7 Comments


  1. Ziggy June 30, 2014 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    That is some fine looking Polpo you got there

  2. Nina June 30, 2014 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    The food looks amazing! I never thought about seafood and Roman cuisine. That totally makes sense that it would expensive and hard to come by. I can only imagine how delicious everything here tastes!

  3. Cebu Urbano July 2, 2014 at 11:55 am - Reply

    simply wow seafood! gives me the urge to pick up the food a have a bite!. more power always 😉

  4. Rog July 13, 2014 at 8:35 am - Reply

    wow, this looks absolutely delish! I love seafood its like a mouth watering recipe..

  5. Tom July 18, 2014 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Wow, it looks delicious! I love the Italian Cuisine and seafood. The pictures are great and the restaurant looks very cosy. Thanks for the article!

  6. Cathy January 22, 2015 at 1:43 am - Reply

    We ate here on our last night in Rome and it was beyond divine. Very expensive but we would definitely go back. One drawback—the beer selection was limited to Heineken. With all of the amazing craft beer in Italy you would think they would have a better selection of (good!) beer.

  7. David May 15, 2018 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    I love Il Sanlorenzo, but in my upcoming trip the day I would be eating there is Monday. I see that they are open, but one of the first things I was told when first traveling to Rome many years ago was not to east fish on Monday because the boats don’t go out on Sunday. Does Sanlorenzo have its own boat??

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