/Rome's Most Overrated Restaurants

Rome's Most Overrated Restaurants

There are so many ridiculously good places to eat in Rome, I don’t know how crap restaurants stay in business. Nor do I understand why some places are said to be amazing when, in my opinion, they are so obviously terrible. Here are some restaurants that I find overrated, I suggest you avoid, or that just plain suck:

Obika’: This wannabe swanky mozzarella bar is super lame. Back when there was just the one location on Piazza Firenze, it had the absolute worst service and the mozzarella was just ok. Their other food was terrible. Now there is a new-ish location on Campo de’ Fiori (and about a million other places on the planet) and that one sucks too. God do I hate having to go there to confirm my criticisms still hold true.

Vecchia Roma: Piazza Campitelli is a fabulous outdoor setting. I get it. But the food here is so-so at best and it is overpriced. Avoid!

Da Gigetto: I can’t say how many times I have eaten at this place and I have never had a great meal there. I really don’t know why people go nuts over this place. For great food in the Ghetto, I suggest Nonna Betta, Al Pompiere, or Piperno.

Bir & Fud: The title of this blog post kinda says it all. Bad pizza, possibly worse service. Nearby Dar Poeta has terrible pizza, as well, but at least they serve it with a smile.

Open Baladin: I didn’t have very nice things to say about this place in a previous post. Not much has changed. What is this place trying to be? A pub? A restaurant? It fails at both. This place has improved. It’s off my shit list!

Da Oio A Casa Mia: This famous Testaccio joint serves “eh” food for too much money. Don’t be fooled by the photo of cacio e pepe above–it only looks delicious. Half the bowl was filled with lumpy sauce that I swear had kilo of butter in it. Reminds me of the nasty stuff they try to pass off as cacio e pepe at Maccheroni (another place to avoid).

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are lots of other bad or overrated places I’ve neglected to mention. Now, if you want some great food, check out La Gensola, Colline Emiliane, Agustarello, La Campana, or Tempio di Iside.

2016-01-09T13:33:03+00:00 March 21st, 2010|Categories: Food & Wine, Restaurants, Rome & Lazio|23 Comments


  1. Cherrye at My Bella Vita March 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Ooooh, great tips. I often wonder how some places stay in business-and stay so popular, as well. I don’t get it.

  2. Eleonora March 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Campana and Tempio di Iside I just recently learned about, and must agree with you, they are very very good.

    Vecchia Roma, ugh.
    Checco er Carrettiere, eww.
    Oio, uh oh.

    Ciao and buon appetito-great post.

  3. Katie March 22, 2010 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    Checco er Carrettiere = Checco er Coglione. How could I forget my seething hatred for that place?

  4. shayma March 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    oh my god, i have to add to this list- i know i am going to get STONED for saying this, but ever since the revamp, i never, ever go to da felice again. sorry, i just wont do it. i agree re obika, vecchia roma and da oio a casa mia.

  5. shayma March 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    and da baffetto? worst pizza in the world. sorry, that’s all i’ll say, i wont get overexcited about this post! x
    ps i am afghan, it’s a VERY bad thing! tee hee

  6. Katie March 22, 2010 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    you speak the truth shayma. da felice is wack. btw getting stoned isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  7. Katie March 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    THANK YOU for adding that one. Baffetto surely belongs in the Overrated Hall of Fame.

  8. harriet eichenholz March 23, 2010 at 3:59 am - Reply

    you can add Carretta on Piazza Renzi it was so bad we had to eat another lunch somewhere else immediately after

  9. Hande March 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    and what’s with Gusto? everyone is crazy about it and I think they are just straight bad and unfriendly.
    That said, would love to hear more voices about l’Arcangelo, too. I know everyone ( = Italian bloggers) thinks he is god and does the best carbonara and best Roman cuisine. I was there once (I know not enough and not fair) and found everything about it bad: food cold and/or bad, terrible service and way too expensive.

  10. Hande March 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    oh, forgot to say I agree with everything you wrote – I only haven’t been to Colline Emiliane and Tempio di Iside yet, but believe you (and check out next week, when we have friends coming over).

  11. shayma March 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Hande, I second that- Tempio? I have dreams about it here in Toronto. It’s the best seafood restaurant I have ever been to- (barring the one I went to in Orbetello). Let the waiter make the choices for you- it’ll be FAB FAB FAB. Katie Parla knows food 🙂

  12. Katie March 23, 2010 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Duly noted!

  13. Katie March 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Hande, I think you have just named the most overrated place of them all. Gusto is a big joke. The food, service and overall experience hit new lows with every visit. Also nearby Recafe sucks.

    I havent been to Arcangelo. I hear very mixed reviews. I hope to make it one of these days and see what all the fuss is about.

    Enjoy Colline and Tempio. The service at the latter is insanely bad but the fish is very very good.

  14. Tom March 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    We went to La Campana last December and were thrilled by it. It was my nieces’ first official dinner in Rome and an exceptional one! The food was so real and so tasty. The dolci were heavenly. Two extra-large pans of torta della nonna and torta di mele right up front by the door so you just had to notice them. Delicious!

  15. Miss Expatria March 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    I’ve never eaten at the places you mention, thank goodness. And you know what? I was trying to think of the last, or really any, bad meal I’ve had here. Ummm, Pastarito in ’03? LOL My gay mafia protects me from evil dining establishments, I guess.

    • Katie March 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm - Reply

      @Tom so glad you made it there. that place has great everything

      @miss expatria WHATEVER! Pastarito is AMAZING. you just went on a bad night. It is the olive garden of italy and it deserves our respect!

    • Katie March 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      oh, also. sora lella.

  16. shayma March 23, 2010 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    what are the views on enoteca ferrara? went once (and last time) in ’03 w foodie friends from London- the “Carpaccio” di polpo was as tough as a tire wheel (not that i have tried the latter). dare i say it is overrated? katie, enjoy your posts where the readers chime in.

  17. ren March 26, 2010 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Try La Berninetta on the Prati side of Rome.Good pizza, Roman fries, great service, full of Romans!Always a good sign.I agree with you on all the rest…pity, I remember when Vecchia Roma was under my house and a trattoria and they gave me a plate of antipasta for 1,000lire! when it wasn’t a tourist city!

  18. Hande March 28, 2010 at 11:12 am - Reply

    I often send my guests to La Berninetta after the tasting as I can show it to them from my window, and it is good old honest Roman, but barely a destination for Katie, who has better and closer options.

  19. kerem March 31, 2010 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    How about a list of places to avoid in İstanbul?

    • Katie March 31, 2010 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      good idea! How is Asitane for starters? I’ll post a more comprehensive list in April!

  20. […] A: I think both of those restaurants are terribly overrated and should be stricken from every culinary tourist’s list for eternity. For more overrated places to avoid, see this post. […]

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