An Insider’s Guide to Rome’s Piazza Navona and Pantheon Neighborhood

written by Dajana 9. January 2020
An Insider’s Guide to Rome’s Piazza Navona and Pantheon Neighborhood

We don’t want you to fall into any tourist traps! Check out where to go near Piazza Navona and the Pantheon: find the best spots for coffee breaks, lunch, dinner and drinks.

With its fountains, the Baroque-style palazzi and colorful buildings, Piazza Navona is definitely one of Rome’s most charming squares. And it is only a few minutes walking away from the former Roman temple, now church, the Pantheon. Both, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon will be on your must-see list when in Rome. Both of them are always super crowded.

At both squares you’ll find a number of restaurants and bars. But be aware: locals would never go to most of these places. But no need to worry about staying hungry or nor finding a good caffeine fix. Check out our Rast.Los.Gelöst approved foodie hot spots in this neighborhood!

The Ultimate Coffee Hot Spots

Coffee culture is considered an art in Italy and it is nearly impossible to have a bad coffee. Coffee is such an important part of Italian life that whether you like it or not, you definitely should try coffee in Italy. Many locals usually start their day with a caffè at their local bar, and this morning routine takes no longer than a few minutes – just enough time to quickly have a caffè or cappuccino and cornetto (Italian version of the croissant). 

Remember that if you are looking for a relaxed “sit down and sip your coffee for half an hour”-experience, Italy might be the wrong country for you. You’ll usually have your coffee “al banco” while leaning against the bar and catching up on the latest gossip with the barista. Here are two of the best addresses in town to get everything your coffee loving heart desires and chat with the barista.

First I drink the coffee. Then I do the things.


1. Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè

Piazza Sant’ Eustachio 82, open Sunday – Thursday from 7:30am – 1am, Friday from 7:30am – 1:30am, Saturday from 7:30am – 2am 

You will quickly get used to the Roman coffee culture and will miss these little coffee breaks when you come back home. To make sure you try one of the best coffees in the city, stop at the Sant’ Eustachio Caffè located between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. This roastery opened in 1938 and is loved by locals and tourists. Order a simple caffè if you want to try their signature espresso with cremina.

Your coffee will already be sugared with a sugar and coffee cream on top. If you prefer your coffee without sugar, ask for a caffè amaro. You can also buy some nice little presents for your friends and family: Sant’ Eustachio coffee, mugs, chocolate covered coffee beans and more.

2. Tazza d’Oro

Via degli Orfani 84, open from Monday – Sunday from 7am – 8pm 

Established in 1946, La Casa del Caffè al Pantheon Tazza d’Oro is one of the most popular and prestigious local coffee houses and roasteries in Rome. They roast, blend, sell and of course serve their coffee just a few steps away from the Pantheon. The bar is a stand up only place, so pay for your coffee first and then order it at the bar. Opt for their classic caffè for a quick high quality fuel stop or try their famous granita di caffè on a hot spring or summer day. This iced coffee is served with whipped cream and the one at Tazza d’Oro is said to be the best in town.

What to remember when ordering coffee in Italy

  1. If you want an espresso, simply ask for a “caffè”.
  2. Cappuccino is a morning drink. Never (!) order it after lunch or dinner. Remember: “caffè” only after 11am!
  3. If you want to sit down at a table, be prepared to pay more for your coffee. Tip: Enjoy your coffee like the Romans do: “al banco”, leaning against the bar.
  4. First pay, then order: find the cassa (register), order what you want, get the scontrino (receipt) and then head over to the banco (the bench) to order your coffee.
  5. Drink your coffee, don’t sip it. Enjoy it while hot and in no more than 2-3 swigs.

Where to find traditional Roman pastries

Pasticceria Cinque Lune

Corso Rinascimento 89, open Tuesday – Sunday from 8am – 9:30pm

Founded in 1902 by Salvatore Anzuini, Pasticceria Cinque Lune is a well known traditional bakery just around the corner from the Piazza Navona. It is one of the very rare hotspots in town where you can get old-fashioned Roman pastries and cakes. Ask for their speciality, the Romani antichi. They are filled with ricotta and cinnamon or with figs and topped with a bay leaf.

They are prepared after antique Roman recipes and are a must-try when in Rome. Pasticceria Cinque Lune is purely a bakery and there are no seats nor drinks. Go there for a little sweet snack after visiting Piazza Navona, and make sure to buy some pastries before leaving Rome. They make an extraordinarily good edible souvenir from Rome.

Life is a combination of magic and pasta.

Federico Fellini

The Best Lunch & Dinner Spots

1. Alfredo e Ada

Via dei Banchi Nuovi 14, open Tuesday – Saturday from 12 – 3pm & 7pm – 10pm

I discovered this hidden gem thanks to a friend of mine who lives between Rome and the United States, and absolutely loved it’s cozy atmosphere. Located between Ponte Sant’ Angelo leading to Castel Sant’ Angelo and Piazza Navona you’ll find Alfredo e Ada, a small family-run restaurant with only about 6 tables.

Alfredo’s and Ada’s young granddaughter Chiara is running the restaurant and doing an exceptionally good job! There’s no printed menu, but Chiara will come to your table and tell you what they have for the day. Ask her for her recommendation and choose between their red or white wine.

Insider tip: They do not take reservations except for groups of 6 or more. You’ll probably have to wait a little to be seated, but it is absolutely worth it.

2. Enoteca Cul de Sac

Piazza di Pasquino 73, open Monday – Sunday from 12 – 00:30am

Just off Piazza Navona and only a few meters from the Museo di Roma there’s the Enoteca Cul de Sac. Don’t let the French name confuse you! This spot is an Italian wine bar offering a big collection of Italian regional wines as well as a nice lunch and dinner menu. Choose between some traditional Roman dish options.

Insider tip: Try their pâtés with champagne, cognac and truffles!

3. Retrobottega

Via della Stelletta 4, open Monday from 6:30pm – 11:30pm & Tuesday to Sunday from 12 – 11:30pm

When you come to Rome, people, run here! Retrobottega is  a modern Italian restaurant located in the heart of Rome. It is only a few minutes walking away from Piazza Navona. With Retrobottega, the two founders and chefs Alessandro Miocchi and Giuseppe Lo Iudice created much more than just a restaurant. This hidden gem is a gastronomic lab: the whole team creates ideas and combines flavors and textures in an innovative way. Also, the chefs and their team interact with the guests.

The Retrobottega team focuses on the act of cooking, the simplicity of taste and the quality of hand-picked and seasonal ingredients. This is also why the restaurant’s interior is functional, modern and simply straight forward. This way it leaves enough space for the main act: food that should get your full attention. Every single course is a masterpiece. No flavor covers each other which makes it such a delight to the palate.

Insider tip: Order the tasting menu if you want to try as much as possible of the chefs’ take on Roman cuisine. Every single course is a combination of high-quality ingredients. The two chefs and their team perfectly combine all ingredients and different textures to create innovative and impeccably styled dishes. When you go there, check out their recently opened 3D printer pasta lab Retropasta Roma. Buy some fresh pasta you can prepare at home on your own.

4. Trattoria Armando al Pantheon

Salita dei Crescenzi 31, open Monday – Friday from 12:30 to 3pm & 7pm – 11pm, Saturday from 12:30 – 3pm

Even though I’ve been in Rome so many times and lived there, I would have never imagined it was possible to find a great traditional restaurant that is not one of those tourist traps right next to the Pantheon. During my last stay in Rome I had lunch at the Trattoria Armando with my friend and foodie mastermind Lisa Schultz. Armando Gargioli opened this Roman institution in 1961.

Today, his sons, Claudio and Fabrizio, and grand-daughter Fabiana manage the trattoria. Enjoy traditional Roman dishes in an old-school trattoria atmosphere in a wood-panelled dining room lined with framed paintings and sketches. Ask the waiters for their recommendation and the dishes of the day. Extremely friendly service, extremely great Roman food.

Insider tip: this place is popular amongst locals and tourists. Also, make sure to book a table for lunch or dinner before going there!

Where to go for drinks

1. Bar del Fico

Piazza del Fico 26/28, open Sunday – Saturday from 8am – 2am 

Only a few minutes away from Piazza Navona, this bar is one of the historical yet hip bars in the city center! Bar del Fico is open from morning until late at night.Young and old, locals and tourists love it for its relaxed bohemian atmosphere and the shabby-chic interior. When it’s sunny and warm you can simply sit under the fig tree and watch the locals play chess. Enjoy an easy breakfast at the lounge, typical Italian dishes for lunch and dinner and drinks in the evening.

Insider tip: come here for aperitivo in the early evening and get some snacks at the big buffet.

2. Caffè Novecento

Via del Governo Vecchio 12, open Monday – Sunday from 8am – 10:30pm

This bistrot turns in to a cozy place for drinks in the evening away from the hustle in the city center. Located in a quiet street, Caffè Novecento is a great spot for a couple of drinks. Get some snacks from their buffet if you happen to be there for a drink before dinner.

3. Salotto42

Piazza di Pietra 42, Monday – Sunday from 10:30am – 2am 

Only a few minutes walking from the Pantheon, you’ll find this chic cocktail bar. Come to Salotto42 for a drink in the afternoon or evening and relax in one of the comfortable retro sofas. This bar is multifaceted! You can enjoy a lunch buffet from 1pm to 3pm with vegetarian sushi, curry and couscous there. Choose a drink from their vast cocktail menu, or come back on weekends for brunch.

Insider tip: Go for the Basil cocktail with vodka, strawberry, chili and basil. Or go for one of their signature drinks like the Mojito 42 or Salotto 42.

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