Testaccio and Ostiense
Attached to a funky business hotel in the once-gritty, gradually gentrifying, nightclub-rich Ostiense area, this ambitious spot has emerged as one of the most enjoyable modern dining experiences in Rome. The diverse, regional menu offers ample choices of seafood, meat, and earthy vegetables, including a crunchy roulade of shrimp, chicory, and mortadella, as well as an excellent gnocchi with foie gras and duck. The wine list is extensive and rigorously domestic (except champagnes), with many bottles under $45. The interior dining room is warm and sexy, with leather banquettes, dark woods, and mid-century lines, in a less restricted architectural space than you’ll ever find in old Rome. There’s also a separate, well-ventilated area for smokers. In good weather, dine or drink outside on an enclosed section of cobblestones, where lounge music and plush divans provide a buffer from the chaos of the street. Plus, wild anatomical murals in the bathrooms are a kick.