After years of jockeying for elbow room at the espresso counter, Rome has finally sat down at the table for brunch. Although Romans have long had a brunch tradition, it’s typically on the savory side and designated for Sunday afternoons, leaving weekday mornings to a quick pastry and cappuccino on the go. With the rise of new bakers and restaurants, though, the Eternal City has a cornucopia of breakfast and brunch spots. Here are our five favorite brunch destinations in Rome for the sweet, the savory and the stylish.
Why we love it: for the American vibe
Neighborhood: Centro Storico/Campo de’ Fiori
There is always a line outside of Barnum, and with good reason — it offers the most extensive breakfast menu in the city. Expect all of the American-style morning favorites: scrambled eggs, omelets, pancakes and avocado toast, served with specialty coffees. Barnum brought in the heralded Nadia Spiliotacopoulous to upgrade the lineup of pastries, which includes pistachio-covered croissants, kouign-amann (a buttery Breton cake), pain au chocolate, danishes and more.
Casa Manfredi and Teatro Manfredi
Why we love it: for the pastries
Respected pastry chef Giorgia Proia opened Casa Manfredi in 2015 to create a sweet spot for morning lovers to enjoy delicious pastries — Italian-style at the bar counter and tables. Giorgia’s most delicious and prettiest Italian- and French-inspired pastries populate Casa Manfredi, and the café boasts a delectable lunch menu of savory panini and salads. Casa Manfredi is now a Roman empire with three locations. Teatro Manfredi, a post-mod pastry lab in the Ostiense neighborhood where most of the company’s treats are made, is not to be missed, either.
Why we love it: for the quintessential English style
Neighborhood: Piazza di Spagna
Babingtons has been Rome’s coveted English tea house for 130 years. The historic tea space with a decidedly British bent serves the standard English breakfast daily — bacon and eggs (poached, scrambled or fried), housemade toast and freshly squeezed juice. The menu also features eggs Benedict served atop an English muffin, fluffy buttermilk pancakes and streaky Irish bacon. Pair any of these dishes with one of Babington’s custom teas for a full British submersion. On sunny days, reserve an outdoor table for an unforgettable brunch in the center of Piazza di Spagna.
Why we love it: for the views
Neighborhood: Centro Storico/Piazza Navona
Vivi Bistrot is a cult favorite among Romans. A garden-focused restaurant, Vivi has long wooed the neighborhood with its sustainably sourced products. With locations in Villa Pamphili park (for those who love to dine alfresco) and Piazza Navona (which provides a window view of Bernini’s Four Rivers fountain), the bistro carries a menu filled with American favorites, such as avocado toast, scrambled eggs, quiches, bagels and brownies, as well as beloved Roman pasta dishes like amatriciana and polpette (meatballs).
San Baylon at Palazzo Ripetta
Why we love it: for the Roman tradition
Neighborhood: Centro Storico/Piazza del Popolo
Sunday brunch in Rome usually means a long afternoon of savory treats, and no one does it better than San Baylon, the signature restaurant at Palazzo Ripetta. This gorgeous, retro-style trattoria and garden sits on the hotel’s ground floor. Almost as stunning as the setting is the buffet of Roman favorites (prosciutto, mozzarella, quiches and savory pies) and international bites (macarons, cheese cake and cookies).
Stay tuned for our 2024 Star Awards announcement on February 7, 2024.