While the beloved, old-school trattoria will never go out of style, Rome is current- ly seeing a wave of chic and modern restaurants that are more Big Apple than bel paese. Design and details prove just as important as the food: think sleek metal furniture, punchy color palettes, and accents in cement and plastic. Cocktails also take the lead, more than holding their own against vino. Where Rome counts down the top 10 design restaurants to hit the city.
CHORUS CAFE An elegant and exclusive cocktail bar with a kitchen led by star chef Andrea Fusco, stylish Chorus Cafe has sprawling glass windows with a view of the city as the centerpiece. A re ned menu and signature cocktails concocted by award-winning mixologist Massimo D’Addezio draw crowds in the evening, many of whom stop by after a show downstairs at the Auditorium Conciliazione. Via della Conciliazione, 4. Tel 0668892774. choruscafe.it
SETTE Those who love surrounding themselves with all things beautiful can’t miss a visit to the aptly named Sette (“seven” in Italian) (pictured left), lo- cated on the seventh oor of the Radisson Blu Es. Hotel. The restaurant looks out onto a shimmery blue swimming pool if you opt for dining outdoors, and the kitchen dishes out fresh Mediterranean fare. Sette’s Bar Zest mixes up creative cocktails that beg to be sipped poolside as you take in a panoramic view of the city. Design is minimalist and architectural.
Via Filippo Turati, 171. Tel 0644484384. radissonblu.com
PERPETUAL Perpetual (pictured bottom left) sprawls out onto three whole oors and is contemporary, through and through: its design is best described as minimal chic, with a color palette of shades of gray and an exquisite wooden bar with an open-plan kitchen. Unpredictable details include wire sculptures of sh and a pair of alabaster stone hands that emerge from the walls. An ambitious project helmed by chef Cezar Predescu, Perpetual proposes cucina romana interpreted in a modern key. Piazza Iside, 5. Tel 0669367085. perpetual.it
PANTALEO A three-floor restaurant with ample windows that look out onto the eponymous piazza, Pantaleo is pure glamour. Its color scheme varies between red and gold; the menu, meanwhile, has three focuses: a raw section with tartare and ceviche, warm dishes like soups, and Mediterranean recipes of meat and fish. But it’s their craft cocktail selection that reigns supreme; they even have an entire menu dedicated to the Martini. Piazza San Pantaleo, 4. Tel 0693572514. pantaleoroma.it
ACHILLI AL D.O.M. The restaurant of 18th-century palazzo-turned-luxury hotel D.O.M., Achilli draws its inspiration from New York City; sofas in velvet, enormous mirrors, Venetian chandeliers, and three priceless works by Andy Warhol bedeck the space. The kitchen is led by Michelin-starred chef Massimo Viglietti, who proposes delightfully creative dishes paired with cocktails instead of wine.
Via Giulia, 131. Tel 3332179279. achilli.restaurant/achillialdom
ZUMA Chic Japanese restaurant Zuma calls the top floor of the luxurious Palazzo Fendi home. The mood here is unsurprisingly sophisticated (leave your flip flops at home), while the sharp dining room is accented with bamboo and tohiki ceramic bricks. The menu offers three different “styles”: hot dishes and tempura, a sushi and sashimi banquet, and a grill option. Last but not least, Zuma also boasts a stunning rooftop with views of the city.
Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 48. Tel 0699266622. zumarestaurant.com
DA FORMA Housed in a former warehouse dating back to the 1940s where Campo dei Fiori’s market workers would change and prep for the day, Daforma is now a contemporary space dedicated to design in all of its many forms. It includes an art gallery, a florist (called Floralab), a pop-up fashion boutique, an architecture studio, an all-day kitchen, and an indoor courtyard. It also features two bars, one open in the day and the other at night. The former, called Sala Rosa, treats guests to sensational cocktails.
Via dei Cappellari, 38. Tel 3480928729.
LE ASIATIQUE Located in a luxurious palazzo dating back to the 1700s, Le Asiatique unfolds over six separate rooms painted in plum with intriguing decorative details, like a kimono composed entirely of stamps from all over the world. Head chef Daniele Cavuoto’s mission is to blend traditional Asian recipes with Mediterranean ingredients. Dishes range from cooked to raw: try their mixed ceviche of shrimp and scallops with crisp leeks, coconut “snow,” kaffir lime, and red marinated onion. Largo della Fontanella Borghese, 86a. Tel 0669330441. leasiatique.com
MADRE ROMA Despite its pedigree as the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Riccardo Di Giacinto, Madre proves surprisingly laid-back: it’s open all day for breakfast, tea time, lunch, dinner, aperitivo, and after-dinner drinks, and prices are surprisingly reasonable. An eclectic menu of everything from ceviche to pizza is served on their outdoor patio, immersed in the garden of a former Dominican convent renovated with waterfalls and long sofas.
Largo Angelicum, 1. Tel 066789046. madreroma.com
SHEKET Taking up residence within the glam Palazzo Caetani, Sheket—a Hebrew word that means “silence”—is reminiscent of David Lynch’s Parisian club, Silencio. This spot is anything but subdued though: a strong cocktail list and a DJ set which plays everything from house to funk keep Sheket buzzing all night long. Hungry? Order a dish off expert chef Marco Milani’s menu.
Via delle Botteghe Oscure, 33. Tel 3493709115. sheketroma.com