Updated: Oct 31, 2018
I saved the best for last, although it should’ve been first. Ahh aperitivo, my first love in Rome, which was definitely because I was a broke college student who loved any opportunity to get food on the cheap, but that’s neither here nor there.
In Rome, aperitivo is basically the Italian happy hour or aperitif but instead of getting as many drinks as you like for the cost of $5 each, you get one drink for the cost of €7-10 and access to an all you can eat buffet. It’s amazing!
However, don’t always expect a full meal when eating an aperitivo. Yes, at most places there will be different types of pasta, potatoes, meats and more for you to sample from but you’ll also notice that other restaurants will keep it simple with small finger sandwiches and chips. Definitely not always enough to keep you full, unless your goal is to leave that way no matter what.
Another thing to remember is that Italians are very strict when it comes to what time of day you eat a meal, so if you want to grab an aperitivo keep in mind that it begins at 5pm and lasts until 7 or 8pm once it’s time for dinner. Which, I suggest that if you do want to enjoy dinner, it’s best to avoid stuffing your face. I say this because I know how hard it is to actually put it into practice.
But if you simply want to eat as much as you can no matter what kind of stomach ache is waiting for you afterwards, then here are the best places to devour that buffet. Make sure to swig a glass of vino for me.
Ai Tre Scalini
Located in my favorite neighborhood in Rome, Monti, this spot can be easy to overlook if you don’t know where to go. Here you’ll find a lot of Romans enjoying the food right alongside you so get there early before its full, which happens very quickly.
A well-known wine bar here in Rome, you’ll also get to enjoy some parmeggiano cheese directly off the cheese wheel itself no less, alongside some artichokes, olives and other veggies. While not a spot to pig out on a buffet, it’s a great option to enjoy when you want to start the night with a light snack before dinner.
Salotto, which literally means “living room” in Italian is a great place to help you get cosy. Once inside select a cocktail of your choice, fill up a plate and grab a seat on one of the sofas and hang low for the night. Also, since it's located not too far from the Pantheon, you’ll get a chance to enjoy a late night stroll once you decide to head home or to your next location for the evening.