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The historical Jewish Quarter of Rome is a bustling neighborhood a short walk from Lago Argentina. The area was historically a ghetto, separated from the rest of Rome by large walls and strict curfews. To this day the small streets and enclosed piazzas give the area an intimate feel you won’t find in many other parts of the city.
The heart of the Quarter is Via Portico d’Ottavia, a short walk from the Great Synagogue of Rome (Lungotevere Cenci, 15). The area is popular with both Jewish and non-Jewish sightseers. You’ll find a variety of busy restaurants around Via Portico d’Ottavia and in the adjoining Via S. Maria del Pianto. They range in price, but almost all serve kosher food and have outdoor eating areas. Some close for Shabbat. On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than hanging out and just watching the world pass by.
Below are three inexpensive, and one slightly pricey, dining options in this fabulous part of Rome. Buon Appetito!
Yesh Sheni – Fast Kosher
Via S. Maria del Pianto 64
Open lunch and dinner
Yesh Sheni sells itself as “fast kosher” – quick and simple takeaway meals for under €10. The food is basic Middle-Eastern nosh – felafels, salads, pita bread and shawarma (meat on a spit). But if you’re in the mood, they also do hot dogs for €4.50. Don’t confuse this place with Yesh Kosher Restaurant (Via Silvestro Gheradi, 51), which is a well-known sit-down venue across town in San Paolo.
Via S. Maria del Pianto 63
Tel: 06 454 331 173
Open lunch and dinner
Next door to Yesh Sheni is Shilo, one of my favorite spots in the Ghetto area. It’s a café/restaurant with inviting décor and a cute little outdoor seating area. The food is mainly Italian, and they do good value set menus, which include a coke, slice of pizza and a suppli (deep-fried balls of rice) for €5. You’re not going to get much better value in Rome than that.
Chagat – Kosher Food
Via S. Maria del Pianto 66
Chatgat is a casual kosher restaurant that boasts a happy hour buffet (and drink) from 5 p.m. for €7.50. The Middle Eastern specialties include felafel kits and shawarma (meat on a spit). They also do hamburgers, hotdogs and even schnitzel. Most menu items are between €5 – €8. They also do Shabbat kits (available on Friday) starting from €7.50 which include wine, candles and traditional bread (challot).
Ba’ Ghetto MILKY
Via Portico D’Ottavia, 57
There are actually two Ba’Ghettos’ in Rome. The other is located in the north-east of the city, near Piazza Bologna (Via Livorno, 10), but the Ba’Ghetto in via Portico d’Ottavia, is probably the better known of the two.
The menu offers a wide variety of Italian specialties and contemporary Israeli dishes, including the signature Carciofo alla giudia (Jewish artichoke). The interior eating area is stylish and modern and the outdoor seating area is large and bustling. The restaurant is closed Friday night and Saturday lunch.
Also in our guide: If you’re planning an upcoming trip to Rome, be sure to stop by our city guide for reviews of great budget hotels in Rome, all centrally located, clean and affordable. Our editors have inspected and reviewed their favorites. Read more in our Rome guide.