15 Of My Favorite Cafes in Rome That You’ll Love, Too (From a Local)

Through this post you will discover one of my favorite activities in Rome: sitting in cozy cafes relaxing, working, and most importantly, enjoying a cappuccino made to perfection.

If you’re looking for the best cafes in Rome, you’ll find your fill here.
I think at least 15 venues are noteworthy. Some of them are right in the historic center, such as Caffé del Chiostro, which you absolutely must visit, and Barnum café.

Of the Antico Caffé Greco you’ve also heard about in guidebooks, it’s the most famous one, you could drop in there to visit a historic café.

Then there are the cafés where you will only meet locals, because they are off the beaten path, like Bar Necci and Palazzo Merulana Café.

If you love cats, on the other hand, you can’t miss Romeow Cat Bistrot, in the Ostiense neighborhood.

In short, to get to know them all, let’s dive into this article on my favorite places to have coffee in Rome.

10 Best Cafes in Rome

1. Caffetteria del Chiostro

Address | Arco della Pace, 5 

This café tops my list because it’s my favorite. I can’t resist the idea of just chilling and enjoying a cappuccino while I soak up the harmony and perfection of Renaissance architecture. This happens at the Caffetteria del Chiostro inside the Cloister of Bramante, located right in the heart of the historic center, but away from the tourist trails. So, it’s not crowded.

Come here after you’ve checked out the enchanting Piazza Navona, after getting lost exploring the narrow streets connecting the Parione and Ponte districts.

The Chiostro del Bramante hosts modern and contemporary art exhibitions, but it is not necessary to buy a ticket to sit at the coffee shop, which is located in the upper loggia overlooking the inner courtyard.

The café serves coffee, cakes, dishes, and cocktails. Try the “macchiatone“, a foamed coffee served in a large cup. 

I recommend you also visit the adjacent Church of Santa Maria della Pace, where you can admire some frescoes by Raphael.

2. Le Carré Francaise

Address | Via Vittoria Colonna, 30  

Of this French-style café (even the staff has a French accent!), I especially love the decor and the croissants. I’m talking real French-style, fragrant croissants that go perfectly with a cappuccino.

Probably among the best croissants in Rome, which makes Carré Francaise one of the best breakfast cafes in Rome.

What I didn’t like was that the service was a bit slow–we had to remind them twice that we were waiting–and yet there weren’t many people in the room compared to the number of waiters. Still, it’s worth it.

The café is located in the Prati district near Piazza Cavour.

3. Barnum Café 

Address | Via del Pellegrino, 87 

Ask an expat living in this city where you can have the best coffee in Rome and there’s a good chance they will answer: at Barnum. 

The locals love it too. Barnum features brunch options and drinks. They offer all kinds of food, from juices to  salads and Italian dishes. 

There are two rooms, but the space is not large, keep this in mind if you come here during peak hours, that is, at lunchtime or during aperitif.

Barnum is located in the Parione district, near Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, and not too far from the Pantheon.

4. Palazzo Merulana

Via Merulana, 121

This café sits quietly off the tourist track on the ground floor of Palazzo Merulana, which also houses an art gallery. 

You do not need to buy a ticket for the art gallery to enjoy the café. When I visited, no one told me that it was possible to visit the sculpture gallery freely, while entry to the other rooms requires the purchase of a ticket.

However, the coffee I had was excellent, and the room where I was sitting contained several works of art. Wi-fi was also great. 

The café features a high ceiling, spacious windows, elegant travertine columns, and several sculptures that create a sophisticated environment. These elements establish it as one of Rome’s finest places for studying. In fact, sitting here, I wished I could go back to study. 

The café serves a variety of options from breakfast to aperitivo, ensuring all dishes are fresh.

It also offers an outdoor area with tables and benches, accommodating everyone, including smokers, located conveniently between Termini station and the San Giovanni area. 

For those looking for a distraction, a small bookshop by the café offers books to browse. The exhibition area within, which displays the Cerasi collection including works by Sironi, De Chirico, Balla, among other Italian artists.

5. Terrazza Caffarelli

Address: Piazzale Caffarelli, 4

Finding Terrazza Caffarelli was like uncovering Rome’s best-kept secret view

Located in the Capitoline Museums but accessible without museum admission, its terrace offers one of Rome’s most breathtaking vistas. 

It’s an ideal venue for coffee, events, weddings, photo shoots, and concerts, all amidst a romantic atmosphere steeped in history and art.

Reaching the café will seem complicated because it is located at the back of the building that houses the Capitoline Museums, on the third floor.

I only advise against it if you have difficulty walking. For everyone else, stop here; the view is extraordinary.

6. Romeow Cat Bistrot

Address: Via Francesco Negri, 15

When I discovered that they had opened a Cat Café in Rome, I couldn’t be happier: I love cats and could spend hours watching them, and of course, I love cafés. 

So, I arranged to visit Romeow Cat Bistrot as soon as possible. Fortunately, I was attending a photography course at a school just two minutes away.

When I stepped into the first cat café in Rome, I realized that I was surrounded by beauty. First of all, the beauty of the cats: 5 well-groomed and serene cats, who do not bother, but simply feel at home.

Then the style of the furniture, the decorations, the paintings and objects in the rooms. All original and from the colors chosen to create a dreamy, fairy-tale atmosphere. The icing on the cake is the vegan food, which is great – Romeow is a vegan bistro.

The atmosphere is perfect for studying, but consider that at lunch and dinner time, all tables here are set for eating.

I think this place is perfect for those visiting Rome with children who are not too young, and in any case, sitting down for a cappuccino in a café that belongs to cats is simply one of the coolest things to do in Rome.

Romeow Cat Bistrot is located in the Ostiense neighborhood, near the faculty of Roma Tre University.

7. Antico Caffé Greco

Address: Via dei Condotti, 86

Antico Caffè Greco, the most famous café in Rome, also ranks as the second oldest café in Italy, only Caffè Florian in Florence precedes it. A plaque at the entrance, dating back to 1760, celebrates its establishment in the historic center on Via Condotti, just a short walk from the Spanish Steps and the magnificent Piazza del Popolo.

For centuries, Antico Caffè Greco has attracted intellectuals and artists, hosting luminaries like Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol, Arthur Schopenhauer, Stendhal, Giacomo Leopardi, Franz Liszt, and Richard Wagner. This patronage has solidified its reputation as the ultimate literary café.

The café showcases around 300 items in its nineteenth-century styled rooms, including art works and ancient artifacts. Maintaining a long-standing tradition, the Group of Romanists—academics focused on Rome’s studies—meets here on the first Wednesday of every month.

Curiosity: Curious about the origin of espresso? Legend says that in 1806, with coffee prices skyrocketing across Europe, other Roman cafés started mixing their coffee with chickpea and chestnut flour to keep their customers. Antico Caffè Greco chose a different path by keeping its coffee blend pure, raising its prices, and serving coffee in a smaller cup, which led to the birth of the famous espresso cup.

If you plan to visit during lunch or dinner hours, making a reservation is a good idea.

8. Bar Monti

address | Via Urbana, 93 

Bar Monti is the nicest café in the neighborhood of Rome’s historic center that I love most, which is the Monti district, near the Colosseum.

Its ambiance, reminiscent of Montmartre’s cafes in Paris, features dim lamps, walls adorned with small frames, and comfy wooden chairs. 

It’s the perfect spot for work, a chat, or resting after exploring the Roman Forum, offering both coffee and food in an elegantly relaxed setting.

9. Materia Cafe

Address: Via Andrea Provana, 7

This coffee shop hasn’t been around for long, but it immediately won my heart. The setting is casual yet stylish, divided into three distinct areas. The atmosphere feels warm and relaxed, with many people studying there and light music playing in the background. Materia probably ranks as one of the best cafes for working in Rome, especially if you visit in the morning or afternoon.

Here, you can enjoy coffee and tea, cakes, and Italian dishes for a hearty meal. Bonus: if you stay into the evening, you can choose between tapas or fried delicacies (“fritti”, a typical Roman street food). And after dinner, live music and lively chatter often fill the air.

Materia Café, located near the San Giovanni Cathedral, is just a 20-minute walk from Roma Termini.

10. Caffé Letterario

Address | Via Ostiense, 95 

Whenever I visit Romeow Cat Bistrot, I can’t help but also drop by the Caffé Letterario, which is located there just a few steps away.

In this place you can only feel comfortable and relaxed, if you like casual places. Caffè Letterario welcomed me making me feel right at home with its super comfy couches. 

The cafe wraps around a cozy public library, so you’ll blend right in with a laptop or book. 

With co-working spaces and a stage for small events or jam sessions, this spot even throws in a Tango night weekly. Formerly a garage, its industrial style and deep colors set a unique vibe. Enjoy the free wifi and buffet-style budget lunches or dinners. Chill on the big couches or hunker down at the long study tables without needing to buy anything—though grabbing an espresso might make the staff’s day. 

University students frequent here thanks to nearby faculties, yet it’s never too packed. Definitely, a must-visit in the Ostiense or Garbatella areas, offering a cozy escape in Rome.

11. Tomo Coffee Bookshop

Address: Via degli Etruschi, 4

This vibrant two-story coffee bookshop in the San Lorenzo neighborhood is within walking distance of La Sapienza University and 10 minutes from Termini Station.

It’s the perfect place to sit and have a cappuccino while waiting to catch a train.

In one room you’ll find books, in the other a café, while in the quiet room in the basement you can work. This café is a true catalyst for the neighborhood and one of my favorite spots in the San Lorenzo area.

12. Giufà Libreria Caffè

Address: Via degli Aurunci, 38

Nestled in the university district of San Lorenzo, close to major train stations Termini and Tiburtina, Giufà Libreria Caffè stands out. 

Despite the neighborhood’s lively night scene, it’s peaceful during the day. What I liked most about this café, besides the coffee, is that although the space is small, all the walls are covered with shelves full of books.

This café and indie bookshop dive deep into graphic novels, comics, and contemporary literature.

Plus, they serve brownies. Surrounded by creativity, Giufà organizes book presentations, readings, and small exhibitions. 

You’re welcome to peruse a book over your table and enjoy daily specials, organic local wines, beers, and great brownies.

13. Vivi Bistrot

Address |Via Vitellia, 102 

Like the other cafés I’ve described in this post, Vivi Bistrot is also located outside the historic center. However, a visit here is truly worthwhile because of its unique setting in the beautiful Villa Pamphili public park, making it a one-of-a-kind café experience in Rome.

The coffee shop stands in the most panoramic point of the park, surrounded by lawns and umbrella pine trees. 

Indoors or outdoors, it’s a spot not to be missed, especially if you’re visiting with kids thanks to the nearby playground. 

It caters to vegans and vegetarians with delicious cakes, excellent coffees, and teas. Tables fill up quickly on sunny days. 

14. Bar Necci

Address | Via Fanfulla da Lodi, 68 

Bar Necci, like other suburban cafes, also appeals to me because it represents an oasis of recollection and relaxation in an area popular especially for nightlife.

In the lively Pigneto neighborhood, Bar Necci is a beloved spot among Rome’s intellectuals, once frequented by artist Pier Paolo Pasolini. 

Known for its friendly staff, excellent coffee, and a wide selection of treats, it’s perfect for any visit with its cozy outdoor courtyard.

15. Bar del cappuccino

Address | Via Arenula, 50 

And now it is time for me to tell you about a small, simple café that hosts mostly locals: the Cappuccino Bar.

The café deserves mention because it makes one of the best cappuccinos in Rome. If you try your hand at exploring the Trastevere neighborhood or the Tiber Island, you can easily pass by here.

Busy in the mornings for its sought-after croissants and pastrami-stuffed pizza bread, it’s more of a quick stop than a hangout.