Anyone who knows us well will know that Rome sits firmly at the top of our list of foodie destinations in Europe. We might be slightly biased, but Italians really do do it better.
We’ve put together our 10 favourite things to eat in Rome, and a few recommendations of where you can find them, so if you’re heading to the Eternal City soon (or even if you’re not!) we hope this gives you a little Italian inspiration…
Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza – Baffetto 2
It wouldn’t be a post about Italy if we didn’t start off with pizza! Baffetto 2 is a quaint little pizzeria in the heart of the city. It doesn’t look like much inside or out, but then the best places never do. This pizzeria has the homeliest feel, the friendliest staff, and the most delicious thin, crispy pizza you’ll get your hands on in Rome. Go for the simple tomato and buffalo mozzarella and you’ll never pile the toppings on again. We promise you won’t regret it.
Cornetti – I Dolce Di Nonna Vincenza
There’s something really lovely about breakfast in Rome. Whilst in the UK we’d crave bacon and eggs, Italians are more partial to good, strong coffee and a pastry, standing at the counter of the local bar. Order a cappuccino (most Italian’s will tell you it’s only acceptable to drink a cappuccino in the morning – from midday onwards it’s espressos only!) and a cornetto. Sort of like a croissant, cornetti are richer and denser, made with an almost brioche like pastry, and usually come stuffed to the brim with either jam, Nutella or a thick pastry cream. Ridiculously good.
Focaccia e Porchetta – Forno Castel Saint’Angelo
The ultimate Italian street food, focaccia e porchetta (essentially a pork sandwich) is the perfect lunch option. Thick slices of succulent pork, sandwiched between beautiful, salty focaccia bread – it doesn’t get much better than that. You can pick one up at most delicatessens, and make sure you ask for it toasted.
Gelato – Gelateria Alla Scala
No matter what time of year you visit Rome, it’s never too chilly to enjoy some real gelato. One of our favourite areas in Rome is Trastevere; a stunning bohemian district just across the river Tiber. Within its quirky cobbled streets, the area houses some of the best gelaterias in the city. Order two or three flavours and enjoy!
The only way to start a great meal. Antipasti has always been a huge part of any gathering, celebration or dinner party in our family. Made up of a colourful array of cured meats, cheeses, vegetables and bread, it really is the nicest way to eat. Order a few different plates to share, and always order artichoke hearts. We couldn’t choose where we’ve had the best antipasti in Rome, but one restaurant we’ve been desperate to recommend is Toto. You’ll find it sitting snugly behind a wall of twinkly fairly lights a few streets away from the Spanish Steps. The fritto misto (lightly fried vegetables) is ridiculously good.
Gnocchi – Terra di Siena
If you haven’t ever tried gnocchi, add it to your weekly meal plan immediately. Sort of doughy, potato dumplings – gnocchi is so versatile and a great alternative to pasta. Our earliest memories of holidays to Italy are sitting in our Great Aunt’s kitchen, watching her roll out little balls of gnocchi on her sterotypical plastic table cloth. She always made it look so easy. In Rome, gnocchi is traditionally made with semolina, which gives it a distinct, rough texture, but is still surprisingly light. If it’s on the menu cooked in truffle butter, like it is at Terra di Siena, then order it. It’s SO delicious.
Pasta – Trattoria da Cencia
This is an obvious one. There are SO many amazing places to eat pasta in Rome, but the best places are the ones that do it simply. Steer away from the tourist restaurants if you can (don’t be afraid of going somewhere where the menus don’t have dodgy English translations), and find where the locals are eating. Again, Trastevere is a great spot for discovering those hidden gems. Bolognese, carbonara and spaghetti alla vongole are all pasta dishes that taste better simple. No frills, no fuss. The best way to enjoy a plate of pasta!
A traditional Italian dish, the loose translation of saltimbocca is ‘jump in mouth’ – which seems pretty fitting to us! Usually veal or pork in Rome, the meat is wrapped in prosciutto and sage leaves then cooked in butter. It will be on the menu in most places, and is definitely a dish we would recommend. Order with a side of rosemary potatoes to mop up that delicious butter too.
Margherita Pizza (with a view) – Oppio Caffee
Pizza again, but this one is more of a location recommendation than a foodie one and definitely somewhere you should go when in Rome. Head towards the Colosseum and take the stone steps to the right of the metro station. At the top, you’ll find Oppio – a simple little bar and restaurant, but one with a few tables scattered on the pavement that boast the most magical view of the Colosseum. The perfect spot to enjoy a pretty tasty margherita and a glass or two of vino bianco in the sunshine.
Tiramisu – Pompi
Another obvious one, but you can’t go to Italy and not indulge in tiramisu. This coffee and chocolate flavoured custard delight is probably the most famous Italian dessert, and you’ll find the layered goodness on every menu. However, for an impressive and inventive take on the typical tiramisu, there’s one place you need to visit – and that’s Pompi. The well known vendor of the classic dessert offers an array of flavour combinations like nothing you’ve ever tried before. Don’t believe us? Watch the video on their website and try to stop yourself from drooling.
G & D x