We have never come back home from Italy the same size. We always bring a souvenir in form of extra kilograms. Also luggage is stuffed with food which attracts customs to search thru cheese in order to find hidden drugs and of course a wallet full of receipts not notes. Rome wasn’t different even exceeded our expectations. Welcome to our mini food guide – list of dishes and restaurants we have tried we like it and we can recommend.
Colazione – simply breakfast
For Italians appetite comes with eating which leads directly to size of meals. Eating habits of Italians goes against the rule of “eat breakfast yourself, share lunch with your friend and dinner give away to your enemy”. If there is anything Italians would give away is a breakfast which is light and sweet. Cornetto which is Italian Croissant and coffee – in this case Cappuccino is a typical breakfast. Some Romans would have shorter and stronger coffee which goes more with a standard idea of a “strong morning coffee”. Cornetto comes in different sizes (almost always larger than Croissaint) and fillings – everything from custard, chocolate cream to apricot jams. Our favorite definitely is pistachio cream more typical to Sicily. Larger B&B and Hotels have wider selection for breakfast.
You can always grab something quick for lunch in Rome to eat on the go. It will work for you time wise but also you will be able to avoid charge of ‘Coperto’. Coperto is a fee to lay the table, it’s charged per person and it has to be in the menu. Coperto shouldn’t be mixed with ‘Servicio’ which is a service charge. It’s not a tip and it doesn’t go to waiter’s pocket.
Panino – different types of bread (as long as not sliced) with vide range of fillings. You can asked to heat it up especially when with cheese which will melts beautify.
Pizza al taglio – sliced pizza which often comes in rectangular cuts made with scissors. Dough is foccacia style much thicker than classic Italian base. Toppings combinations are endless and every place has a specialty. Ones to look for are zucchini, ricotta and anchovy or artichoke with slices potatoes.
Suppli – fried rice balls with tomato sauce or more sophisticated fillings. In different regions known as arancini. We still think they are well used risotto leftovers :P. In Rome you can see ones made from pasta as well. Look for busy places which sell a lot you can be sure they are fresh and crispy.
From left: different types of ‘fritti’ – there’s also suppli, pizza al taglio from Pizzarium, ham and cheese panino
In this section we aren’t going to be original as two next options are not typical for Rome only but whole Italy. Well known wide selection of different bites like cheese, ham, olives etc.
Parmigiana – roasted gratin of aubergine, tomato sauce and cheese. We think everyone will love eggplant this way as it melts in your mouth.
Bresaola – air dried salted beef. Served like Carpaccio with rocket, cheese shavings and few drops of lemon juice. Originally from Lombardi region of superb Valtellina wines and cycling lovers- you can’t go wrong with that!
From left: bresaola, bruschetta, parmigiana
Primi means pasta
Pasta is an Italian classic where every region has its own type with different sauces typical to area where is served. In Rome you have to try rigatoni – typical to central and south of Italy, larger than penne.
Cacio e pepe – simplicity as its best. Typical Roman dish of pasta with pecorino cheese and black pepper.
Carbonara – probably the best dish Romans gave to the world. Due to its popularity the original recipe is abused and you most likely had it with cream, mushrooms, ham.. You name it. Carbonara is made from egg yolk, cheese (Pecorino Romano would be the best), guanciale (cured meat from pork cheek) and pepper. Nothing else!
All’amatriciana – Tomato sauce, onion and guanciale. Simple and tasty like most Italian pastas.
From left: all’ amatriciana, cacio e pepe, carbonara
Lunch and dinner falls always with the same order. You can have Antipasto to start with –ham, cheese, olives, little bites. Primi Piatti – first course which is generous size of various types of pasta. Secondi – serving of meat or fish with little accompaniments. Contorni – vegetables, salads and sides. Dolci – desserts. Simply a lot of food to deal with.
Saltimbocca alla Romana – veal or pork cutlets lined with sage and slice of prosciutto served in its own sauce.
Trippa alla Romana – dish made of tripe in tomato sauce. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try but we are sure every tripe lover will be satisfied. Let us know if you have eaten it in Rome.
Saltimbocca alla romana
Tiramisu – classic Italian dessert made from Mascarpone cheese cream ladyfingers soaked in coffee or a liquor with some bitter cocoa powder on top. Dispute over origins divide Italians like Russians and Polish when it comes to Vodka. As you say everyone wants a piece of a cake… 😉
Gelato – Italian ice cream which tastes the best in Rome. Nothing else needs to be said.
Where to eat –mini food guide:
Tratoria where we planned to eat was closed so we navigated to first close by restaurant with more than 1 star on trip advisor. We have ended up with probably the best meal of our time in Rome. We had Parmigiana and Bresaola to start with. For our main course we had pasta Carbonara and all’Amatriciana. Service was very attentive and friendly and they offered to serve our pasta one by one split on 2 plates. Fried Guanciale was sublime, crispy on the outside and melting in mouth. Primo re is located close to Re di Roma and San Giovanni metro stations. You can use line A or B.
Address: Via Magnagrecia, 102, 00198 Roma
Opening times: everyday 12-15.30 i 19:30-23:30
Prices: antipasti 5-13 euro, primi 6-12 euro, secondi 12-18 euro, desserts 5-6 euro
Desserts kingdom! Especially Tiramisu. Vast choice of different flavors might give you a headache. Classic, pistachio, Pina colada are only few to mention. Tasty Ice creams and huge selections of desserts.
Address: Pompi is a small chain and has few locations around Rome.
Via Albalonga, 7, 00183 Roma – close to Re di Roma station is where we have been
Opening times: everyday from 7am until midnight weekends until 1:30am. Ideal option to stuff In before night out.
Prices: generous portion of ice cream is 5 euro. Tiramisu is 4.5 euro. Drinks are priced well, Aperol Spritz 6 euro and Prosecco only 3.5 euro
Taverna del Seminario
We do agree with one of promotional banners displayed by restaurant in Trastevere ‘we are against war and menu turistico’. In this case we made an exception. Admittedly it wasn’t menu turistico but classic the restaurant was full of tourist. For 15 euro we got 4 course dinner of a very good quality. Choice is limited but you can go for Roman classic dishes. There is A’la Carte available as well and daily special always from different Italian region. Restaurant is around the corner from Panteon and is getting full really quick. We were there straight after opening.
Address: Via del Seminario, 105, 00186 Roma
Opening times: daily 12:00-23:15
Prices: 4 course menu classico za 15 euro, antipasti 1.5-7 euro, primi 5-10 euro, secondi 6-20 euro (most from 10 euro), salads 7 euro and pizza 5-9 euro.
Fashionable busy place with sliced pizza. When you arrived you have to take a ticket with number and until called to place an order. Everyday menu changes slightly with wide selection. Pizza is cut with scissors and sold by weight depending on size you want. Base is Foccacia style and rather thick. They also have few different kinds of Supli. We went for artichoke and potato pizza, spicy salame and ricotta as well as mushrooms and ricotta.
Address: Via della Meloria, 43, 00136 Roma
Opening times: everyday 11:00-22:00, Sunday 12:00-16:00 & 18:00-22:00
Prices: not cheap, prices between 25-32 euro for kilo. Smaller snacks like suppli 2-4 euro.
Sfizi di Pizza
We got there completely by accident. Passing by we decided to grab a quick pizza. You choose of the counter from already made pizzas and they will heat it up. You wouldn’t expect much but actually it was really tasty, quick and cheap option for a quick lunch
Address: Via Genova, 15, 00184 Roma
Opening times: Monday to Friday 8:30-20:30, Saturday 09:00-15:30, Sunday closed