Rome is the the heart of Italy and this vibrant city is a food and drink lover’s paradise, with its dizzying array of mouthwatering delicacies and thirst-quenching beverages.
From traditional pasta dishes to unique Roman-style pizza, and from aromatic Italian wines to frothy cappuccinos, Rome serves up a feast for all your senses. Before we get into the juicy details here are some Rome food facts to consider.
- Food and Drink in Rome – Facts for foodies.
- Pizza is the most popular food in Rome.
- The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine per year.
- There are over 5,000 gelato shops in Italy.
- Rome has over 4,000 restaurants.
- Italians drink an average of 14 billion espressos per year.
- Rome has over 2000 fountains, many of which provide drinking water.
- Rome has over 300 varieties of bread.
Pizza al Taglio – The Best Pizza in Rome
When in Rome, do as the Romans do – and that means indulging in pizza al taglio.’s If one thing is synonymous with Italy, it’s pizza. But not just any pizza, we’re talking about pizza al taglio. It’s the Roman version of fast food, served by weight and typically consumed standing up or on the go. This is not your typical round pie. It’s rectangular, sold by weight, and topped with a plethora of fresh ingredients, from classic Margherita to smoked salmon with zucchini.
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.
Where to find the best pizza al taglio
When in Rome, the quest for the best pizza al taglio is a must. The city is teeming with bakeries and pizzerias offering this iconic delicacy, yet a few stand out from the crowd. For the crust devotees, you simply can’t miss Pizzarium Bonci.
Pair with cini – a local brew
Nothing pairs better with a slice of Roman pizza than a local craft beer. Rome’s craft beer scene is thriving, with a plethora of artisanal breweries offering unique brews.
Remember, when dining in Rome, slowing down and savouring each bite is an essential part of the experience. So grab a slice, raise a glass, and when someone says “Salute!”, you reply “Cin Cin!”.
And that means savouring the city’s traditional dish, Cacio e Pepe. This beautifully simple pasta dish sings with the flavours of Italy.
In Rome, I particularly love the history, churches, sculptures and architecture and the fact that you can walk along a tiny cobbled street and turn the corner to find the Trevi Fountain.
Made with just three ingredients – Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper and spaghetti, this Roman classic is a culinary testament to the idea that less is indeed more. It’s all about mastering the alchemy of turning these humble ingredients into a dish that’s rich, creamy and full of flavour.
The Art of Eating in Rome
Rome is the the heart of Italy and this vibrant city is a food and drink lover’s paradise, with its dizzying array of mouthwatering delicacies and thirst-quenching beverages.
The Art of Eating Cacio e Pepe
Eating Cacio e Pepe is an experience in itself. Twirling your fork in the spaghetti, feeling the al dente strands, and tasting the sharp, salty cheese melting together with the warmth of the pepper is nothing short of a gastronomic delight.
Where to Get the Best Cacio e Pepe in Rome
In Rome, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Cacio e Pepe. Yet, top spots include Trattoria Da Danilo and Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina, where you’ll find the most authentic and decadently delicious bowls of this Roman staple.
Visiting Rome without trying Cacio e Pepe would be like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. So, get ready to indulge your senses in this Roman delight!
Supplì – The Famous Roman Street Food
Picture yourself meandering through Rome’s bustling streets, when suddenly an enticing aroma wafts past. It’s Supplì, a famous Roman street food that’s as much a part of the city’s character as the Colosseum. This delicious deep-fried snack is a traveller’s delight.
What is Supplì?
Supplì are delectable balls of risotto rice, lovingly stuffed with mozzarella and sometimes minced meat, then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried until golden. The word ‘Supplì’ is derived from the French word ‘surprise’, probably due to the hidden treasure of gooey cheese inside.
Where to Find the Best Supplì in Rome?
Rome is littered with pizzerias and rosticcerias, serving up these mouthwatering snacks. Some of the top spots include Rosti al Pigneto, Supplizio and Pizzarium. Each has their own secret recipe, adding a unique twist to this traditional snack.
Savouring the Supplì
As you bite into a warm Supplì, the crispy outside gives way to a creamy, cheesy centre that’s simply irresistible. Paired with a glass of local Italian wine, it’s the perfect way to savour the Roman food culture.
Gelato – The Italian Classic Dessert
When you think of Italy, your mind might instantly hover over an image of a generous cup of gelato, melting ever-so-slightly under the Roman sun. This classic Italian dessert is an absolute must-try when you’re ambling around the Eternal City.
Unlike its distant cousin, the ice cream, gelato is creamier, denser and bursts with flavour. From the ubiquitous Stracciatella (chocolate chip) to the more adventurous Fior di Latte (sweet milk), each gelateria in Rome presents a bewildering array of flavours that’ll leave you spoilt for choice.
Some of the best Italian Foods to sample in Rome
The Tiramisù, Italy’s most coveted dessert, is a delicious marriage of coffee-dipped ladyfingers and luxurious mascarpone cream. It’s an Italian jewel that wraps you in a sweet, creamy embrace. There’s no better place to taste it than in the Eternal City itself.
Where to Find the Best Tiramisù in Rome
For the ultimate Tiramisù experience, you must visit Bar Pompi. Known as the ‘King of Tiramisù’, this place is a dessert lover’s paradise. For a twist on the classic version, Roscioli serves a deconstructed tiramisù that’s an absolute dream.
Do It Yourself – Tiramisù Recipe
Feeling adventurous? Why not try your hand at making Tiramisù? Here’s a simple recipe:
- Combine egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl.
- Beat in mascarpone cheese until smooth.
- Dip ladyfingers into coffee and layer them in a dish.
- Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers.
- Repeat layers and dust the top with cocoa.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours and voila, your Tiramisù is ready!
So, when in Rome, don’t forget to indulge in this sweet quintessence of Italian cuisine. Tiramisù – it’s not just a dessert, it’s a Roman rite of passage!
Artichokes – The Roman Seasonal Delicacy
When talking about food and drink in Rome we must not forget the humble artichoke. A seasonal delicacy adored by locals and visitors alike. As the Roman saying goes, “a meal without artichokes is like a kiss without a hug.” So, let’s dive into the world of this beloved vegetable with its deep ties to Rome’s culinary scene.
Artichokes are a staple of the Rome food scene – The Roman Artichoke – Carciofi alla Romana
Let’s start with ‘Carciofi alla Romana’, a preparation method that delivers a flavourful, tender treat. These artichokes are typically stuffed with mint and garlic, then slowly braised until they’re juicy and succulent. It’s a delightful representation of Rome’s penchant for simple yet incredibly satisfying dishes.
Artichoke Heaven – Carciofi alla Giudia
If you’re more of a fan of textures, ‘Carciofi alla Giudia’ will be your artichoke heaven. A Jewish-Roman tradition, this dish features artichokes that are fried until crispy, with the leaves opening up like a beautiful blooming flower. The contrast between the soft heart and crunchy leaves is a game-changer.
Artichokes in Modern Roman Cuisine
In modern Roman cuisine, artichokes have also found their way into pizzas, pastas, and even as a topping on creamy risottos. It’s a testament to the versatility of this vegetable and its central role in Roman gastronomy. This is a food adventure you’ll want to embark on when exploring Rome’s eating scene.
Flavours of Rome
Think Roman food, and your mind might drift to pasta, pizza, and gelato. However, the Eternal City offers a wealth of other culinary delights waiting to be discovered. From simmering pots of ‘coda alla vaccinara’ (oxtail stew) to the crispy, thin ‘pizza al taglio’, each dish narrates a tale of Rome’s rich history.
Top Trattorias in the City
- Trattoria Da Cesare al Casaletto: Known for its exceptional wine selection and traditional Roman dishes, Da Cesare is a must-visit.
- Trattoria Da Enzo: A small, bustling spot in Trastevere known for its delicious pasta and divine ‘tiramisu’.
- Trattoria Monti: Famous for its ‘torta di erbe’, a savoury pie made from seasonal greens.
Whilst dining in Rome, remember to take your time. Italians believe in ‘la dolce vita’, meaning ‘the good life’, and that certainly extends to their food. So, relax, enjoy the ambience and let your taste buds embark on a Roman holiday.
Where to Find the Best Gelato in Rome
While Rome is speckled with numerous gelaterias, some truly stand apart. Gelateria dei Gracchi, famed for its all-natural ingredients, and Il Gelato di San Crispino, known for its honey-infused gelato, are just a couple of the many spots you shouldn’t miss.
Indulging in Gelato – The Roman Way
Now, here’s the deal: eating gelato isn’t just about the taste, it’s about the experience. So, get your scoop, find a sunny spot at the Spanish Steps or the Piazza Navona, and watch life in Rome go by as you savor every bite of your gelato.
Caffè – The Italian Art of Coffee
When you think of Italy, it’s hard not to imagine a bustling espresso bar, the rich aroma of freshly ground coffee beans wafting through the air. And nowhere is this experience more authentic than in the heart of Rome. A day in Rome starts and ends with a cup of coffee, or caffè as it’s locally known.
Understanding Caffè Culture
Rome’s coffee culture is not just about the beverage; it’s a lifestyle, an art form that demands respect. When you order a caffè, don’t expect a large, steaming cup. Instead, you’ll be served a small, potent brew, typically without milk – the famous Italian espresso.
Yet, the world of Italian coffee goes well beyond espresso. There’s caffè macchiato (espresso with a dash of frothy milk), caffè corretto (espresso “corrected” with a shot of grappa or Sambuca) and caffè freddo (iced coffee), perfect for Rome’s sweltering summers.
Finding the Best Coffee in Rome
Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time for the fun part: sipping your way through the city’s best coffee spots. Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè and Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria are two must-visit locations.
Sant’Eustachio, operating since 1938, is famed for its secret blend. Meanwhile, Roscioli serves up sublime coffee and a tantalising array of pastries. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to get a true taste of Rome’s caffè culture.
Coffee Tips to Blend in Like a Local
When in Rome, drink coffee like the Romans do. First, remember that cappuccino is a breakfast drink. Ordering one after lunch is a clear giveaway you’re a tourist. Second, don’t be afraid to drink your coffee at the bar standing up – it’s the Roman way and cheaper too!
Embrace the experience, allow the coffee to awaken your senses, and let it fuel your journey through the Eternal City. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and its rich caffè culture deserves your time.
Prosciutto e Melone – The Perfect Combination
Finding a food pairing that dances gracefully on one’s palate can be a delightful discovery. Enter Prosciutto e Melone. This classic Italian combo of thin, salty cured ham wrapped around chunks of sweet, juicy cantaloupe is a taste sensation that’s hard to beat.
At first glance, one might question the union of fruit and meat. Yet, this Italian staple is a testament to the beauty of culinary contrasts. The salty, rich prosciutto, pared with the refreshing, sweet melon, creates a mouth-watering symphony that leaves you craving for more.
Where to Savour this Combo
While you can find Prosciutto e Melone in most Italian restaurants, nothing beats the experience of enjoying it in a cosy little Roman trattoria. Picture this: you’re seated in a charming, rustic setting, the Roman sun setting in the distance, and you’re about to take a bite of this divine delicacy – it’s gastronomic bliss!
Creating Your Own Masterpiece
Can’t make it to Rome anytime soon? Fear not! Prosciutto e Melone is incredibly easy to make at home, requiring only quality ingredients and a bit of love. So why not bring a slice of Rome to your dining room? It’s an Italian love story, waiting to be savoured.
Carbonara – The Creamy Roman Pasta Dish
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and indulge in a delicious bowl of carbonara. This creamy pasta dish, known and loved around the world, is as Roman as the Colosseum.
A Brief History of Carbonara
Originating from the Eternal City, carbonara is a relatively young dish. It didn’t make its culinary debut until the 20th century. It’s said to have been named after the ‘carbonari’, the Italian coal miners who’d tuck into this hearty meal after a long day’s work.
Carbonara’s Essential Ingredients
True Roman carbonara is a symphony of simple, yet quality ingredients. It comprises guanciale (Italian cured pork cheek), Pecorino Romano cheese, eggs, black pepper, and of course, pasta – usually spaghetti, rigatoni or tonnarelli.
Guanciale: This is the star of the show, providing a unique, robust pork flavour.
Pecorino Romano: Unlike Parmesan, Pecorino Romano is made from sheep’s milk, giving the dish its distinctive tangy, salty punch.
Eggs: The secret to carbonara’s iconic creaminess. It’s all in the method of mixing the eggs with the hot pasta to create a rich, silky sauce–sans cream!
Black Pepper: Don’t be shy with this ingredient. It adds essential warmth and a slight kick to the dish.
Pasta: The vehicle for all this deliciousness. Opt for a good quality, durum wheat pasta for the best result.
Where To Try The Best Carbonara in Rome
For an authentic Roman carbonara, head to Trattoria Da Danilo. It’s an institution, famed for its rich and flavourful carbonara. Another favourite is Osteria Bonelli, where the carbonara is so good, it’s often sold out by lunch!
So, when you’re in Rome, make sure you savour a bowl of this creamy, comforting, and quintessentially Roman pasta dish. Because remember, there’s no place like Rome for a true carbonara!
Markets - The Perfect Spot for Foodies
When in Rome, the bustling markets offer a veritable feast of flavours, from the freshest produce to artisanal delicacies. Here, Romans and tourists alike flock to indulge in authentic culinary delights and discover local treasures. Let’s dive into a realm where food is not just sustenance, but an art form, a tradition, a way of life.
Campo De’ Fiori
Begin your gastronomic journey at Campo De’ Fiori, one of Rome’s oldest markets. It’s a colourful and vibrant place, filled with stalls that offer a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The aroma of herbs and spices in the air, and the animated exchanges between vendors and customers, add to this market’s captivating charm.
Next on your itinerary should be Mercato Testaccio, a haven for foodies. This modern, covered market is home to butchers, bakers, and fresh produce stalls, as well as an impressive array of food stalls. From tempting porchetta sandwiches to decadent tiramisu, the culinary offerings here are simply irresistible.
Finally, make your way to Mercato Trionfale, Rome’s largest public market. This sprawling marketplace boasts over 200 stalls selling everything from cheese and meat to olives and wine. It’s the perfect place to pick up a few edible souvenirs, or to simply enjoy a leisurely stroll amidst the hustle and bustle.
So, get ready to awaken your senses, connect with Rome’s rich culinary heritage, and uncover the city’s gastronomic gems. After all, food is an integral part of the Roman experience, and the city’s markets serve as a delectable testament to this fact.
We can also help with some fantastic tours that take in the best markets.
Breakfast – The Italian Way
When in Rome, do as the Romans do and that starts with breakfast! The morning meal might seem simplified compared to the lavish English or American breakfast, but it’s a beautiful combination of flavours and aroma that will leave your taste buds ecstatic.
Cappuccino e Cornetto
To start your day like a true Roman, go for a cappuccino e cornetto. This classic combo includes a hot cappuccino paired with a light and flaky croissant typically filled with jam, chocolate, or cream. It’s the perfect balance of bitter coffee and sweet pastry, giving you a delightful start to your day.
Another popular morning option is maritozzo, a sweet bread roll filled with fresh whipped cream. Trust me, this fluffy, creamy delight is worth every calorie. It’s a Roman speciality that you won’t find done better elsewhere.
And of course, how can we forget about the world-renowned Italian espresso? When in Rome, toss back a tiny cup of this intensely rich and dark liquid like the locals do. It’ll give you the caffeine kick you need to explore the city!
Limoncello is a lemon liqueur commonly served as a digestif after meals in Rome.
The Citrus Charm of Limoncello
Imagine sitting in a bustling Roman piazza, just finishing a hearty meal. As the sun sets, you’re presented with a small, chilled glass of limoncello. This lemon liqueur is a delightful tradition in Rome, often served as a digestif to round off your eating experience.
A Tangy Treat
Taking a sip, you’re immediately hit with a zingy, citrus explosion. Limoncello is a vibrant blend of lemon peels, alcohol, water and sugar. Its high-intensity flavour is a true embodiment of the lively Roman spirit.
Limoncello – Rome’s Liquid Gold
As you let the limoncello’s warmth spread through you, you begin to understand why this ‘liquid gold’ is so cherished in Rome. It’s more than just a drink, it’s a ritual, a celebration of Roman culture and hospitality. to end a perfect day in Rome, order a glass of limoncello and drink in the essence of the eternal city.
Food and Drink is The Essence of Rome
When it comes to gastronomic delight, Rome is a veritable paradise. In its vibrant streets and candle-lit trattorias, you’ll find a love affair between culture and cuisine that’s simply irresistible.
La dolce vita isn’t just a way of life in Rome, it’s a way to eat. From velvety pasta dishes to crisp, thin-crust pizzas, the city’s culinary offerings are a testament to its rich heritage and the locals’ zest for life.
Let’s not forget about Rome’s sweet treats. Who could resist a scoop (or three) of creamy gelato, or a warm, freshly-baked cannoli after a meal? Pair it with a strong Italian coffee and savor the moment.
The city’s vibrant wine culture is a must-experience. Whether you prefer a full-bodied red or a crisp white, there’s a Roman vineyard that has just the right bottle for you.
For the non-drinkers, Rome’s coffee culture rivals its wine. Delight in a foamy cappuccino or indulge in an espresso shot, but remember – ordering a milky coffee after 11 am is a cardinal sin in Italy!
From hole-in-the-wall pizzerias to high-end dining establishments, Rome has something to cater to every palate. It’s not just about the food and drink, though. It’s about the atmosphere, the charisma of the people, and the pure joy that comes from enjoying good food in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
So when in Rome, forget the diet. Immerse yourself in the city’s culinary scene and experience the pleasure of eating and drinking like a true Roman.
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