The Eternal City is awash with enough pizzeria, trattoria and gelateria to fulfil every one of your Italian food dreams but just like any city, mediocre food is more common than you think. To have your Roman holiday marred by ordinary food would be a tragedy.
For a head start on where and what to eat in Rome, work your way through our list of Roman classics. Roman cuisine has its roots in peasant traditions. It’s characterised by bold, punchy flavours, seasonal ingredients prepared simply and a passion for nose to tail eating- you’re in for a treat…
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1. Suppli at Supplì Roma
The king of Roman street food is undoubtedly the suppli- a ball of risotto rice cooked with ragu (a tomato based meat sauce), stuffed with mozzarella, crumbed and deep fried. Locals flock to Supplì Roma for some of the best suppli in town. It’s a hefty snack- the ragu coated rice is tangy and the nugget of mozzarella tucked in the centre is gratifyingly oozy and stringy (it’s often referred to as suppli al telefono given the string of mozzarella resembles an old fashioned telephone cord). Grab a couple of these and enjoy them in one of Rome’s charming piazzas.
Eat at: Supplì Roma, Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 137, 00153 Roma RM. Open Monday to Saturday 10:00am to 10:00pm.
2. Pizza al taglio at Pizzeria a Taglio Angelo e Simonetta
Pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) is one of the city’s most beloved foods. Often eaten on the go, as a snack or light lunch, slices are sold by weight and the staggering choice of toppings will have you mesmerised.
Pizzeria a Taglio Angelo e Simonetta is a small, nondescript pizzeria which is off the beaten path. This pizzeria is credited with popularising teglia Romana the method of allowing the dough to ferment for a number of hours so that when cooked it rises in the pan and forms a crispy bottom. The pizza base truly is the hero here- it’s chewy, crunchy, light and has a robust flavour. Although, they ain’t slouches on the topping front either- our favourite was the pizza draped with thinly sliced prosciutto, rocket, blobs of gooey mozzarella and drizzled with thick, sweet balsamic vinegar.
Eat at: Pizzeria a Taglio Angelo e Simonetta, Via Nomentana, 581, 00141 Roma RM. Open daily 10:30am to midnight.
3. Porchetta at Er Buchetto
When a shop has been in business since 1890, you know they’re doing something right. Alessandro Fioravanti is the fifth generation owner of Er Buchetto which specialises in one thing: porchetta- Italian slow roasted pork. The pork arrives each morning from Ariccia, a village about 25 kilometres outside the centre, famous for their porchetta.
Er Buchetto is small, dominated by the giant pork roast which sits waiting to be carved at the entrance to the restaurant. Pull up a stool, order a tumbler of wine, some slices of porchetta and a bread roll on the side. Each slice of roast pork is served room temperature and has the perfect ratio of fat, meat and crunchy crackle. There’s nothing like this porchetta- melt in your mouth tender with a hint of rosemary. Eating at Er Buchetto is a quintessential Roman experience- don’t miss it!
Eat at: Er Buchetto, Via del Viminale, 2F, 00184 Roma RM. Open Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 9:0pm and Saturday 10:00am to 2:30pm.
4. Gelato at Gelateria de Graachi
Gelateria are a dime a dozen in Rome but not all gelato is created equal. If you want authentic gelato steer well clear of shops with flavours like bubble-gum and rainbow and where mint and pistachio glow neon green. Instead head to a gelataria like Gelateria Dei Graachi where everything is prepared in house from the roasting of nuts to the pureeing of fresh fruit. No milk powders and artificial flavours here- just all natural, seasonal Italian ingredients. We bet you’ll find yourself returning day after day!
Eat at: Gelateria Dei Gracchi, Via di S. Pantaleo, 61, 00186 Roma RM. Open daily 10:30am to midnight.
5. Roman pasta at Trattoria De Cesare al Casaletto
Every neighbourhood needs a Trattoria De Cesare al Casaletto on its corner- a restaurant specialising in the local cuisine and excelling in its execution. Owned by a husband and wife team who left careers in fine dining to focus on traditional cucina Romana (Roman cuisine), this is the place to sample Roman classics. Cacio e pepe, one of Rome’s four signature pastas is perfect in its simplicity- the tonnarelli pasta has great bite, coated in a sauce of sharp pungent Pecorino Romana cheese and black pepper. The coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew) is hearty and rich- the meat falling apart at the prod of the fork. Eat here for one of Rome’s best local dining experiences.
Eat at: Trattoria De Cesare al Casaletto, Via del Casaletto, 45, 00151 Roma RM. Open 12:45pm to 3:00pm and 7:45pm to 11:00pm, closed Wednesday.
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