5 of the Best: Things You Need to Eat in Rome, ItalyBy Angelica Malin
Looking for the best places to eat in Rome? Rome is simply a magical city – with so many incredible restaurants, cafes and gelaterias to discover. From delicious cheesy pasta to divine chocolate ice cream, here’s our guide to the places to eat in Rome (and what to order):
Roscioli is a must-visit on your trip to Rome; a wine bar, cheese shop, restaurant and fine-foods grocery store in one, with its charmingly exuberant staff and bustling atmosphere, it’s about as traditional Italian in vibe as it gets. I love coming here to dine at the bar – it’s the perfect spot for people-watching, with a glass of wine in hand – and soaking up the hustle and bustle of the always-popular spot. The food is, without a doubt, some of the finest you find it all of Rome. It’s all about the produce here; using only the very best Italian produce, from aged cheeses and local charcuterie, to fresh tomatoes and handmade pasta, you’ll taste the quality in every bite. One of the best places to eat in Rome, without a doubt.
My favourite order? Start with the Strachtiella with mint oil and fried courgette and devour alongside probably the best bread basket in Rome and a glass of Italian Sauvignon. Move on to the homemade pasta: their traditional Cacio e Pepe is worth the flight alone, and the ravioli with chestnut sauce is world-class. Finish with their delectable warm chocolate brownies with a short, sharp Espresso. Total perfection.
Where: Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22, 00186 Roma RM, Italy'Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.' Anatole BroyardClick To Tweet
I am fully aware there is a Venchi in Hampstead, don’t @ me. UK branch aside, Venchi makes some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted, and I’m not afraid to say it. Their gelato is smooth, rich and utterly divine – opt for the chocolate flavours, such as the delightful chocolate with a hazelnut cream topping, or the silky, intense 70% dark chocolate gelato. If you want to get snazzy, they also do a pimped-up cone with dark chocolate and roasted nuts, and you can drizzle chocolate sauce all over your cone. The sorbets are nice too – in a vegan, healthy way – and I have it on good authority that their hot chocolate with rum and whipped cream is delicious. Did you really go to Rome if you didn’t get a gelato the size of your face?
Where: All over Rome
Panella is one of those Roman coffee shops that only insiders know about – but I’ll let you on the secret. It’s a real neighbourhood haunt; the scent of roasted coffee beans and freshly-baked pastries luring the locals in every day. Their pastries are some of the best you’ll find in the city – think apricot jam filled croissants, wholemeal strawberry tarts, ricotta and sour cherry stuffed cakes, and, my personal favourite, the pear and chocolate strudel. The real star of the show here is their coffee – for something truly Roman (and a bit Marmite, I’ll admit), try the coffee with zabaglione. My boyfriend loves it. I think it tastes like Christmas gone wrong. Basically: a sweet, rich, almost eggnog flavoured cappuccino, that locals adore. It’s perfect with one of their homemade fruit-studded biscotti – now all you need is a Vespa, and you’re a true Roman.
Where: Via Merulana, 54, 00185 Roma RM, Italy
Let me be frank with you: I’m highly sceptical of kosher restaurants. I’ve had more bad kosher restaurant meals than good – dry hamburgers, over-cooked chicken schnitzel, salty stews – so much so, than we usually only every eat (kosher) meat at home. But then I discovered Bella Carne – and everything changed. This is a kosher restaurant to end all kosher restaurants. Located in the Jewish Ghetto of Rome, this highly-popular meat restaurant is packed with locals, tourists, kosher and non-kosher diners alike, who all flock here for the seriously good meat dishes on offer. I was literally blown away with the offering; we started with the Bresaola, which is tender and soft, accompanied with fresh rocket and almonds, alongside some divinely creamy hummus with sautéed lamb. The real star of the show here is the Amatriciana – one of the most typical Roman pasta dishes, using Bucatini, normally made with pork meat – but here made kosher with beef chunks, fat and dried beef, in a rich, tomato sauce. How they’ve innovated to create a pasta this divine is truly beyond me – but I urge you, kosher or not, make the journey to taste it. One of the best places to eat in Rome if you fancy a meat feast.
Where: Via del Portico d’Ottavia, 51, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Probably one of the best trattorias in Rome – and well-worth the trip outside central Rome for. The residential area of Casaletto is home to some of the finest Roman food; here you’ll find plenty of amazing restaurants, serving up traditional Roman cuisine. Cesare al Casaletto is regarded as one of the best places to eat in Rome – try the deep-fried gnocchi on Cacio e Pepe sauce, and their homemade pastas are a thing of true beauty. The oxtail pasta is particularly stand-out – rich, flavoursome and delicious – and the Cacio e Pepe is easily one of the best in Rome. The stuff of pasta dreams.
Where: Via del Casaletto, 45, 00151 Roma RM, Italy
There’s so many amazing places to eat in Rome, we couldn’t simply limit this list to 5. Here’s a few notable mentions of more places to eat in Rome if you’ve got time:
Osteria da Fortunata – come here for homemade pasta made right in front of you by smiling Italian chefs. This popular, busy spot is perfect for a casual lunch – choose between rigatoni, tagliatelle, gnocchi pasta, and add the sauce of your choice, including Pomodoro, carbonara, cacio e pepe and more. It’s very popular, so be prepared to queue.
Gelateria del Teatro – one of the most popular ice cream spots in Rome, a tiny little shop, right by the water in the heart of Rome. The amazing array of quirky flavours here delights locals and tourists alike, from the intriguing lavender and white peach gelato to rosemary and lemon sorbet. My personal favourite? The chocolate and wine ice cream. Sounds strange, tastes incredible.
Sant’ Eustachio – the secret is very much out about this Roman coffee shop, but don’t let the crowds put you off – the coffee really is as good as the travel guides say. Tourists flock here for the traditional Roman coffees, as well as quirky serves like Tiramisu coffee, hot chocolate shot with cream and gelato-inspired cafe lattes. Try to snag a table outside – the further away from the queue, the better – but don’t forget to order directly from the waiter. You can also pick up memorabilia in-store, such as their own roasted coffee beans, chocolate and tote bags. Come for a latte, stay for the Nutella pastries.
VOS – Another great homemade pasta spot in the city, specialising in traditional Roman pastas. You’ll be lured in by the charming Italian woman in the window, as she lovingly creates ricotta and spinach ravioli by hand, but it’s no marketing trick – the pasta is really, really good. Try their tagliatelle with beef ragu, it’s simple but oh-so-good, and you can’t miss the fried artichokes.
Otello – For the best pizza in town, head to Otello in Trastevere. No surprises, but, again, you’re going to have to queue. It’s well worth it though: this is some of the finest pizza you’ll find in all of Rome. Pizza is one of the best things to eat in Rome, and this buzzy, popular spot serves up razor thin, traditional Italian pizza with homemade Pomodoro sauce, topped with a variety of the finest Italian produce, including Burrata, sundried tomatoes, local meats and Italian hard cheese. Don’t miss it.