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What to Eat in Rome | 25 Rome Food Favorites

Are you wondering what to eat in Rome during your first trip to Italy? Read on to discover 25 must-eat Rome food favorites that you simply should not miss during a food-focused trip to the Eternal City.

Pizza in Teglio at Mercato di Testaccio in Rome

In today’s information driven world, the oft-heard cliche “all roads lead to Rome” could be substituted with the saying “all websites lead to Rome.” Everywhere we go on the web, we see Rome this or Rome that. Some sites have entire Rome sections on where to eat, what to see, etc. Until now, our website was the exception to this rule.

Though we visited the Eternal City for a handful of rainy days in 2010, our Italian expertise was more centered around Italy’s famous food regions – think fresh pasta and ragu in Emilia-Romagna, pizza in Campania and seafood in the Veneto. We’ve eaten gelato all over Italy but more on that later.

Ponte Saint Angelo in Rome
We finally followed the roads that lead to Rome for a return visit to the Eternal City in late 2020.

That all changed in late 2020. Despite the pandemic, we spent a glorious week in Rome during which we embarked on a self-guided culinary familiarization trip. We drifted past sites like the colosseum while exploring Rome’s hidden corners and peeking into the city’s emerging modern, local culture.

We drank at some of Rome’s hip new cafes, ate gelato at many of the hundreds of gelaterias in town and grazed through the city’s best markets. Our goal was to eat all the best food in Rome. We accomplished that goal and then some.

Who are we kidding? Our true goal was to eat our collective weight in pasta. The rest was a delicious bonus.

View of Vatican City in Rome
Walking around Rome is like walking through history.

Proving yet another age-old adage that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, it took us five full days to eat our way through the city. However, instead of building a city, we built the groundwork for this guide by eating the best food in Rome along with some tasty beverages to wash it all down.

Our History with Rome

Colosseum Selfie in Rome
Our love for Rome is contagious. We rarely stop smiling when we’re in the Eternal City.

Rome holds a special place in our hearts. It was the first Italian city we visited together and Daryl’s introduction to the food paradise known as Italy. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by rain as we entered the ancient city inundated by robed clergy in town for a bishop’s funeral.

We still remember lounging over a bottle of luscious local red wine at a dark enoteca in Trastevere, surrounded by aspiring men of the collar, waiting for the steady rain to end to begin our Rome exploration. Instead, the steady rain became a deluge. We ordered another bottle of wine and went for pizza instead.

As stereotypical American travelers, we packed everything into that initial visit just in case we never made it back to Europe. There was no rest for the weary as we traversed the city to see sites like the Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon, Forum and Galleria Borghese.

Trevi Fountain Selfie in Rome
Our smiles are extra big under our masks due to the small number of tourists at the Trevi Fountain.

We climbed the Spanish Steps and splashed in the Trevi Fountain. Okay, the splashing was a fantasy, though we had our Audrey Hepburn moment when we tossed in our three obligatory coins.

Despite the epic sites we saw, food from Rome is what we remembered most about that visit. Dishes like Carciofi alla Giudìa and Jewish Pizza became legendary in our minds, and we coined one of our favorite phrases while dining at Ristorante Piperno in the city’s historic Jewish ghetto neighborhood.

Though we had made an advance reservation, Piperno’s hostess escorted us past an inviting front dining room filled with loyal local patrons to a back room clearly reserved for tourists like us. As we ordered dishes like Saltimbocca alla Romana and the aforementioned Carciofi alla Giudìa, our American neighbors welcomed us to the ‘ghetto in the ghetto’ – a phrase we have used many times during the past decade.

Rome Food Favorites

Carciofi alla Giudìa at Mercato di Testaccio in Rome
Eating is our favorite thing to do in Rome. We ate this generously sized Carciofi alla Giudìa at Food Box in the Mercato di Testaccio.

While travelers regularly seek out pizza and gelato as part of their Roman adventure, most people bump into dishes like Cacio e Pepe by accident or while on a food tour.

We cry foul to this approach. Rome is a big city filled with culinary jewels honed over two millennia. Many of the best restaurants in Rome require advance reservations, making spontaneity moot for those looking to eat well during their vacations. Even during our 2020 pandemic visit, seating was limited and Saturday night reservations weren’t a given.

Suppli Cacio and Pepe at Mercato di Testaccio in Rome
We spotted these deep fried treats at Mercato di Testaccio. They combine two Rome food favorites in one tasty bite.

We did the research. We ate the food. We drank the drinks. And now we’re writing this best of Rome food guide to prepare you for your Roman culinary adventure.

In other words, these are the 25 things you need to eat and drink when you visit Rome:

Roman Pasta – The Holy Quadrinity

Cacio e Pepe with Utensils at Piatto Romano in Rome
If you only eat one dish in Rome, that dish should be pasta. And by one dish, we mean four dishes. Yes, Rome is a city with four iconic pastas including Cacio e Pepe pictured here.

Rome’s Lazio region isn’t the only Italian region with unique pasta dishes. In Emilia-Romagna, fresh ribbon pastas and meaty ragus hold court while thick spaghetti-like bigoli pastas share the menu with rich risottos in inland Veneto cities like Verona. Further south in Naples, diners regularly eat rustic pastas topped with onion-laden Genovese sauce.

Serving Cacio e Pepe at Piatto Romano in Rome
Rome restaurants like Piatto Romano bring years of expertise to the table when they serve Cacio e Pepe. They also grind Madagascar black pepper and finish the iconic dish at the table.

Roman menus are the most homogeneous in all of Italy with most trattorias serving at least three of the city’s main pastas – Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, Amatriciana and Gricia. Though these pastas have all achieved global fame, they remain as popular as ever in Rome.

Each one of Rome’s iconic pastas is a celebration of culinary simplicity and precision. Done well, these creamy, flavorful, tomatoey, porky, cheesy pastas can be life changing.

1. Cacio e Pepe

Eating Pasta at Piatto Romano in Rome
We can make great Cacio e Pepe at home but there’s nothing like eating it in Rome.

Cacio e Pepe translates to cheese and pepper and that’s exactly what’s in Rome’s most famous pasta. Besides black pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese, the only other Cacio e Pepe ingredients are pasta and salt. In Rome, thick, fresh, spaghetti-like strands of tonnarelli marry the dreamy mix together like nowhere else.

Don’t underestimate Cacio e Pepe based on its short list of ingredients found in every Italian kitchen. The combination of freshly ground black pepper and salty Pecorino Romano is celebration of local ingredients that cooks have ‘on hand’. It’s a masterpiece of kitchen craftsmanship where starchy pasta water, salty pecorino and earthy pepper combine to make a dish that’s better than sum of its parts.

Where to Eat Cacio e Pepe in Rome
Rome is a big city and you’ll find fine pasta throughout the city. We’ve eaten excellent pasta dishes at both Roscioli Salumeria and Piatto Romano as well as at a pasta stall in Rome’s Testaccio market

2. Carbonara

La Carbonara at Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina in Rome.jpg
We asked several Roman locals where to eat Carbonara and they all recommended Roscioli Salumeria. We understood after we ate this decadent serving of La Carbonara made with crispy pork cheek, three peppers, artisan eggs and Pecorino Romano cheese.

The origin of Pasta Carbonara is much disputed. Did it originate with coal workers who ate the eggy pasta? Was the name inspired by black coal-like flecks of pepper that contrast the dish’s creamy, yolky sauce? Or was it inspired by the Roman curiosity over WW2 American soldiers’ penchant for bacon and eggs?

Though we’ll never be sure about its origin, we can be certain that making great Pasta Carbonara is an art. The richness of the dish’s golden sauce comes solely from a combination of egg yolks, fatty guanciale pork fat, starchy pasta water and salty, sheepy Pecorino Romano cheese.

While some heretics add heavy cream for good measure, the trick is to emulsify eggs yolks without letting them break. Expert chefs at Rome’s best restaurants do this well.

Where to Eat Carbonara in Rome
See Cacio e Pepe above.

3. Amatriciana

Amatrciana at Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina in Rome
We didn’t just eat Carbonara at Roscioli Salumeria. We also ate this flavorful Amatriciana featuring tomatoes from Campagna, crispy pork cheek and Pecorino Romano cheese.

Hailing from the outer Lazio village of Amatrice east of Rome, Pasta Amatriciana unites tomatoes with guanciale. It’s also the answer to how to take something good – Pasta alla Gricia (see below) – and make it better.

A great Amatriciana sauce is all about flavor. In this dish, rich, umami-filled, gamey, slightly caramelized pork fat receives a sweet, acidic kick from tomato sauce and (occasionally) onions.

We enjoyed Amatriciana with two different pastas during our most recent visit to Rome. We ate the dish with mezze manica, a slightly smaller version of rigatoni, at Salumeria Roscioli and with spaghetti at Piatto Romano in Testaccio.

Where to Eat Amatriciana in Rome
See Cacio e Pepe above.

4. Gricia

Maccheroncini Amatriciana with Fork at Mercato di Testaccio in Rome
Roman pastas don’t have to be be fancy to taste good. We used a plastic fork to eat Pasta alla Gricia at Altro Pasta & Vino in the Mercato di Testaccio. Ingredients included maccheroncini pasta, chewy and slightly crispy guanciale. The pasta, topped with Pecorino Romano, did not include tomatoes, onion, garlic or olive oil.

Dishes like Gricia first made their appearance in the Roman pasta ouvre in the 1300s. We’d like to think that tomatoes grew in Italian fields filled with grazing unicorns back in the day; however, history reveals that neither tomatoes nor unicorns existed in Italy prior to the Columbian expansion.

There are no onions in Gricia, no garlic and, obviously, no tomatoes. Gricia is just guanciale, pepper and pasta. Yes, it’s topped with grated Pecorino Romano, but the cheese, unlike in Cacio e Pepe, is a last minute finish to the dish as opposed to a key ingredient.

In Gricia, starchy, salty pasta water combines with the rendered pork fat to create a saucy emulsion. Its simple medley of flavors is the pasta equivalent of a bacon sandwich and doesn’t work unless the pasta and the pork are of top quality. Fortunately there’s plenty of great pasta and pork in Rome.

Where to Eat Gricia in Rome
See Cacio e Pepe above.

Roman Pizza

Pizza in Taglio Display at Pizzarium in Rome
The toppings at Pizzarium Bonci change all day long. This was the selection on offer during our evening visit.

Proving that not all pizza is created equally, pizza in Rome is its own thing. Unlike supple, round Neapolitan pies and ginormous New York slices, Roman pizza comes in all shapes and sizes.

Most people prefer one type of pizza over the others. While we rarely meet (and eat!) a pizza we don’t like, we fall into the Naples camp. However, just to make sure, we ate a lot of pizza in Rome just to be sure.

When you take your own personal Rome pizza tour, be sure to try both Pizza al Taglio and Pizza Romano. Keep reading for a description of each.

5. Pizza al Taglio

Pizza in Taglio Slices at Pizzarium in Rome
Gabriele Bonci elevated the culinary status of Pizza al Taglio when he opened Pizzarium in 2003. The casual pizzeria’s fame soared after being featured on Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover in 2011.

A Rome cheap eats favorite and a great snack to eat on the go, Pizza al Taglio reminds us of loaded focaccia. You won’t have to look hard to find these rectangular slices in Rome. Shops and stalls sell Pizza al Taglio all over the city.

Pizza al Taglio literally translates to sliced pizza. This Roman style of thick square pizza is always sliced and often served by weight. Typical toppings include tomatoes, salumi, herbs and all sorts of vegetables.

Pro Tip
While some vendors sell Pizza al Taglio for a fixed price, most calculate the price based on weight. Since Italy, like the rest of the European Union, uses the metric system, the listed price is typically per kilogram.

6. Pizza Romano

Pizza Romano at Pizzeria Ostiense in Rome
We ate this cracker-thin Diavola pizza at Pizzeria Ostiense in Rome. Located near our apartment, the friendly pizzeria served us tasty pies for a fair price.

Pizza Romana, or Roman-style pizza, is cracker thin, crispy and crunchy. In many ways, it’s the exact opposite of the best Neapolitan pizza which is both supple and soft. The two pizza types meet in the middle when it comes to toppings like cheese, artichokes and sausage since both Rome and Naples have ready access to some of the best food products in the world,

Plan to sit down when you eat Pizza Romana in Rome. You’ll want to start your meal with a Suppli or another fried treat before you dig into your big, round, individual pie. Be sure to order a jug of wine since Rome is in Italy after all.

Where to Eat Pizza Romano in Rome
Ai Marmi, Li Rioni a Santiquattro, Pizzeria Baffetto, and Pizzeria da Remo

Classic Roman Dishes

Pasta and Wine at Piatto Romano in Rome
Move over pasta. You’re not the only game in town when it comes to great restaurant food in Rome.

It would be super easy to just eat pasta and pizza in Rome but that would be a shame. Roman restaurants offer great primi (appetizer) and secondi (main courses) options that don’t involve either noodles or crust.

When you’re ready to dip your toes into the deep water of traditional Roman cuisine, we recommend starting with the following classic dishes:

7. Carciofi alla Giudìa

Carciofi alla Giudìa on Plate at Mercato di Testaccio in Rome
We ate this picture-perfect Carciofi alla Giudìa at Mercato di Testaccio.

Named after Roman Jews who invented the dish in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto, the Carciofi alla Giudìa is a deep-fried artichoke that almost looks too pretty to eat. But eating the seasoned thistle flower is the thing to do when the opportunity arises.

Roman chefs prepare Carciofi alla Giudìa with artichokes grown near the city. Although peak artichoke season in the region is from February to April, we’ve had no problem finding the crispy classic in autumn months.

Where to Eat Carciofi alla Giudìa in Rome
Da Enzo, Flavio al Velavevodetto, La Matricianella, Nonna Betta and Ristorante Piperno

8. Trippa alla Romana

Trippa alla Romana at Piatto Romana in Rome
We ate this Trippa alla Romana at Piatto Romano as a secondi. The dish’s tangy tomato sauce enhanced the flavor of the slow-cooked offal.

Tripe is one of those foods that most people either love or hate. Well, to be clear, most people are afraid to eat tripe since they can’t ‘stomach’ the idea of eating the stomach lining from a cow, pig or sheep. We urge you to conquer this fear when you dine in Rome. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on one of the most classic of Roman dishes.

Tripa alla Romana is a dish of poverty that peasants ate back in the day when they couldn’t afford better cuts of meat. To compensate for the tripe’s chewy texture, they cooked the offal low and slow in a tangy tomato sauce laden with onion, garlic and the occasional red pepper flake.

Grated cheese completes Trippa alla Romana. Since it’s a Roman dish, the cheese of choice is Pecorino Romano. Any other cheese would just be wrong.

9. Saltimbocca alla Romana

Saltimbocca alla Romana at Piperno in Rome
We ate this colorful Saltimbocca alla Romana as a secondi at Ristorante Piperno during our first trip to Rome.

Saltimbocca literally translaes to jump in the mouth and that’s precisely what we want this dish to do whenever it hits our table. In Rome, the dish is called Saltimbocca alla Romana and it’s a show stopper.

Chefs have been wrapping pounded veal in prosciutto and sage and then cooking it in a wine and butter sauce for more than a century. The combination of salty prosciutto and aromatic sage elevates the veal while the buttery wine sauce makes it sing.

Where to Eat Saltimbocca alla Romana in Rome
Restaurants like Ristorante Piperno and Trattoria Al Moro

Rome Cheap Eats and Street Food

Meatball Trapizzino at Trapizzino in Rome
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat well in Rome. This Meatball Trapizzino was one of the best things we ate during our most recent visit.

Pizza may be Rome’s cheap eats favorite, but the city has a plethora of other tasty treats for bargain hunters, junk food junkies and street food devotees. If you fit into any or all of these categories, we recommend that you hit the ground running in Rome by eating the following:

10. Suppli

Suppli at Trapizzino in Rome
Filled with guanciale, Pecorino Romano cheese, peppers and rice, this ooey gooey morsel at Trapizzino was our first Suppli in Rome but not our last. We ate more at Pizzarium and Pizza Romano.

Friggitorias are happy places in Italy for those who like to snack on fried street food. In Naples, friggitorias sell fried pasta balls called Frittatina. Sicilian friggitorias sell fried rice balls called Arancini. But what’s the specialty at Rome’s friggitorias?? That answer is an easy one – Suppli.

At first glance, a Suppli looks like an Arancini. The similarities don’t stop with appearance as both croquette-shaped treats have rice inside. However, the Suppli has two extra bits – gooey cheese and tomato sauce.

Pro Tip
Don’t feel left out if you’re not a street food eater. You can also eat a Suppli or two at Rome’s pizzerias and neighborhood markets.

Where to Eat Suppli in Rome
Pizzarium Bonci and Trapizzino

11. Trapizzino

Stewed Pork Trapizzino at Trapizzino in Rome
Our Padellaccia di Maiale Trapizzino runneth over with slow-cooked pork until we ate it.

Many of Rome’s most popular foods have long and storied histories. The Trapizzino is not one of those foods. Invented by Roman pizzaiolo Stefano Callegari in 2008, the Trapizzino is a relative baby… but don’t count it out.

A hybrid of two local food favorites (Roman pizza and tramezzino sandwiches), Callegari’s culinary creation is a pizza dough cone stuffed with savory Roman food typically served on a plate. Its shape makes it uniquely portable while its ingredients attract crowds at Trapizzino’s half dozen locations around Rome and beyond.

Familiar fillings include Trippa alla Romana (Roman Tripe), Parmigiana di Melanzane (Eggplant Parmigana) and Polpetta al Sugo (Meatballs in Tomato Sauce). Other fillings like Ethiopian Zighni flavored with Berberé spice are equally enjoyable.

Where to Eat a Trapizzino in Rome
Trapizzino

12. Tramezzino

Tramezzino at Mercato di Testaccio in Rome
We at this Tramezzino with salmon, cheese and spinach at Mercato di Testaccio. Its colors reminded us of the Italian flag.

Although the Tramezzino was invented more than 400 miles away in Turin, the triangular, crust-free sandwich is easy to find at cafes and bars in Rome. Typical fillings include tuna, egg salad and salumi.

This Roman cheap eat is a great mid-morning or late afternoon snack between meals and can be paired with either coffee or beer. It’s a particularly good option for vegetarians who can order Tramezzini filled with olives or cheese.

Where to Eat Tramezzini in Rome
Markets, Cafes and Snack Shops

13. Porchetta

Slicing Porchetta at Mercato di Testaccio in Rome
We couldn’t resist eating this Porchetta at Da Teo in the Mercato di Testaccio. It was slow cooked for five hours and seasoned with black pepper, rosemary and thyme.

A specialty food around the world, Porchetta is a readily available in Rome at food markets and sandwich shops. Romans can even find Porchetta at street stalls and festivals.

This savory pork product rarely disappoints with its moist, herbaceous meat and crispy skin. Typical herbs include fennel, garlic and rosemary. Salt and pepper add the finishing touch.

Sliced Porchetta at Mercato di Testaccio in Rome
We chose to eat these flavorful Porchetta slices with a fork instead of in a sandwich.

In many ways, Porchetta sandwiches remind us of roast pork sandwiches we’ve eaten in our home city of Philadelphia. We consider that sandwich to be one of the best sandwiches in America. The connection makes sense considering that Philadelphia has a large number of residents with Italian heritage.

Where to Eat Porchetta in Rome
Er Buchetto, I Porchettoni and Il Norcino Bernabei

14. Fiori Di Zucca Fritti

Fiori Di Zucca Fritti at Piatto Romano in Rome
This Fiori di Zucca looked so simple during our lunch at Piatto Romano.

Naples may be the Italian hub for fried food, but Rome leads the pack when it comes to frying zucchini blossoms know as fiori di zucca.

Roman chefs follow several steps to to make Fiori Di Zucca Fritti. They prepare batter, separate zucchini flowers and dice Provatura cheese. And that’s before anything hits the frying pan.

Inside Fiori Di Zucca Fritti Piatto Romano in Rome
Cutting this Fiorio di Zucca open revealed a melange of zucchini flowers, Provatura cheese and a hint of anchovy.

If you see Fiori Di Zucca Fritti on a Rome menu, order it. Since this delicacy isn’t available all year long, it’s a seasonal treat both for locals and travelers. Plus, ordering it is a heck of a lot easier than making this particular Roman food favorite from scratch.

Where to Eat Fiori Di Zucca Fritti in Rome
Restaurants like Piatto Romano

Local Roman Products

Tomatoes at Mercato di Testaccio in Rome
Eating healthy food in Rome is easy due to the availability of fresh, seasonal produce at the city’s neighborhood markets.

Shopping for local products in Rome is the opposite of boring. Shoppers can stock up at centrally located Campo de’ Fiori or at neighborhood markets like Testaccio and Trionfale.

However, we implore you not to skip local shops and supermarkets. You’ll be surprised at the quality and variety of products at chains like Conad and Coop. Plus, as a bonus, they sell wine and other potent potables.

Regardless of where you shop in Rome, be sure to look for the following local products:

15. Cured Meat

Cured Meat Plate at Taverna Volpetti in Rome
We rarely pass on charcuterie in Rome. Our aperitvo platter at Taverna Volpetti was topped with a selection of cured meats that included Prosciutto di Norcia, Finocchiona and Wild Boar Salumi.

Italians have been eating salting and eating pork for centuries and it shows. The quality of cured pork throughout the country is second to no other country, though France, Portugal and Spain give the boot a run for its meaty money.

As as result, carnivores have an abundance of options when it comes to planning an aperitivo session in Rome. This is a city where it’s entirely possible to order a a ‘best of’ board topped with fennel-filled Finocchiona from Tuscany, lush Soppressata from Calabria and pistachio-prodded Mortadella from Bologna.

Where to Buy Cured Meat in Rome
Salumerias and Markets

16. Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano Cheese
Deceptively simple in appearance, Pecorino Romano is both a powerhouse cheese and an important Roman ingredient.

Pecorino Romano, Rome’s salty sheep milk cheese, is hard to miss in the Eternal City. Not only is it an integral ingredient in Amatriciana, Carbonara, Gricia pastas and the most important item in Cacio e Pepe, but Romans also grate aged Pecorino over dishes like Trippe alla Romana and occasionally stuff it inside Suppli.

This prevalence is nothing new or trendy. Historians trace Roman production of Pecorino Romano back two millennia. Although Sardinian producers like Locatelli sell much of the Pecorino eaten in the United States, cheesemakers like Fulvi sell a DOP version available throughout the world.

Where to Buy Pecorino Romano in Rome
Specialty Shops and Markets

Roman Desserts

Inside Jewish Pizza at Pasticceria Boccione in Rome
Not all of Rome’s food favorites are savory. Be sure to save room for dessert!

Many of the most famous Italian pastries have origins in Naples and Sicily while Tiramisu hails from Treviso in northeastern Italy. Then there’s the croissant-like Cornetto with roots in Vienna. Though it’s easy to find these desserts and more in Rome, we prefer to spend our calories on the city’s local creations.

The following are our favorite Roman sweet treats and the ones you shouldn’t miss:

17. Pizza Ebraica

Jewish Pizza at Pasticceria Boccione in Rome
Hot out of the oven, this Pizza Ebraica didn’t stay in our hands long. We quickly ate half of the dense, heavy pastry and saved the rest for breakfast the next day.

Pizza fans have their own dessert in Rome. Don’t worry – it doesn’t involve cheese, meat or herbs. Instead, Pizza Ebraica, i.e. Jewish Pizza, gets its flavors from toasted raisins, nuts and colorful candied fruit.

After tasting Pizza Ebraica at Pasticceria il Boccione during our first trip to Rome, we were obsessed to eat it again during our most recent Rome food adventure. The Jewish Ghetto bakery was finally open on our third try, so we bought a ‘pie’ big enough for a delightful snack and breakfast the next day. Be warned – The bakery ladies will likely ask you to throw a euro in the Tzedakah cup – something we did, gladly.

Both savory and sweet, Pizza Ebraica was just as good as we remembered and maybe even better. Simultaneously sweet and savory, the hard, crunchy dessert reminds us of mandel bread on steroids

Where to Eat Jewish Pizza in Rome
Pasticceria Boccione

18. Gelato

Gelato at Come il Latte in Rome
Eating gelato in Rome is a daily requirement. We shared this double cone at Come il Latte.

When it comes to gelato, the competition in Rome is fierce. For gelato aficionados like us, Rome gelato is on another level compared to Italian cities like Florence, Naples, Venice and Verona. Bologna is a possible exception with gelato that rivals Rome’s sweet creations.

Gelato Selife in Rome in Rome
Eating gelato is one of our favorite things to do in Rome.

Where to Eat Gelato in Rome
Gelaterias including Come Il Latte, FataMorgana Gelateria and Gelateria del Teatro

19. Maritozzo

Maritozzo and Coffee at Roscioli Caffe Pasticceria Maritozzo
We kickstarted a busy day with a Maritozzo and coffee at Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria. The sugar and caffein combination got us going like a charm.

A Maritozzo is essentially a brioche bun split down the middle and stuffed with whipped cream. What could be better than that? To us, the origin story is what makes this pastry special.

A local fixture for centuries, the Maritozzo became part of Roman lore in the 19th century when suitors would present buns filled with cream… and a ring… to their intendeds in early March. Not coincidentally, the word maritozzo doubles as slang for husband.

Pro Tip
Don’t skip eating a Maritozzo if you’re not a dessert fan. Instead, order a savory Maritozzo filled with cod or anchovies instead of sweet cream.

Where to Eat Maritozzi in Rome
Pasticcerias and Caffès including Il Maritozzaro and Roscioli Caffè

20. Torta Ricotta e Visciole

Torta Ricotta e Visciole at Piatto Romano in Rome
This Torta Ricotta e Vicciole at Piatto Romano tickled our tastebuds with its sour cherry and sweet ricotta layers.

Pizza Ebraica isn’t the only Roman dessert with Jewish roots. The Torta Ricotta e Visciole, i.e. Ricotta and Sour Cherry Cake, is a second decadent delight with ties to the city’s Jewish Ghetto.

This cake combines sweet sheep’s milk ricotta and sour black cherries to create a dessert that’s satisfyingly sweet without being cloying. Plus, it pairs well with Roman after-dinner drinks like Amaro and Sambuca.

Where to Eat Torta Ricotta e Visciole in Rome
Pasticceria Boccione and Piatto Romano

21. Ciambelline al Vino

Dipping Ciambelline al Vino at Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina in Rome
Dipping Ciambelline al Vino into chocolate sauce was half the fun at Roscioli Salumeria. The other half was eating the sugary, wine-filled, ring-shaped cookies.

While Florentines enjoy eating Cantuccini with Vin Santo, Romans don’t mess around with their cookies. Instead, they put the wine into their recipe along with pantry ingredients like flour, sugar and olive oil. The result are little ‘wine donuts’ called Ciambelline al Vino.

Most Ciambelline al Vino recipes are flexible and can incorporate either white or red wine. Eating them is also flexible. While locals often dip the round cookies into wine, we dipped ours into chocolate sauce while enjoying glasses of wine – a true wine win.

Where to Eat Ciambelline al Vino in Rome
Roscioli Salumeria

Roman Drinks

Flat White at Barnum Roma in Rome
Proving that specialty coffee is no loner a novelty in Italy, we drank this excellent flat white at Barnum Roma.

Eating and drinking are intertwined in Rome from morning until night. This is a city where wine is not much more expensive than water and both flow freely at restaurants throughout the city.

Pro Tip
Order a bottle of water, either still or sparkling, when you dine at restaurants in Rome. Choose frizzante if you’re partial to fizzy water, leggiermente if you’re looking for barely fizzy water or naturale if you prefer flat water. We order frizzante.

Locals typically start their day by ordering coffee with their morning pastry before switching to wine and other libations as the day progresses. While some people order a Negroni or Spritz to go with their aperitivo, many stick to wine produced throughout Italy and locally in Lazio. And then there’s craft beer and digestifs.

Since these drinks are key components of la bella vita (the good life), you’ll want to try all of them during your time in Rome.

22. Coffee

Cappuccino at Tram Depot in Rome
Drinking cappuccinos is one of favorite things to do in Rome. We drank this one at Tram Depot near Mercato di Testaccio.

Italian coffee culture is legendary for its unwritten rules involving how and what to order. These rules even stipulate that it’s a no-no to order milky drinks like cappuccinos after 11 am. Whether or not you follow these rules is up to you.

As for us, drinking little cups of caffè (i.e. espresso) at traditional cafes isn’t really our thing. We prefer drinking flat whites and pour overs at specialty coffee shops. Don’t get us wrong – we’ll happily drink old school Italian espressos in a pinch.

Finding the best coffee in Rome was a bit of a passion project for us. Check back soon for our guide to Rome’s burgeoning specialty coffee scene.

Where to Drink Coffee in Rome
Local Caffès as well as Specialty Coffee Shops like Barnum, Faro and Tram Depot

23. Wine

Wine at Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina in Rome
We drank this bottle of local wine during our lunch at Roscioli Salumeria.

We like to drink the best local wine whenever we visit Italy. Not only does this approach provide a window into the region’s food scene, but it also provides us with tremendous wine values.

Following this approach, we were delighted to drink a bottle of locally produced Cesanese di Olevano Romano during our lunch at Roscioli Salumeria. Despite its value price, the rustic red provided a robust counterpart to our classic pasta dishes and motivated us to further explore the wines of Lazio.

Wine Bottles at Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina in Rome
We welcomed guidance from Roscioli’s sommelier. The number of choices on the salumeria’s wine menu is mind-numbingly extensive.

We later found out that Roscioli has more than 60,000 (!) bottles of wine in its inventory. Varietals expand beyond Lazio with wines from regions like Piedmont, Sicily, Tuscany and the Veneto on the wine list. But, if you’re like us, you’ll want to order a local wine.

Now that we’re home, we’re continuing our wine education via the Roscioli Italian Wine Club. We’re excited to get organic Italian wine delivered to our home along with tasting notes and tips.

Update: We recently received our first box of wine in the mail. Check back soon for our review of the Roscioli Italian Wine Club experience.

Where to Drink Wine in Rome
Enotecas and Restaurants including but not limited to Roscioli Salumeria

24. Craft Beer

Craft Beer Taps at Be.Re in Rome
Bars like Be.Re in Rome’s Pratti neighborhood are happy places for craft beer enthusiasts and thirsty travelers.

During our first trip to Rome, we were satisfied to drink Moretti and Peroni with our pasta and pizza. However, we’ve since become more particular with our beer drinking choices.

Luckily, Rome’s beer scene has evolved over the years to include a healthy number of independent brewers and craft beer bars. Piemonte Region brewer Baladin opened the brewpub Open Baladin in 2009, setting a high ‘bar’ for other brewers that followed. Even Scotland’s BrewDog has a Roman outpost near the Colosseum.

Craft Beer at Trapizzino in Rome
Fact: Roman pizza and trapizzinos taste better with craft beer.

Bars and breweries aren’t the only venues that sell craft beer in Rome. We shared a bottle of Duchessa beer produced in Rome’s Borgo neighborhood during our dinner at Trapizzino.

Where to Drink Craft Beer in Rome
Casual Eateries like Trapizzino and Craft Beer Bars like Open Baladin

25. Digestifs

Digestif at Piatto Romano in Rome
Drinking a Digestif is the civilized way to end a meal in Rome. We ended our Piatto Romano lunch by drinking glasses of house-made herbal liqueur.

Rome is a city where the meal doesn’t end when the food is gone. As opposed to dashing out the door, diners linger while sipping an espresso or savoring a stronger libation.

Digestifs are a great after dinner drink option in Rome. Playing a double role, these drinks facilitate the digestive process while providing a tasty kick. Popular options include bitter amari, herbaceous bittters and sweet liqueurs.

Since Sambuca is local to Rome, we recommend trying a shot of this liqueur made with anise seeds. Amalfi’s Limoncello and Milan’s Fernet Branca are also solid options.

Where to Drink Digestifs in Rome
Enotecas and Restaurants

Rome Quick Facts

St. Peters Basilica in Rome
There’s no place like Rome except for the Eternal City itself.
  • Italy
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  • Euro
  • Italian
  • Service Typically Included as Coperto

Plan Your Rome Stay

Orange Building with Street Art in Rome
Some of the best site in Rome are located in Roman neighborhoods.
  • Click here to find a great Rome hotel deal.
  • Click here to find an Airbnb in Rome with a kitchen.

Important Update
Some businesses may revise their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Others may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information and make advance reservations where possible.

Hungry for More Food in Italy?

Check out our food guides for Bologna, Modena, Naples, Parma, Verona and Venice.

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About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

Disclosure

We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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Sarah

Saturday 30th of January 2021

With regards to carbonara, how do you emulsify an egg without breaking the yolk?

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saturday 30th of January 2021

When we speak about an egg breaking what we mean is the breaking of the proteins under heat like the way eggs break from liquid to solid when they're scrambled. In carbonara, the art is heating the yolks to a viscous sauce with body (over heat) and not scrambling the eggs at the same time.

Thanks for reading.