Skip to Content

This article contains affiliate links. We may receive compensation if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

The Best Rome Street Food Tour

Suppli in Wrapper at Fiore in Rome
Image: ©2foodtrippers

Our hearts fluttered with aniticpation as we crossed the winding Tiber River and approached the Portico D’ottavia, an ancient Rome structure that operated as a fish market for centuries. It was golden hour – just the right time to see the all intricate cracks, bricks and recessed lettering on this nearly 2,000 year old structure.

Today, its ruins are yet another landmark in a city center filled with landmarks. But this landmark is special with flaws reflecting a tumultuous human history of community, governance and repression. It’s located in the Jewish Ghetto, a living neighborhood where you can still feel remnants of Rome’s formerly large and vibrant Jewish community. And, with that tumultuous history, comes a food history that’s the root of Roman street food

We first encountered the ancient portico when we visited Rome in 2009. We still remember the scores of bishops in town for a funeral during that trip and how it rained so hard that we feared the city would float away.

The phrase “ghetto in the ghetto” entered our vocabulary during a dinner near the portico when we were relegated to the restaurant’s tourist-filled ‘Siberia’ during an otherwise excellent meal. Just as memorable – we also discovered the joys of eating sweet Jewish pizza and savory carcofi alla giuda (i.e. fried artichokes).

Cod Fritters and Wine at Filetti di Baccala in Rome
We’d love to take credit for pairing these filetto di baccala with white wine but that credit goes to our Rome street food tour guide. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Ironically, we didn’t eat our first supplì, Rome’s oblong mozzarella and sauce-filled answer to the arancini, until years later. Needless to say, that first supplì wasn’t our last supplì. Now, we eat the breaded and fried risotto balls every time we return to Rome.

More than a decade later, our love for the city’s street food keeps growing.

Jewish Ghetto & Historic Center Food Tour With Devour Tours

Rome Street Food Tour Guide
Tour guide Giulia filled our minds with knowledge and our bellies with street food during our Devour Rome street food tour. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

It’s easy to find and eat street food in Rome – the stuff is sold everywhere from pizzerias to neighborhood food markets. However, there’s something special about eating Roman street food with a local who knows the best spots.

The folks at Devour Tours clearly had this in mind when they developed their Jewish Ghetto & Historic Center Food Tour. It starts in the Jewish Ghetto and meanders through nearby neighborhoods with curated stops along the way.

Owners at Fiore in Rome
Brothers Luca and Sasy D’elia Fiorenzano greeted us warmly and fed us well during our Rome street food tour. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We’re proud to partner with Devour Tours. The company is uncompromising when it comes to selecting family-run food spots that have been favorited by generations of locals. We’ve previously taken Devour tours in Barcelona, Lisbon and Paris. They were all excellent.

We expected to eat well during this Rome street food tour and we weren’t disappointed. As a bonus, the tour gave us the opportunity to chat with passionate Romans who help make Italy’s capital one of the best food cities in both Italy and the world.

Jewish Ghetto – History Sets The Stage

Portico of Octavia in Rome Jewish Ghetto
Despited its crumbling status, the Portico D’ottavia stands proudly in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Our Rome street food tour started at the historic Portico D’ottavia.

Constructed as a temple in 146 BC and later repurposed as a fish market during the Middle Ages, it was an auspicious starting point. We were guided by Giulia, a Rome native whose passion for Roman food runs deep.

She set the tone with her explanation about how Jews were segregated in the Ghetto in 1555 at the decree of Pope Paul IV and how he also limited their activities to specific professions. One of those professions was selling fried food – something Jews have been doing in the district for centuries.

Tempio Maggiore di Roma - Great Synogogue of Rome
The Tempio di Maggiore di Roma, also known as the Great Synagogue of Rome, is the center of Rome’s Jewish community. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

For over 300 years, Jews in the ghetto weren’t allowed to own property and had to adhere to a nightly curfew. They also had to get creative with food to survive.

Giulia shared this history with us as we strolled along Rome’s black cobblestone streets past the city’s most famous synagogue. Those same sidewalks now have brass stumbling stones, each designating the final residence of a Jew who was deported during the Holocaust.

Stumbling Stones in Rome Jewish Ghetto
We paused to honor these stumbling stones when we encountered them during our Rome street food tour. The brass stones serve as stark reminders of Roman Jews who were deported to Auschwitz during World War II. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Twelve thousand Jews, give or take, lived in Rome before World War II. Approximately 1,800 Jews, including more than 1,000 Jews in the ghetto, were deported by the Nazis. While it’s estimated that 10,000 Roman Jews outlasted the nazis, only fifteen men and one woman deported from the ghetto survived deportation.

Since our tour was on a Friday evening (i.e. the Jewish Sabbath), the ghetto wasn’t flowing with people. Some businesses were closed but we still found plenty of street food to taste including carciofi alla giudia. Though they originated in the ghetto, these fried Jewish artichokes have a become a cuisine staple throughout the eternal city.

Stop 1 – Carciofi Alla Giudia At Bona Pizza Romana In Teglia

Carciofi alla Giudia at Bona in Rome
Carciofi alla giuda have become legendary in Roman cuisine. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Eating carciofi alla giudia (i.e. Jewish style artichokes) in the Jewish ghetto is a must for anybody who visits Rome. Bona Pizza Romana In Teglia, located just steps from the Portico D’ottavia, serves a great version with golden crispy fried leaves covering a pleasing, savory heart.

While this barebones kosher pizzeria specializes in Roman-style pizza sold by the slice, it also sells textbook carciofi alla giudia. They do this all year by double frying each thistle flower in olive oil (not EVOO!) until it’s GBD – golden brown and delicious.

Pro Tip
Plan your tour from February to April if you want to taste these golden beauties in peak season.

Stop 2 – Filetto di Baccalà at Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara

Filetti di Baccala Shop in Rome
Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara isn’t fancy and doesn’t have an extensive menu. That’s okay. Everybody knows to eat filetti di baccala here. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We developed an appreciation for salt cod during our month-long stint in Naples where we learned that it was literally the fish that changed the world centuries ago. However, this appreciation has waned since we now live in a city that serves salt cod practically everywhere.

Color us surprised to rediscover the joys of eating salt cod the best way possible – breaded, fried, wrapped in paper and served with crisp white wine.

Cod Fritter at Filetti di Baccala in Rome
Not surprisingly, the cooks at Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara are pros at frying salt cod fillets. They do it all day every day. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Located in the shadow of the charming Santa Barbara church, Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara is a classic Rome joint that serves one thing and one thing only. That thing isn’t a mystery. The words ‘Filetti di Baccala’ are emblazoned on its wall and the aroma of fried cod permeates the air.

Guilia shared that the Dar Filettaro crew washes its salt cod for exactly 18 hours before frying it up using a secret recipe. Unfortunately, she didn’t share the recipe since, as noted, it’s a secret.

Stop 3 – Pizza Bianca and Pizza Rossa at Forno Campo di Fiori

Outside Campo Campo de Fiori in Rome
Forno Campo de’ Fiori is a fixture on Rome’s iconic Campo de’ Fiori square. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Most stops on our Rome Street Food Tour were hidden gems. Forno Campo de’ Fiori wasn’t one of them. All Romans know that this shop sells two of the city’s greatest breads – pizza bianca and pizza rosa.

Crowds flock to the famous bakery located on the edge of the Campo de’ Fiori market to buy the two legendary flat breads. Some also buy Italian sweet treats while they’re there.

A good number of customers prefer Forno Campo de’ Fiori’s pizza bianca, simple white focaccia-like breads flavored simply with olive oil, that can be stuffed with fillings. Others prefer the bakery’s pizza rossa topped with tomato sauce.

As for us, we like them both.

Stop 4 – Birra Artigianale at Johnny’s Off License

Drinking craft beer in Italy is nothing new. We’ve done it before in cities like Bologna, Trento and Verona. But holy moly! Johnny’s Off License has more Italian beer on its shelves than we imagined possible plus additional European brews for good measure.

Stopping at this local bottle shop was well timed. Not only did we get a much needed break from walking on cobblestones, but we also sated our thirst with Italian craft beers chosen just for us.

Craft Beer at Johnnys Off License in Rome
The Italian craft beer scene is both varied and extensive. These two beers represent the tip of the hoppy iceberg. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Daryl drank an AntiKorpo pilsner brewed in Friuli. Mindi’s Jungle Juice saison was local to Rome.

While we agreed to disagree about which beer was better, we concurred that both beers were great but would be even better with a supplì or two.

Stop 5 – Supplì (Cheesy Rice Ball) and Graffe (Donut) at Fiore

Suppli at Fiore in Rome
Fiore served us this excellent supplì. It’s one of Italy’s tastiest street foods. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

It didn’t take long for our supplì wish to be granted. In fact, the two supplì we ate at Fiore were two of the best we’ve ever eaten.

For the uninitiated, Rome’s supplì is similar to Sicily’s arancini but better. Both are fried rice balls but Rome’s version has two bonus bits – ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese and tangy tomato sauce.

Graffe at Fiore in Rome
This donut, called a graffe, proves that not all Italian fried treats are savory. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We shouldn’t have been surprised by the quality of Fiore’s supplì since the family that operates this Rome snack shop hails from Naples, an Italian mecca for fried Italian snacks.

We also tried a graffe, a sugar-coated donut named after Austria’s krapfen. Just like other global donuts we’ve eaten, this fried sweet treat was finger-licking good.

Stop 6 – Porchetta Sandwich at Porchetteria La Rinascita

Slicing Porchetta at Porchetteria in Rome
Serving porchetta is serious business at Porchetteria La Rinascita. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You might be thinking that we were starting to get full at this point and you’d be right. But then porchetta happened.

A specialty food around the world, porchetta is street food in Rome. The herbaceous porky meat is made by roasting a pig, rolled with a special herb and spice mixture, for hours. The finished roast pork is then sliced to order.

Porchetta Sandwich at Porchetteria in Rome
This porchetta sandwich would typically be enough for a quick meal in Rome. It was just one of multiple foods we ate during our Rome street food tour. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Porchetteria La Rinascita sources whole pigs from Ariccia and roasts them with rosemary, salt and black pepper. The Rome cheap eats spot serves the Italian food favorite in a variety of savory sandwiches. We shared a simple, unadorned Il Classico sandwich during our tour.

Unlike some dry versions of porchetta we’ve previously encountered, Porchetteria La Rinascita’s mix of succulent meat and crispy bits was plump and juicy with just the right amount of fat. In fact, our sandwich didn’t need any extra ingredients or condiments to taste great.

Stop 7 – Gelato at Gelateria del Teatro

Gelateria del Teatro in Rome
Gelateria del Teatro was the final stop of our Rome street food tour. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We suspect that there’s an unwritten rule that every Rome food tour should end with gelato. This tour was no exception since it ended with gelato cones at Gelateria del Teatro – one of our favorite Rome gelato shops.

Gelato Cone at Gelateria del Teatro in Rome
This gelato cone ended our Rome street food tour on a sweet note. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Daryl was thrilled to find lavender & white peach on the menu since he has fond memories of eating the seasonal flavor two years earlier. The same goes for Mindi and her repeat flavor choices – orange sacher torte and cheese & cherry.

Food memories, like all memories, can be disappointing. Luckily, our memories of Gelateria del Teatro’s gelato held up. Our portable cones were a fitting end to a tour filled with a variety of Rome street food favorites.

Tour Logistics

Campo Fiore Statue in Rome
We encountered this statue of Giordano Bruno during our Rome street food tour. Ettore Ferrari’s haunting statue is located on Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Booking a Rome Street Food Tour with Devour Tours is easy to do based on the following logistics:

Tour Time and Duration

Suppli at Suppli Roma in Rome
Unlike French soldiers during the 19th century, we weren’t surprised by the center of this supplì at Fiore. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Our tour started promptly at 10:30 pm and lasted for three hours and thirty minutes.

We arrived at the meeting point in front of the Portico D’ottavia 15 minutes before the tour’s official start time. This gave us time to find our guide without feeling rushed.

The tour ended at 8:15 pm at the Piazza di San Salvatore in Lauro.

Tour Size and Accessibility

Clerk and Cake at Forno Campo di Fiori in Rome
Interacting with locals was one of the best parts of our Rome street food tour. Another best part was eating their food. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

At the time of our tour, the participant limit was twelve. Our tour had just four participants. We walked at a moderate pace during the tour and stood during most food stops.

This tour can can be modified to accommodate people with certain diets including vegetarians and vegans. You can and should address any dietary limitations prior to booking the tour.

What’s Included

Daryl Eats Pizza During Rome Street Food Tour
We were full and happy at the end of our Rome street food tour thanks to foods like this pizza rossa. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Our tour included seven food tastings. It was enough food that we didn’t need to eat dinner after the tour but not so much that we were overly full.

Be aware that some of the establishments we visited may be closed depending on the day of the week or the season. Some may permanently close. In other words, don’t be surprised if your tour includes some different food stops.

Cost and Availability

Rome Street Food Tour Scene
Night approached as our Rome street food tour ended. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

At the time of our Rome Street Food Tour, the tour cost 59€ for adults and 49€ for children between five and twelve years old. These prices are subject to change at any time.

Consider the following Devour tours if this tour doesn’t fit into your schedule. We personally experienced and enjoyed them both.

Also consider the following Devour cooking classes. We attended both and give each a big thumbs up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth it to take a Rome street food tour?

Yes! Taking a Rome street food tour provides a great way to learn about Rome and its street food history. Plus, you’ll interact with local food professionals and fellow food-focused travelers while eating tasty food.

What does a Rome street food tour cost?

Each tour company sets its own prices. The Rome street food tour we took cost 59€ at the time of our tour. Your best bet is to check tour company websites for current pricing based on your dates.

How long is a typical Rome street food tour?

Each Rome street food tour is different. The tour we took was 3.5 hours from start to finish Your best bet is to check tour company websites for details based on your trip dates.

Rome Planning Checklist

Check out our guide to eating in Italy as well as our picks for the best Italian foods and the best Italian desserts before your trip so that you don’t miss a delicious bite.

Hungry For More In Rome?

Rome Food Favorites - Social IMG
Food Favorites
Best Gelato in Rome - Social IMG
My Margherita Pizza from Above at Seu Pizza Illuminati in Rome
Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

About the Authors

Daryl and 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. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.


Article Updates
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.

We thank Devour Tours for sponsoring our Rome street food tour.

Original Publication Date: September 23, 2023

Get our free guide to eating like a local when you travel.