what to eat in rome
best roman food

Best Roman Food
11 Foods You Must Try in Rome – Local Tips

Food is a big part of our everyday life. Therefore it is one of the crucial things to research before visiting a new destination. Rome is gastronomical heaven for every food lover, and we are here to help you learn what local roman food is and which dishes in Rome you simply must try.

What to Eat in Rome?

Many would say that you must taste the culture to understand it, and we would completely agree. Italy is very famous for its exceptional gastronomy and world-famous dishes we have all heard about before. And roman food is no exception to that. A big part of every trip is the authentic dishes and local cuisine you get to taste.

So what to eat when in Rome? Well, do as the Romans do! 

We made a list of 13 roman foods you should not skip while going on your trip to Rome. These roman foods are well-loved by the locals and everyone who tries them. That’s why we are sure you will find something that makes your mouth water on our list.

What Food is Rome Famous For?

From many shapes and kinds of pasta, and unskippable gelato to some roman food you may have never heard of before. These are the foods you can not miss during your Rome visit!

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1. Pasta

Pasta is possibly the most famous Italian, as well as roman food. So, of course, it found a place on our list of what to eat in Rome. There are many pasta dishes and local recipes you can try while in Rome, but we decided to highlight two that are true staples on the roman menu. These dishes are simple yet flavor packed and guaranteed to satisfy the food lover in you.

carbonara

Pasta Carbonara

It will be surprising if you have never heard of this roman pasta dish. An authentic Roman carbonara is an incredibly creamy pasta dish with no cooking cream. It consists of only a few simple ingredients – cured pork, eggs, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese, in addition to any pasta shape you prefer.

There are many tales and theories on the origins of the carbonara pasta, but one thing is for sure. No matter how it came to be, this roman pasta dish enjoys the status of one of the most beloved Roman foods worldwide.

cacio e pepe

Pasta Cacio e Pepe

Another delicious yet straightforward roman pasta dish. Cacio e Pepe pasta has recently become a more popular item on Roman menus. Roman cousin once again relies on simplicity and richness of taste. Like many other pasta dishes, the sauce is what makes it utterly delightful.

All the ingredients are right in the name of the meal. And yes, there are only two! The sauce is made from a local sheep cheese called Cacio from the Roman countryside and black pepper.

2. Pizza al Taglio

How could we have a list called what to eat in Rome without pizza being on it?

Pizza is probably the first thing that pops into your head when you hear Italy, and you are not alone in that. But when you hear pizza slice, you may think of the American style one. Well, after you try a Roman-style pizza slice (it. Pizza al Taglio), your association will change.

In Rome, pizza al taglio is considered fast food or roman street food. It is charged by kilo based on the toppings on the slice or type of pizza. Another unusual thing for you may be that pizza slices are rectangle-shaped and not triangle. Pizza al taglio usually has a variety of flavor combinations and makes for a perfect on-the-go lunch while strolling around Rome.

3. Supplì

Continuing with the category of roman street food, suppli is another Roman food you must try while in Rome. Suppli are delicious deep-fried rice balls. The crisp breading contains creamy rice with meat and tomato sauce.

Once you bite into its center, you will find a delightful surprise – a melted, oozing piece of mozzarella cheese. You can find this Roman snack in almost every pizza takeaway place or Roman deli.

pizza al taglio x

4. Artichokes

roman food

Artichokes are a seasonal food in Rome. So if you are visiting the Eternal city in autumn, you need to try them.

There are two popular styles of preparing artichokes in Rome. The first one is called Carciofi Alla Giudea – Jewish-style artichokes you can find in the roman Jewish Ghetto. This dish is prepared by deep-frying artichokes while the Roman Style – Carciofi Alla Romana is a stew cooked with parsley, garlic, and mint.

Artichokes may not sound appealing to many, but trust us on this one. This seasonal ingredient will leave you feeling like a real roman local after tasting it.

5. Saltimbocca

saltimbocca

The name of this dish translates to ‘Jump into the mouth.’ If that doesn’t make you want to have a taste of it, we don’t know what will. Saltimbocca is a staple of Rome street food.

This Roman dish is usually made with pounded veal, sage, and prosciutto. Rolled meat gets cooked in butter and white wine. Saltimbocca melts in your mouth, and the name does this Roman dish justice.

6. Porchetta

porchetta

Porchetta is a tasty pork roast. The meat gets deboned, then rolled and spit-roasted with an abundance of herbs. The roasting result is delicious tender meat with a crispy outside. Porchetta is also a key ingredient in Rome street food sandwiches, and you can find it in markets and delis around the city.

7. Osso Buco

ossobuco

This dish is a hearty meal of cross-cut veal cooked with vegetables in a white wine broth. The meal is usually served with risotto or polenta. The name Osso Bucco in Italian means bone with a hole, which is a reference to the bone marrow of the veal shank. The bone marrow is a defining feature of this Italian dish and is a prized delicacy.

8. Cicoria Ripassata

cicoria

Leafy greens don’t sound very appealing to most of us, but this roman dish is worth mentioning. Italians are masters when it comes to preparing seasonal vegetables and food in a simple yet delicious way. Therefore even humble chicory becomes a delicacy on Roman menus.

Chicory gets sauteed in olive oil, crushed red pepper, and garlic. The savory, bitter taste will delight you and come as a perfect side dish for your main meal. You can find chicory in almost every restaurant in Rome, so be sure not to skip it.

9. Maritozzi

maritozzi

Maritozzi are sweet bread rolls filled with whipped cream, there is a version with chocolate chips as well. This sweet pastry is a standard item on the roman breakfast menu combined with an espresso or a cappuccino. Romans tend to go for a sweet breakfast, and this tasty baked good is a great way to start your day and get the fuel needed for your Rome sightseeing.

10. Torta Ricotta e Visciole

We all know that no meal is complete without a tasty dessert at the end, and the Romans agree with us. This ricotta and sour cherry is an ideal dessert to finish off your roman menu. These two flavors complement each other perfectly and make a tasty tart dessert that will satisfy your inner foodie. You can find this cake on many restaurant menus in Rome’s Jewish neighborhood.

11. Gelato

How can we make a what to eat in Rome list if gelato is not on it? You all hear about this sweet and creamy dessert. Roman gelato is a must-taste. When going out for this tasty treat, make sure that the gelato parlor you decide on does not sell brightly colored gelato.

You can distinguish real gelato by its flavors’ pale and natural color. Gelato is a staple food when visiting Rome, so don’t worry, nobody will judge you if you decide to eat your weight in it.

gelato

Rome Food and Wine Tours

If you want to have more out of your Roman cuisine experience, maybe a food and wine tour is the right choice. It is a great way to taste different dishes and wines, in addition to skipping the sometimes impossible task of choosing just the right restaurant to go to.

Rome has a variety of Food Tours, and you can even go on a Rome street food tour and enjoy roman food in a fun way. You can also take a look at our selected Colosseum tours and best Colosseum tickets

Rome Street Food

One food tour we would recommend is the Street Food Tour Rome. You can combine sightseeing with tasting local food that Rome is famous for. Experience like this is a great way to indulge yourself in roman cuisine and culture.

rome street food

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When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

There are some local Roman customs when it comes to wining and dining, which can be useful knowledge during your Rome visit. So we highlighted a few things that may spark your interest and give you an insight into roman cuisine traditions.

Roman Aperitivo

restaurant rome

Aperitivo is a drink served before your meal, intended to open up your appetite. It’s usually enjoyed before dinner, from 7 to 9 pm, a time when Romans relax and enjoy their time with friends and family. Aperitivo is also served with finger food to kick start your metabolism, but don’t think it can replace your dinner.

Appetizers served with aperitivo are usually cheese and cold-cut plates. During aperitivo hours most places will have a host outside inviting you in, and it is perfectly reasonable to acknowledge them but not go in. Take your time when it comes to picking the perfect spot for you to make sure you don’t fall into a tourist trap.

Roman Cuisine

pizza

It is essential to remember that Roman cuisine relies on seasonal ingredients, and it’s more often than not dependent on what is freshly available. So don’t be afraid of fruits and vegetables you never tasted before; after all, you are in Rome to have a real Italian adventure.

Rome became an important gastronomical center during the ancient age, and it doesn’t seem like that is changing anytime soon. That is why tasting as much food off of the roman menu should be on your to-do list while visiting Rome.

Olive Oil in Rome

Olive oil and expert ways of tasting it are a big part of Roman cuisine traditions. Extra virgin olive oil is a crucial ingredient in Italian cooking and for all the right reasons. It contains healthy fats and antioxidants. We are sure you will get back home from Rome with at least one bottle of olive oil, so this is how you can differentiate the real thing from simple imitations. 

The proper way to taste olive oil is by sipping on it. No, you do not soak a piece of bread in it to try it. The tasting process is more similar to wine tasting. Before taking your first sip, you need to smell the olive oil first – it should give off a grass and fruit scent.

It is important to note that you should take small sips, just enough to coat the inside of your mouth.  Deciding what olive oil is the best comes down to your preference, so don’t be afraid to try as many as you can. After all Olive oil is healthy and beneficial for you.

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