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

rome street food

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.

What to Eat in Rome?

Many would say that you indeed need to taste the culture to understand it, and we would completely agree. Italy is very famous for its exceptional gastronomy and world-famous dishes we 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 on while visiting 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, unskippable gelato to some roman food you may have never heard off before. These are the foods you can not miss during your Rome visit!

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 a true staple on the roman menu. These dishes are simple yet flavour packed and guaranteed to satisfy the food lover in you.

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 that uses no cooking cream. It consists of only a few simple ingredients – cured pork, eggs, and grated cheese, in addition to any pasta shape you would 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.

pasta carbonara italy
Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Cacio e Pepe

Another delicious yet straightforward roman pasta dish. Cacio e Pepe pasta became a more popular item on Roman menus recently. 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 out of a local sheep cheese called Cacio from the Roman countryside and black pepper.

Roman pasta
Roman pasta

Pizza al Taglio

How could we have a list called what to eat in Rome without pizza being on it? We can’t!

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. Well, after you try 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 a triangle. Pizza al taglio usually has a variety of flavor combinations and makes for a perfect on-the-go lunch while strolling around Rome.

Rome pizza
Roman pizza slice

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

4. Artichokes

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 or preparing artichokes in Rome. The first one is called Carciofi Alla Giudea – Jewish style artichokes. 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.

artichokes

5. 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.

Saltimbocca Romana
Saltimbocca Romana

6. Porchetta

roman porchetta
Roman 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

osso buco
Osso Bucco

This dish is a hearty meal of cross-cut veal cooked with vegetables in a white wine broth. The meal usually gets served with risotto or polenta. 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 ripassata
Cicoria Ripassata

Leafy greens don’t sound very appealing to the majority 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 to your main meal. You can find chicory in almost every restaurant in Rome, so be sure not to skip on it.

9. Maritozzi

roman dessert
Roman 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 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 compliment 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

And 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 the pale and natural color of its flavors. Gelato is a staple food when you are visiting Rome, so don’t worry, nobody will judge you if you decide to eat your weight in it.

italian gelato
Typical italian gelato ice cream shop.

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 for you. It is a great way to have a taste of 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.

Rome Street Food

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

traditional italian food

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

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.

Italian Aperitivo

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 the 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 be taking small sips, just enough to coat the inside of your mouth.  Deciding what olive oil is the best comes down to your personal preference, so don’t be afraid to try as many as you can. Afterall Olive oil is healthy and beneficial for you.

Roman Cuisine

It is essential to keep in mind that Roman cuisine relies on seasonal ingredients, and it’s more often than not dependant 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.

roman pizza

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