When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Italy is famous for its flavoursome, simple and delicious cuisine. Centuries-old recipes and traditions, unique dishes that haven't changed for centuries have made their way all around the world.
But Rome, I must say, has something even more special to offer to our palates.
Continuing centuries of old-school traditions, dishes in the capital have never lost their roots in ‘poor man’s food’ and are often made of just a few ingredients mixed in creative ways. It was hard to choose only 5 foods to feature in this article, it took a lot of testing and eating (and extra KGs to bring home), but here is a list of food you need to try in Rome, and where best to do so.
Pasta alla Carbonara at Da Danilo
Photo Credits: Trattoria Da Danilo
When I book a trip to Rome, the first thing that comes to mind is carbonara. And there is only one place I keep going back every time I return to Caput Mundi (capital of the world in Latin), it's Da Danilo. If you ask around, there will be heated debates about who makes the best carbonara, but for me there is no other option or questioning, I've been here dozens of times and every time was an OH-MY-GOSH-I-CAN-DIE-NOW moment.
Address: Via Petrarca, 13, 00185 Roma RM
Carciofo alla Giudea at Nonna Betta
Photo Credits: Nonna Betta
"Life is too short to eat the wrong Jewish artichoke" is the tag line of the Carciofo alla Giudea institution in Rome. Entering Nonna Betta is like crossing a door right into the Jewish past of Rome. Here, authentic Roman-Jewish traditions have been passed from generation to generation and today, you can still sit at the table to ask questions about the religion as well as secrets about their centuries-old recipes.
ADDRESS: Via del Portico d’Ottavia, 16 – Roma
Cacio & Pepe at Cacio & Pepe
Photo Credits: @the_storyteller
One of the simplest pasta dishes: pecorino Romano cheese and fresh black pepper are swirled on top of bucatini or spagehtti. Add a little bit of cooking water to make it creamy. An authentic Roman dish that hasn't changed at all since it was created.
- Try it at Cacio & Pepe (no joke!) which still remains a hidden gem and a favourite for locals around Prati.
ADDRESS: Via Giuseppe Avezzana, 11, 00195 Roma
Panino al Forno Campo de' Fiori
Photo Credits: thestoryteller
This buzzling bakery on Campo de' Fiori does an incredible selection of fresh panini and delicious fresh-from-the-oven pizza by the slice (pizza al taglio). One of my favourite is the pizza bianca (pizza without tomato sauce with olive oil, rosemary and salt), but the focaccia with Parma ham and mozzarella won my heart (and stomach).
Address: Vicolo del Gallo, 14, 00186 Roma
Gelato from Gelateria San Crispino
Photo Credits: Il Gelato di San Crispino
How could you end a big eat in Rome without something sweet? Well, you can't and if I may, I'd like to suggest a little walk to the fabulous San Crispino to try as many ice cream flavours as you can. They were the first to go back to the natural and organic roots of ice-cream making and since they want to preserve the real taste of gelato, cones are banned. Yup, for real.
ADDRESS: There are 4 parlours (including one in Milan), but I always go to the one in Piazza della Maddalena, 3, Roma, 00186.
I wish I could extend this list to 20 or maybe even 40 of my favourite dishes and food in Rome, but I think I'll get fired if I tried. Anyhow, have I missed anything and what's your favourite food in Rome? And would you like a second list about what to eat while in the Italian capital? Let us know in the comments below!
More about Rome and Italy:
- Where to Find the Best Aperitivo in Rome
- 11 Locals Share How to Find Accommodation in Rome
- Matera: Weekend Getaway from Rome (and Milan)
- Weekend Getaways: Umbria, the Green Heart of Italy
- Best Pizza in Rome: 5 Authentic Pizzerias in Rome
- Rome Tips and Tricks: Insider Advice from Max, our Favourite Local!
Cover photo credit: @the_storyteller