The Ultimate Guide to Rome for Foodies

A sample of the best traditional Roman dishes outside a restaurant in Rome.!

A sample of the best traditional Roman dishes outside a restaurant in Rome.!

Visiting Rome

Rome, for food lovers, can be one of the best travel experiences ever! And if you use this Essential Guide to Rome for Foodies it is certain to be one!

Sure, when visiting Rome, you need to visit the top tourist sites like the Colosseum, the Fontana di Trevi, and the Spanish Steps to take your Instagram photos. If you’re a foodie, Rome is much more than sightseeing—your best memories will revolve around the food of Rome!

Evidence of Rome’s rich history teems from the ornate buildings, city squares, and ruins found throughout Italy’s capital. Its vastness can be a little overwhelming for tourists to try and see it all.

Likewise, with over 13,000 Roman restaurants and hundreds if not thousands of menu items, Rome, for foodies, can be overwhelming to try and eat it all. Believe me, I’ve tried!

Finding the best places to eat in Rome, Italy means eating authentic traditional foods instead of eating at tourist trap. And Rome restaurants can be hard to navigate. That’s where this food guide to Rome comes in!

You will have all of the Rome foodie essentials at your fingertips. Not only is it about the best of Roman cuisine—like the best pizza in Rome, the best pasta in Rome, the best Restaurants in Rome, but it includes the best food markets of Rome, cooking classes and food tours in Rome, and much more! In other words, everything a foodie in Rome would need to have the best culinary experiences in Rome!

Skyline of Rome for foodies.

What to eat in Rome

When deciding what to eat in Rome, you need to first ask, “what food is Rome known for?” In other words, the best food in Rome, Italy will be the regional Roman dishes! Does that mean you’ll be eating at only Italian restaurants in Rome? Yes! But don’t worry, there’s lots of variety in traditional Roman food.

Each region in Italy boasts its own specialty dishes, and Rome is no different. Italian cuisine has always emphasized using local ingredients for regional specialties—it’s the birthplace of the slow food movement! For example, the regional cheese, Pecorino-Romano, plays a major role in all of Rome’s best known specialty pastas: Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, and Amatriciana. More on those Roman pastas below in our Rome food guide!

Most traditional Roman dishes have long histories, some even dating back to Medieval times. However, it is interesting, that even historic Rome isn’t immune to trendy new foods, like the popular Trapizzino. Invented in 2008, this half pizza—half sandwich Roman street food can now be found all around the city. For foodies, Rome will include the old and the new!

In addition to the local foods of Rome, you can find specialty dishes of other Italian regions here. If you are not visiting other regions, go ahead a try them as you’re still in Italy. But I would encourage foodies in Rome to concentrate on traditional roman food when in the Eternal City. And if you’re wondering where that nickname came from, it first appeared in 1 B.C. to describe what seemed like the never-ending power and expanse of Rome.

That’s enough Roman history for me, let’s talk about Roman food!

Outdoor dining in Rome for foodies.
Outdoor Roman market at Campo de’ Fiori is a colorful place in Rome for foodies to grab a snack.

Outdoor Roman market at Campo de’ Fiori is a colorful place in Rome for foodies to grab a snack.

Best Market in Rome for Foodies

Mercato di Testaccio

One of my favorite ways to get to know the local food in any city is to stroll through the farmers’ markets. I love perusing the colorful displays, seeing what’s in season, and discovering new ingredients. It’s definitely one of the things to do in Rome that I would not miss! And these Rome food markets can be a great place to purchase some provisions for a picnic!

Rome has many fabulous food markets—you can find almost any food Rome has to offer at the mercatos. Locals shop for everything from meat, cheese, to vegetables at the open-air Mercato San Cosimato located at the Piazza San Cosimato in Trastevere Monday through Saturday from 7:30am to 2:00pm.

Although the farmers’ market in Campo de’ Fiori square bustles with more tourists, it’s still worth a walk through for the unparalleled ambiance. You may even find a souvenir food from Rome to take home! Opened Monday through Saturday from 7:30am to 3:00pm

And if you’re looking for a great Roman meal, head to the Testaccio Market located at Via Beniamino Franklin. This foodie heaven is open Monday through Saturday from 6:00am to 2:00pm, which makes it a great place for breakfast and/or lunch at affordable prices. These are some of the best cheap eats in Rome! At the Mercato Testaccio, snag the typical Italian breakfast of a pastry and coffee, and for lunch, try one of these options:

Food Box (Box 66) is known for some of the best Roman street food in the city. Their Suppli (egg-shaped rice croquettes) sometimes called Supplì Roma are fried to order. The classic is stuffed with a meat ragu, and a few other flavors are usually on offer. If the Carciofi alla Giudia (fried whole artichokes) are available, grab some of those too!

Mordi e Vai (Box 15) may be the most popular stall at this Roman market. Don’t wait until you’re starving to go there as there’s usually a line for the retired butcher, Sergio Esposito’s killer sandwiches. Really, wait in line for a sandwich? Yes, really! You’ll thank me for sure!

Cups (Box 44), run by the inventive Michelin-stared chef Cristina Bowerman (Glass Hosteria), offers some excellent choices beyond traditional Roman food.

A popular place in Rome for foodies to get lunch, the Testaccio Market.

A popular place in Rome for foodies to get lunch, the Testaccio Market.

Best Coffee House in Rome for Foodies

Tazza D’Oro

By Karen from Wear I Wandered

Tazza D’Oro is considered by many to serve the best coffee in Rome. The full name is Antigua Tazzadoro La Casa Del Caffe al Pantheon, but Tazza D’Oro will do. Rome is a city where drinking coffee is an art. You will sense the artistry, and experience the importance of coffee at Tazza D’Oro.

This coffee house was established in 1944. The company carefully sources, roasts, blends, and serves their own coffee right in the heart of Rome. The location is amazing! It is just off the Piazza della Rotonda, the gorgeous piazza on which the Pantheon is situated. Because of its central location you will almost definitely be near Tazza D’Oro at some point during your visit to Rome.

It is a must-stop place in Rome for foodies! The decor is simple but traditional with dark marble and gold. Like many coffee shops in Rome, and the bàcaro in Venice, this is mostly a stand up bar with few tables. You order first at the register, then take your ticket to the bar where you are served, and drink your coffee without sitting down.

The coffee? It is superb. Smooth and rich and amazing, perhaps the best coffee in Rome. Of course, you can have an Americano or a Cappuccino, but when at one of the most iconic coffee shops in the world perhaps you should try one of their specialties. The espresso at Tazza D’oro is sheer perfection. Or if it is a warm day you could try their granita. They are known for this cold concoction with layers of shaved iced coffee and cream. It is out of this world delicious. You really must experience Tazza D’Oro on a trip to Rome.

Foodies in Rome should try the Granita at Tazzo D’Oro.

Foodies in Rome should try the Granita at Tazzo D’Oro.

Best Pizza in Rome for Foodies

Pizza al Taglio at Molino Roma

Renata from Bye Myself

Pizza is perhaps the most famous dish of Italy, and so it is one of the most popular foods in Rome for locals and tourists alike.

Nope, a real pizza is not that thing in a cardboard box waiting in a corner of the freezer for you when you get hungry at odd hours. A real pizza is a thin subtly tasty layer of dough topped with produce of the highest quality—and those are by no means buried under an avalanche of heavy yellow cheese.

Italian pizza is a dish best sampled in Italy. But beware, it will forever ruin any other so-called pizza for you. Naples prides itself on being the cradle of Italian pizza making and the local bakers insist that only they know the real recipe—as if it is a secret potion.

Nevertheless, I personally have had the best pizza of my entire life in Rome at Molino Roma!

In Italy's capital, pizza is not only an entire meal, it can also be a quick snack— fast food, if you want. There are many small food vendors selling amazing Pizza al Taglio. This means that you choose how big of a piece you want from which kind of pizza. Then you pay for it according to the weight. The pizza’s weight, not yours.

In contrast to some other Italian cities like Florence, Romans are not afraid of toppings. At my favorite pizza place, the Molino Roma, the toppings are about three times as thick as the dough. The classics are zucchini flowers and anchovies, figs and cheese, and chicory, a very hearty green spinach-like vegetable. Also, their baker is an artist who composes the ingredients like a painter creates his masterpiece. He does it with talent and lots of amore to make the best pizza in Rome.

Molino Roma is one of the best places to eat in Rome and is just minutes from the main train station Roma Termini. You'll find them across from the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore on Via Merulana.

Pizza al Taglio at Molino Roma. Image Courtesy of Renata from Bye Myself.

Pizza al Taglio at Molino Roma. Image Courtesy of Renata from Bye Myself.

Best Pasta in Rome for Foodies

Cacio e Pepe at Ristorante da Pancrazio

By D&J of Make Them All Trips of a Lifetime

Until our most recent visit to Rome, we had yet to taste its famous Cacio e Pepe pasta. Introduced to us (by my sister) on our second night, we ordered the creamy and delicious dish at every restaurant we frequented from that night forward.

Located in the trendy Trastevere area of Rome, the Antica Osteria Rugantino Restaurant served its Cacio e Pepe with thick spaghetti, in a deep bowl, soaked in sauce. Though rustic and delicious, we soon discovered our favorite restaurant that had the best pasta in Rome. Hidden in the Campo dei Fiori area, Ristorante da Pancrazio was built atop ancient Roman ruins. An attempt to expand the premises in the 1950s revealed several rooms from the first century Theatre of Pompeii, where Julius Caesar was murdered.

The restaurant’s simple exterior reveals nothing of its history and extraordinary menu of authentic Roman dishes. Sitting outside on the small patio under the night sky, we indulged in a chilled bottle of Rose and nibbled on Cacio e Pepe Potato Croquettes and delicately fried Zucchini Flowers with Anchovies. As is typical of many traditional Italian dishes, the ingredients are simple and the flavors subtle and complimentary. The appetizers were soon replaced with large flat dishes of spaghettini pasta in the best Cacio e Pepe sauce we have ever had to date. As we ate, buskers appeared, singing opera and playing accordion music, it was pure magic.

We stayed late into the night, sipping wine and resisting the urge to order another phenomenal dish, but before we left, the owner invited us to explore downstairs, where full rooms were excavated, and ancient artifacts are clearly visible. The story may intrigue you the first time, but it is the exceptional food that will bring you back again (and again). Pancrazio is one of the city’s best kept secrets, and by far our best culinary experience in Rome.

Ristorante da Pancrazio image courtesy of  D&J of Make Them All Trips of a Lifetime.

Ristorante da Pancrazio image courtesy of D&J of Make Them All Trips of a Lifetime.

Amatriciana a Flambe at Trattoria Vecchia Roma

Eating in Rome should definitely include the One of the must-try pasta’s in Rome for foodies is Amatriciana, and we know the best Rome restaurants for one of the best dishes in town.

On our first visit to Rome together, my husband, Mike (also a foodie), quickly discovered he fancied Amatriciana. While Italian chefs debate over tonnarelli, spaghetti, or bucatini Amatriciana, it didn’t matter to Mike, he ate it almost every day in Rome, with whatever pasta it was served with.

What’s so special about this tomato based pasta sauce?

It looks like an ordinary marinara-type sauce, however, the pecorino, guanciale (beef cheeks), and hot pepper make Amatriciana a much more complex sauce with sweet, salty, spicy, sharp, and fatty flavors.

Originally from the nearby city of Amatrice, like many of Italy’s specialties, Amatriciana has peasant roots. It dates back to the 1600s, and today is one of Rome’s most revered dishes.

In fact, almost every trattoria and osteria serves their version of this traditional sauce. But only the best trattoria in Rome serves it from a wheel of pecorino cheese—Trattoria Vecchia Roma!

You may know that cheese is my favorite food group, so if you’re bringing my pasta to the table in a wheel of cheese, you will definitely win my vote not only for where to get the best Amatriciana, but also for best pasta restaurant in Rome!

However, my two runners-ups, Armando al Pantheon and Flavio al Velavevodetto, both serve delicious Amatriciana versions of their own.

Rome for foodies recommendation Amatriciana a Flambe at Trattoria Vecchia.

Tonnarelli all'Amatriciana at La Vacca M’briaca

By Dymphe from Dymabroad

La Vacca M’briaca is one of the best restaurants in Rome for foodies! This restaurant serves many very delicious Italian dishes. Even though all dishes here are great, I’d especially recommend having one of the pasta dishes, and especially the Tonnarelli all'Amatriciana. La Vacca M’briaca has some of the best pasta Rome has to offer! They are all amazing and they taste exactly like an Italian pasta dish should taste. Also, the dishes look incredible!

Moreover, during certain holidays, La Vacca M’briaca has special menus with special pricing. During these days you can taste dishes that you normally can't get from the restaurant, which is great! For example, there is a three-course Christmas lunch for 25 euro.

Furthermore, the atmosphere in the restaurant is lovely. The people working in the restaurant are very friendly and you’ll feel completely welcome when you have dinner there. Also, the interior is very cozy, making it the perfect place for a relaxing evening of dining with a glass of wine.

The location of La Vacca M’briaca is very convenient. It’s located in the neighborhood Monti and it's only a short walk from the Colosseum. Because of this, it is a very convenient restaurant if you are only one day in Rome.

The chef of this restaurant is Lorenzo Bevilacqua. A very fun thing to know is that this restaurant once participated in an Italian show on television! The show is called Cuochi d'Italia. For this, Lorenzo Bevilacqua prepared the dish Tonnarelli all'Amatriciana for which he received a perfect score of 10 from the jury!

So if you're looking a great restaurant in Rome, Italy for dinner, you should definitely consider going to La Vacca M’briaca!

Foodies in Rome should go to La Vacca 'Mbriaca near the Colosseum.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara at Le Mani in Pasta

By Giulia from the Travelling Sunglasses

Without a doubt, during your trip to Italy you will eat a lot of pasta. When in the capital, make sure you try Spaghetti alla Carbonara, one of the most authentic Roman dishes, it is a must-have in Rome for foodies.

Simple but delicious, carbonara is known all over the world and has many variations. Head to Ristorante le Mani in Pasta in the Trastevere neighborhood to try an authentic carbonara made with eggs, hard cheese (Pecorino Romano), pork jowl meat (guanciale), and black pepper. Long pasta pairs well with carbonara, with spaghetti the best choice. It's absolutely delicious, light yet nutritious. It’s so good, you may even decide to come back to Le Mani in Pasta!

The history of pasta carbonara is very interesting. Similar recipes combining lard, eggs and cheese are documented since the 1800s. The "carbonari" are charcoal burners or coal miners, so it is believed that this dish was prepared by these workers.

However, the name "carbonara" was first used in 1950, and its fame is tied to World War II: eggs and bacon were included in the US military rations that were distributed to the locals. These same ingredients, in turn, were used by local chefs to cook for the American soldiers: pasta carbonara became a favorite.

Throughout the years, the recipe has been modified by chefs worldwide, with the addition and removal of ingredients such as cream, garlic, spices, different types of cheese (often parmesan) and pancetta or bacon. However, if you’re in Rome, make sure you get the real deal and enjoy the authentic carbonara at Le Mani in Pasta, my pick for best restaurant in Rome, Italy! Check out here more unique things to do in Rome.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara from Le Mani in Pasta. Image courtesy of Giulia from the Travelling Sunglasses

Spaghetti alla Carbonara from Le Mani in Pasta. Image courtesy of Giulia from the Travelling Sunglasses

Spaghetti alla Carbonara at Pizzería Pasquino

Britt from Travel by Brit

During our trip to Rome, my husband and I stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast called My Suite Rome that we discovered on Booking.com. The host was incredibly hospitable and recommended a handful of restaurants in Rome, Italy during our stay.

One of the places he recommended was Pizzería Pasquino—and wow, am I happy we took his recommendation! Pizzería Pasquino is located just outside of Piazza Navona. Unlike the chaotic, tourist-filled restaurants in Piazza Navona, Pizzería Pasquino is situated on a quaint, quiet corner that offers a relaxing ambiance and the classic, outdoor dining experience you can find only in Rome.

One of my favorite parts about dining at this restaurant was watching the chef make the fresh pasta from scratch through the restaurant window! The best thing to order at Pizzería Pasquino is the Spaghetti alla Carbonara—an Italian pasta dish made with egg, cured pork, hard cheese, and black pepper.

The Carbonara at Pizzería Pasquino was the best pasta we ate during our entire time in Italy! In addition to the incredible food, Pizzería Pasquino has fantastic service. Our waiter was so friendly, and at the end of our meal, he brought us each a small glass of limoncello to enjoy—free of charge! This small act of kindness made our already exceptional dining experience at the restaurant especially memorable.

Brit, a foodie in Rome, at Pizzería Pasquino. Image courtesy of Brit from Travel by Brit.

Brit, a foodie in Rome, at Pizzería Pasquino. Image courtesy of Brit from Travel by Brit.

Best Lunch Deal (and Tiramisu) in Rome for Foodies

Ristorante Pizzeria i Fratelli

By Martina & Jürgen from PlacesofJuma

One of the best places to eat in Rome for foodies, especially those who looking for authentic Italian food in Rome and delicious desserts is the Ristorante Pizzeria i Fratelli. This restaurant is actually located in one of the coolest areas in Rome, in San Lorenzo a bit outside the city center.

In addition to some of the best food Rome has to offer, it has surprisingly fantastic prices!

You should definitely come here for lunch and try the daily lunch menu. Everyday a new culinary surprise to choose between meat or fish! The best deal in Rome–here you will get a starter, a main course, water, and coffee for 9-10 Euro!

And if you love to eat pizza, this pizzeria is the place to do it in Rome! Many people praise their fantastic pizza as one of the best in Italy–and really the taste is uniquely delicious here. You should also definitely order the divine Tiramisu as a dessert–promise you won't regret it!

Even though the Ristorante Pizzeria i Fratelli is just a short distance from the tourist center of Rome, it is very popular with locals and the waiters are super friendly—it’s truly one of the best places to eat in Rome, Italy—a real culinary insider tip that you should not miss!

Tiramisu at Ristorante Pizzeria i Fratelli. Image courtesy of Martina & Jürgen from Places of Juma.

Tiramisu at Ristorante Pizzeria i Fratelli. Image courtesy of Martina & Jürgen from Places of Juma.

Best Roman Specialties for Foodies

Porchetta at I Porchettoni

If you eat pork, this Rome for Foodies recommendation is a must! Once considered a dish only for special occasions, Porchetta’s deliciousness has propelled it to a popular dish for any day. In fact, it has become one a favorite street food in Rome.

Imagine a boneless pork roast stuffed with aromatic herbs like garlic and fennel, and slowly cooked until the outside is crackling and the inside is beyond moist. That’s Porchetta! And when I say slowly cooked, we’re talking all day slow, like 8 or more hours! No wonder it was only made on special occasions!

Today Rome offers many ways to have incredible Porchetta experiences! The tender meat makes wonderful sandwiches, and you can find them on food trucks at markets and at delis all around the city. Try Er Buchetto for an inexpensive lunch in Rome with the feel of a real local’s “hole in the wall”. One of the best Rome cheap eats! Or sit down to a meal for the house specialty at I Porchettoni in the San Lorenzo area. Or do both!

If you have time for day trips, you can visit Ariccia, a small province of Rome about 16 miles outside the city, where Porchetta originated back in Medieval times. You can easily take a train to Ariccia to enjoy Porchetta at one of the traditional “fraschettas,” like Fraschetta Da Rugantino or Osteria Mastro Titta-Fraschetta. It’s worth the trip for this famous Roman food!

Porchetta, not to miss in Rome for foodies.

Carciofi alla Giudia at Ristorante Piperno

My husband still teases me about the first time I ordered artichokes in Rome. I just knew the word carciofi meant artichoke and picked something I saw on the menu with that in the description. Luckily, Mike knew a few more words and told me I had just ordered brain with artichokes! I quickly changed my order. Yes, eating in Rome can be tricky!

I grew up eating lots of artichokes: stuffed, sautéed, steamed and dipped, and hearts breaded and fried. But not Carciofi alla Giudia—Jewish style artichokes! These are flattened and then deep-fried whole artichokes—YUM! Crispy chip-like outer leaves with a more meaty center.

And, you may have guessed from their name, that they are a specialty of the Roman Jewish Ghetto.

In 1555, the Jews were forced to live in this once walled area where Carciofi alla Giudia are now a famous Rome food. Ristorante Piperno on the border of the Jewish Ghetto is one of the oldest restaurants in the area dating back to 1860, and these artichokes are a must-have if you go there when they are in season (January/February-May).

Two other longtime Jewish Roman ghetto restaurants, Sora Margherita and Gigetto, serve tasty Carciofi alla Giudia in a more modest setting. Throughout Rome, you may also find them as a starter, or try the street food stall Food Box at the Testaccio Market.

Must-have in Rome for foodies, Carciofi alla Giudia at Ristorante Piperno.

Best Vegan Food in Rome for Foodies

Vegan Burgers at Flower Burger

By Annalisa from Travel Connect Experience

At Flower Burger, you can enjoy some of the best vegan burgers in Rome. This small and colorful burger shop near the Vatican offers exclusively vegan products. The protagonists are large, colorful burgers accompanied by abundant French fries.

The creator of the successful Flower Burger franchise is famous chef Marco Bianchi, author of several alternative Italian cookbooks. The first Flower Burger appeared in Milan but very quickly spread to other Italian cities including Rome. Marco has won the hearts of Italians with his sweet smile, active social media presence, and by promoting healthy eating and a lifestyle.

There are at least 7 types of vegan burgers to choose from. Some made with quinoa, others with chickpeas, peas, lentils, red beans and accompanied by delicious sauces and vegan cheese. The bun is the element that characterizes flower burgers, consistent and colorful: ocean blue, bright yellow, shocking pink, purple, white, black.

Since Flower Burger is one of the most popular vegan restaurants in Rome, expect to stand in a line at dinner time and on weekends. To reach the restaurant by public transportation, take the A-line metro to the stations of Ottaviano or Lepanto and then take a short walk through the elegant Prati neighborhood.

Vegan Burger at Flower Burger. Image courtesy of Annalisa from Travel Connect Experience

Vegan Burger at Flower Burger. Image courtesy of Annalisa from Travel Connect Experience

Rifugio Romano

By Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan

For anyone who wants to taste authentic local specialty dishes eaten only in Rome, a meal at Rifugio Romano is a must. And I do mean anyone, because this typical Roman trattoria does an incredible job of catering for those with special dietary requirements, including vegetarians and vegans in Rome, all while continuing to serve up the classic dishes that their regular customers expect.

Alongside the regular menu, which is made up primarily of dishes from the local cuisine of Rome and the surrounding region of Lazio, there is also a full vegan menu covering every course of an Italian menu, from the antipasti to dessert. There are literally dozens of vegan options to choose from, and the best part is that most of these are also traditional Roman specialties, but reimagined in a vegan form.

For anyone who avoids animal products, whether for health, environmental or ethical reasons, Rifugio Romano is one of your must-eat places in Rome. It’s a rare opportunity to try dishes like spaghetti cacio a pepe or supplì. Any of their pasta dishes can also be made with whole-grain or gluten-free pasta.

I recommend ordering the antipasti platter as a first course to share with everyone at the table, as that way you'll get to try a little bit of everything. And don't leave without ordering the vegan tiramisu for dessert!

Rifugio Romano is located just a few minutes' walk from Termini, the main railway station in Rome. It's not a place where you would expect to find a restaurant of this caliber, and it has to be said that it's not the most atmospheric part of Rome. Nevertheless, it's very convenient if you're arriving by train or staying in one of the many budget-friendly hotels in the area.

Antipasti platter at Rifugio Romano. Image courtesy of Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan.

Antipasti platter at Rifugio Romano. Image courtesy of Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan.

Best Gelato in Rome for Foodies

Gelateria dei Gracchi

By Matt from The Plate Unknown

My Dad loves food, this is probably a big reason I love food. He also travels a lot for work and eats out a lot as a result. When we were heading to Rome, a place he visits very regularly for work, he struggled to tell us where to eat as he is taken places by his Italian colleagues and there’s no way of working out what they’re called or where they were after a few bottles of wine and an after dinner Grappa.

One thing he could say with absolute certainty is that the best gelato in Rome is served at Gelateria dei Gracchi. One of his colleagues in Rome is obsessed with gelato—we all have that thing we’re obsessed with in the food world—and he is adamant that Gelateria dei Gracchi serves not only the best gelato in Rome but possibly in Italy. This second claim should be taken with a pinch of salt as this man is originally from Rome and Italians are rightly proud of their local products, to the point of belligerence.

The first Gelato shop was opened in 1999 by Sardinian Alberto Manassei, who was a violin maker and learned the art of gelato making from his brother. His focus is on creating artisan gelato using products as close to the shop as possible, entirely Italian and using the best of the season’s ingredients.

His pistachio gelato has been internationally recognized as exceptional, but all the flavors are magnificent.

These shops do get incredibly busy in Summer so be prepared to queue but boy is it worth it for some of the best gelato in Rome, and possibly on Earth.

Gracchi Gelato insider tip for Rome for foodies.

Gelateria La Romana

By Shelley from Travel-Stained

If the constant and never-ending line of (mostly) locals is any kind of testament, Gelateria La Romana is the place to go for gelato in Rome.

La Romana was founded in 1947 in the historic center of Rimini, and named after the owner's daughter. Known for gelati that uses traditional recipes and premium ingredients, they ensure the total freshness of their gelato by producing small quantities at different times of the day. In fact, the average duration of each batch of gelato is not more than 3 hours.

To order, line up at the cash, order your gelato by size or number of scoops, then take your receipt to the gelato bar. This is where you'll decide what flavors you want (2-3 scoops usually), whether you'd like a cup or cone, and if you'll add panna (whip cream).

There are over 20 rotating flavors of gelato to choose from, so it's best to decide before joining the scrum at the gelato bar. At La Romana, you also have the choice to coat the inside of your cone with white or dark chocolate. You can also select from several whip cream flavors, including regular, zambione or chocolate.

There are several locations in Rome (and around the world), but the Via Venti Settembre 60 location is a slightly less touristy spot to check out in Rome's historic center, near Porta Pia.

Gelato from Gelateria La Romana. Image courtesy of Shelley from Travel-Stained.

Gelato from Gelateria La Romana. Image courtesy of Shelley from Travel-Stained.

Giolitii

Constance from A Well-Read Wanderer

2019 was such a fun travel year for me. For my 30th birthday, my husband and I took a trip to Italy, where we did ALL the eating, including lots of gelato. On a 10 day trip, we had gelato from at least 18 gelaterias across the country. While they were all delicious, one gelato experience from Rome was so memorable it still makes my mouth water.

We had just returned to Rome after a long day trip to Pompeii and Sorrento. We were still trying to adjust to the Italian schedule of a late dinner and hadn’t had an aperitivo to tide us over. So, when our desired restaurant had a long wait before a table would be ready, we decided on a little pre-dinner gelato. In Italy, after all, there is no “wrong” time for gelato.

We walked through the lamplit streets to a gelateria I’d heard about from a few people, Giolitii. While I generally try to mix up my flavors for more variety, this kind of hanger called for my go-to craving: dark chocolate, or cioccolato.

This dark chocolate gelato was positively life-changing: unbelievably decadent in its chocolate flavor and creamier than any other gelato I’d ever tried. My husband tried a taste, but that was all I’d allow him, and he had serious regret about not choosing that flavor himself.

Later in our trip, we participated in a gelato-making class, during which I learned that dark chocolate gelato, unlike other gelatos, doesn’t actually have any cream added to it. The rich and creamy texture comes from the pure chocolate.

Looking back with my 2020 goggles I’m so grateful for that trip to Italy with all the carbs and gelato. I believe now more than ever that opportunities are fleeting, and travel is (almost) always a good idea.

Giolitti Gelato in Rome. Image courtesy of Constance from A Well-Read Wanderer.

Giolitti Gelato in Rome. Image courtesy of Constance from A Well-Read Wanderer.

Best Food Tours in Rome for Foodies

Testaccio Tour by Eating Europe

By Katy from Untold Italy

The neighborhood of Testaccio has been an important food center for the city of Rome since ancient times. Often referred to as the "food bowl" of Rome, it's the perfect place to take a Rome food tour. Eating Europe has a day-time experience that visits the popular local Testaccio market but we chose the evening tour so we could enjoy an aperitivo among the locals of this traditionally working class rione (neighborhood).

We made five stops for traditional Roman food on this generous outing. First sampling cheeses, wine, and antipasto in both a traditional cantina and modern enoteca. Then it was onto some serious pasta eating where we learned the inter-relationship between the quintessential Roman pasta dishes—cacio e pepe, alla gricia and of course carbonara. Of course, no food tour in Italy would be complete without a stop for pizza. On this occasion we discovered a modern innovation - stuffed pizza known as trapizzino. Then it was onto a traditional gelateria for some of the creamiest dessert in town.

Our guide, a former chef, explained the importance of the neighborhood to Rome's food culture and encouraged us to try local offal specialties that people travel across town and Italy for. So, if you want a Rome foodie adventure, head to Testaccio and prepare your taste buds for the flavors of the city.

One of the best experiences in Rome for foodies is shopping at the Testaccio market.

One of the best experiences in Rome for foodies is shopping at the Testaccio market.

Truffle Hunting in Rome

by Lannie from Lannie’s Food & Travel

Chances are, if you’re a foodie, you’ve enjoyed truffles, or have seen truffles on an Italian restaurant menu. Truffles, a pungent fungus (similar to a mushroom), are used in Italian, Croatian and other Mediterranean cuisine to give the dish an extra flavor kick. Depending on the type of cuisine, chefs will either use black truffle or white truffle.

Many places in the truffle region offer truffle hunting tours. For someone who loves a winning combination of travel, gastronomy, dogs, and a little outdoor time, truffle hunting is the perfect day trip from Rome.

We started the day with a quick 45-minute train ride outside of the city. Greeted by our guide and his two truffle hunting dogs, we set out for a wooded area nearby. The dogs were set free to start the hunt. For us humans, it’s part leisurely stroll, part “easy” hike. When truffle hunters, Wendy and Uji, found some loot, our guide went over to dig around in the dirt, and out pops a beautiful black truffle. Treats for Wendy and Uzi, and truffles for our meal later!

After a few hours of truffle hunting, we went to our guide and his partners home, for a home cooked Roman meal with our newly acquired treasures! Imagine sitting in the Italian sun, at a home in the countryside, with a deliciously prepared meal for you – topped or cooked with beautifully fresh black truffles. Perfection? Absolutely!

For foodies in Rome, going on a truffle hunting food tour is a must! The food tour in Rome is also great for dog lovers, missing their pups while on holiday!

Truffle hunting in Rome. Image courtesy of Lannie from Lannie’s Food & Travel.

Truffle hunting in Rome. Image courtesy of Lannie from Lannie’s Food & Travel.

Best Cooking Class in Rome for Foodies

Fabiolous Cooking Day

By Karen from Wear I Wandered

One of the best food experiences in Rome for foodies is taking a cooking class. Italians are very serious about using the freshest ingredients as well as employing traditional methods of preparing pizza and pasta and other Italian specialties. You can learn to fully embrace this ethic in a Rome cooking class, and Fabiolous Cooking Day taught by chef Fabio Massimo Bongianni is a wonderful option.

There are a variety of Italian cooking classes to choose from but the market and cooking class is great because you not only learn to prepare a variety of foods but you will start early with stops at an open air produce market in Rome as well as a number of other small shops. It is so fun to learn how and where the Roman people buy their produce, cheese, meats, and breads.

After collecting your ingredients you go to a gorgeous apartment in the center of Rome to cook. The instruction is simple and all hands on. You will not just be watching but also doing. These are small group classes which give you plenty of opportunity to attempt and master the variety of methods of food preparation as well as to interact with the host and the other guests.

One of the best parts of the day is eating! This is also a wonderful experience as you will be seated on a rooftop overlooking the city, chatting with new friends, while the Roman food that you have prepared will be served to you along with some delicious Italian wine! This is a perfect day in Rome for foodies!

Cooking class Fabiolous Cooking Day. Image courtesy of Karen from Wear I Wandered.

Cooking class Fabiolous Cooking Day. Image courtesy of Karen from Wear I Wandered.

Walks of Italy Pasta Making

By James from Travel Collecting

The food in Rome is amazing, so what better way to experience it than to learn how to cook it yourself? I took an awesome class in a rooftop apartment in central Rome, just a stone’s throw away from Piazza Navona. The Roman pasta making class started with a welcome drink and antipasti on the terrace. We enjoyed the views of the dome of a neighboring church above us and narrow cobbled streets below us as we got to know our fellow classmates and our instructors—a delightful Italian couple who spoke flawless English.

A large table was set up on the terrace and we soon took our assigned spaces. We learned how to mix eggs, flour, and olive oil, and knead them into the perfect pasta dough. As it rested, one of our group members volunteered, under tutelage, to demonstrate the making of the filling for our ravioli as we drank more wine.

Then out came the pasta rolling machines and chitarras (name after the guitar). We rolled our doughs into sheets then used the chitarra strings to slice half of them into spaghetti and cut the other half into shapes to form our raviolis. Our instructors were constantly on hand to help and guide us. Our efforts were combined, and as they rested one last time, another volunteer helped make the simple but incredibly delicious sauce, with the help of our instructors.

When it was all cooked, we sat down to enjoy my favorite meal in Rome—one we had cooked ourselves—with great company and more wine.

At the end of the evening, we were given the recipes. I have made them many times since; I love that I am able to recreate part of my Roman holiday at home.

Cooking class in Rome for foodies. Image courtesy of James from Travel Collecting

Cooking class in Rome for foodies. Image courtesy of James from Travel Collecting

Final thoughts on the Ultimate Guide to Rome for Foodies

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Ultimate Guide to Rome for Foodies! You should be well armed with the the traditional Roman foods, where to eat in Rome, and hopefully everything you need to enjoy the best food in Rome.

I know I can’t wait to get back to Italy and eat Rome! And although foodies Rome is not about quantity, but quality, (just like authentic Italian cooking), I could eat all of these traditional Roman foods myself!

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