Going to Rome? (Or Wish You Were?) Here’s Where You Should Eat.
As you may or may not know, I spent 3 years living in Rome. I was there during college, and before my obsession of taking pictures of food started. Silly me. I wish I had pics of all of the beautiful food that surrounded me every single day. Well, I don’t. But I do have a list of my go-to places in the Eternal City. Here they are. I wish I was going tomorrow.
Via San Francesco a Ripa at Viale Trastevere in the Trastevere neighborhood.
This is in a touristy area and there are definitely tourists there but also a lot of Romans. It’s the first and last place I eat every time I visit. It’s my favorite place in Roma. Tell Piero that Camilla sent you .
What to eat: Zuppa di fagioli (white bean soup) is to die for. Also, the Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is oh-so-fab. Don’t love the carbonara here. Fritto di Bacala’ is a tasty app if you’re in the mood for a huge piece of thickly battered, fried salt cod;). If not, the zuppa di cozze o vongole (mussels or clams) are delish as are the bruschette (my personal fav is ‘crema di carciofi’ (artichoke spread)).
Via Luca Della Robbia, 84 in Testaccio neighborhood.
This is much more of a Roman neighborhood joint in the old meatpacking district. It’s open on Sundays, too, which is good. It’s on the corner near my old apartment.
What to eat: Antipasto Misto (it’s an amazing self-serve antipasto spread with so many beautiful, simple, delicious things: lots of veggies a million different ways, seafood salads, cheeses, marinated beans… all kinds of stuff). Coniglio (braised rabbit) is one of my favorites. Also, the Pollo alla Romana (braised chicken in tomato sauce with peppers) is wonderful. They also make a mean Amatriciana. I’ve actually never eaten anything here that I didn’t like.
In Piazza Santa Maria Liberatrice in Testaccio.
Some Romans claim it’s the best pizza in the city…. It’s definitely in the running. It’s always packed so be prepared to wait a bit… that also means that it’s not a place to dilly-dally. They make you eat and run.
What to eat: Pizza. Any of it. The bacala’ and suppli’ (fried rice balls) are good too. Why the tradition is to eat fried rice balls and fried fish before your pizza is beyond me. Just go with it.
Via Mastro Giorgio, 29 in Testaccio
This place got written up somewhere big (NY times, maybe) a some years back so there are definitely more tourists there now but one of my proud Roman friends, Giovanni, swears by it. It’s very simple, correct Roman food. Nothing flashy. What to eat: Cacio Pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper) and whatever braised meat they’re doing… hopefully it’s oxtail.
Via Marmorata, 47 in Testaccio
This is a little specialty foods store with a bunch of delicious salumi and cheeses, handmade pastas and snack-y stuff. We like to go here and get some sheeps’ milk ricotta, a couple slices of prosciutto and a hunk of bread for a picnic in a piazza. I even like to go there when I’m stuffed, just to look around.
Pizzeria Da Baffetto
Via del Governo Vecchio, 114 near Piazza Navona
Another delish pizzeria… definitely more touristy but fun and tasty, none the less. They slap a bunch of people together at one table so you kind of have to be in the mood for that. If you end up with people that speak your language, it’s kind of hard not to converse with them. It could go either way at that point.
What to eat: Pizza…mmmm…
Piazzale Aurelio, 7 on Gianicolo (the Janiculum hill, above Trastevere)
This is on the fancy side of Roman restaurants. The food is more composed and less traditional but so delicious. It’s also more expensive than the regular stuff.
What to eat: I’m not really sure… whatever you want. I’ve only dined here once but it was wonderful and I would certainly go back. I had an oxtail ragu’ lasagne with a smooth fennel bulb puree. It was so fantastic that I put it on the menu at our restaurant when I got home.
Via Collina, 18…middle of nowhere, roma
This place is in some random neighborhood up sort of near the Termini train station. It’s great. You don’t get a choice for antipasti… they just start bringing you stuff. And when I say stuff, I mean A LOT of stuff. Hand-sliced prosciutto, a huge ball of fresh, oozy, milky mozzarella, little delicious meatballs in tomato sauce… the list goes on. It’s almost impossible to not just eat everything they put on the table. Unfortunately, you’re kind of obligated to order SOMETHING even though you won’t want to ‘cuz you’ll be completely stuffed from all of the wonderful ‘starters’. As far as I know, they don’t even have menus. At least, I’ve never seen one. Bruno just asks you what you want and when you ask him what he has, he just says, “you know, all the regular Roman dishes.” I’m having a flashback of handmade tagliolini with radicchio.
What to eat: You’re on your own here. I can hardly make it through the antipasti.
not sure of the address… somewhere near piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. SE of Basilica S.M. Maggiore.
This is BY FAR the best gelato I’ve had in Rome. TO DIE FOR. It blows the other 2 ‘best’ gelaterie (San Crispino, near the Trevi Fountain and Giolitti near the Pantheon) right out of the water.
What to eat: One of each? Who can choose? How about hazelnut, black cherry and fior di latte?
So those are my recommendations. And here are a few pics just to get you in the mood.