Rome Food Guide: The Travel Foodie Picks of Wonderful Italian Cuisine

If you are looking for a marvelous culinary experience in your journey. Welcome to Italy.

The Italian cuisine was developed through centuries and is known for its regional diversity; with an abundance of taste and is the most popular in the world. Again, I reached out to my fellow bloggers and they have shared some amazing experiences in Rome – and it’s so much more than pizza and pasta.

After your amazing dining experience, check out how did I conquer Rome in 24 hours and see some of the best landmarks in the city!

Porchetta at I Sapori dell’Archetto

Slow-roasted boneless piece of pork over a wood fire

Joanna from The World in My Pocket

Porchetta is one of the staple dishes of Rome that you can have either as street food, in a delicious sandwich, or as a sit-down meal in a restaurant.

Porchetta originated in a town in the Province of Rome, and it has become one of the icons of the local cuisine in the capital of Italy. It consists of a slow-roasted boneless piece of pork with the skin on, over a wood fire. The meat is rolled and stuffed with liver, fat, and aromatic herbs such as fennel, rosemary, and garlic. To serve, porchetta is cut into thin slices.

Traditionally, porchetta is sold on the streets from white-painted vans, but you can also find plenty of sandwich shops around Rome selling it.

I tried porchetta at I Sapori dell’Archetto, a small restaurant on a quiet street, not far from Fontana di Trevi. The porchetta was served on a wooden platter, sliced, alongside roast potatoes and salad. It is a fatty dish, salty, and extremely delicious. It is the perfect comfort food for when the temperatures in Rome drop.

Pizza al Taglio at Antico Forno Roscioli

Rectangle pizza that has a crunchy exterior and a soft interior

Gabriel from Chef Travel Guide

Pizza culture in Rome is unlike anywhere else in the world. Pizza al Taglio are large rectangle pizzas made from dough with a crunchy exterior and a soft and airy interior. Toppings can vary greatly and are at the behest of the chef. The ingredients used are often inspired by what is in season at the moment, which can include squash blossoms and tomatoes during the summer and vegetables like chicories during the fall.

Pizza al Taglio is primarily a lunchtime treat that is served as an informal meal to be consumed on the street. Most bakeries and shops that offer Pizza al Taglio offer as many as ten different options displayed inside a glass case. You can choose as many options as you want, and then you instruct the baker on how thick you want each piece. They then weigh the slices and you are charged by the kilo.

There are two delicious but very different options for the best Pizza al Taglio in Rome. Antico Forno Roscioli is a must-try for any slice topped with chilled burrata. The second option is Casa Manco in the Mercato di Testaccio where the dough is the star of the show.

Cacio e Pepe at Trattoria da Cesare

The most popular pasta dish in Italy

Lori from Travlinmad

Everyone knows Italian cuisine is one of the most flavorful in the world, but it’s also famous for its simplicity in preparation using fresh, seasonal ingredients. And you can’t get much simpler than one of Italy’s most popular pasta dishesCacio e Pepe.

The name means quite literally cheese and pepper, and it’s one of Rome’s most iconic dishes.
Together with a touch of butter and typically tossed with spaghetti or bucatini, the dish is a simple 4-5 ingredient dish.
Cacio e Pepe is often referred to as an adult Mac ’n Cheese because of its main ingredient of cheese. But the addition of lots of black pepper make it a spicier dish, and balances out the heartiness of the cheese nicely.
With a history that harkens back to Italy’s earliest peasant foods, the marriage of pasta and cheese has always been an inexpensive dish to make, but its enduring popularity is a true testament to the delectable taste, even today.
In Rome, Trattoria da Cesare is known for making some of the best Cacio e Pepe in the city!

Spaghetti Carbonara at la Fraschetta

A classic Roman dish that is delicious yet incredibly easy to make

Kris from Nomad by Trade

5 Spaghetti Carbonara at la FraschettaSpaghetti Carbonara is a Roman dish that became popular in the post-WWII era. Its exact origin is unclear, but it bears similarities to several other Italian dishes that involve eggs and cheese. The eggs give it a deliciously creamy flavor and it’s not as overwhelmingly rich as I expected. It can be found all over Rome, but my favorite location was la Fraschetta di Castel Sant’Angelo, near Vatican City. It’s a small restaurant whose walls are covered by napkins with messages from guests in all different languages.

The dish is incredibly easy to make for yourself too – I was so obsessed with it that I bought the ingredients and cooked some for myself almost immediately after returning home from my vacation. Spaghetti carbonara is made by mixing freshly cooked pasta with a mixture of raw eggs – some recipes use whole eggs, some only call for egg whites, grated pecorino romano or Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Immediately after the pasta is strained and returned to the pot or a mixing bowl, the sauce is stirred in away from direct heat, and then fried guanciale, pancetta, or bacon is stirred in. The hot pasta cooks the sauce and results in a delicious, creamy sauce that will leave you drooling for more.

Bucatini All’Amatriciana in any good restaurant in Rome

One of the staple dishes of Roman cuisine, made by guanciale

Claudia from Strictly Rome

Bucatini all’Amatriciana is one of the staple dishes of Roman cuisine. While the dish did not exactly originate in Rome (they are from a town nearby), this is a dish that is found on the menu of any good restaurant and trattoria in the Italian capital, and definitely worth trying.
The sauce for Amatriciana is made by slowly cooking guanciale (a very peppery, savory cured meat commonly found in Italy and which is prepared from pork jowl or cheeks) until the fat melts and the meat becomes crispy, then making a very basic sauce of plum tomatoes and serving, to which the crispy guanciale is added at the end, along with a good dose of grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
While it is not necessary to use bucatini pasta (you can also use spaghetti or rigatoni), you should not try to substitute the ingredients or add different ones: a good amatriciana is only made with guanciale (never pancetta) and garlic or onion never feature in the sauce!

Jerusalem Artichoke in the Jewish Quarter

One of the best-known Roman cuisines served in the Jewish style

Sam from My Flying Leap

If you’re looking for a Roman culinary specialty that you can’t get like anywhere else, give Jerusalem artichokes a try. Locally known as Carciofi alla giudìa (meaning “Jewish-style artichokes”), this is one of the best-known dishes of Roman Jewish cuisine.

The artichokes are prepared by deep frying them. It’s popular in the area and though you can get them all around Rome, the best place to go is the Jewish Ghetto of Rome, also known as the Jewish Quarter.

This area is quite interesting from a historical and cultural perspective. It’s where the Jews were relocated by Pope Paul IV in the mid-1500s. Though the area is no longer a ghetto, it has retained its culture.

Many restaurants serve Roman Jewish cuisine, prominently featuring Jerusalem artichokes when they are available. The season when you can find them runs from early winter to mid-spring. If they are available, they are worth trying! They have an incredible crunch and a lovely rich flavor.

A great place to go is La Taverna del Ghetto, though you’ll find it at many of the restaurants lining the main street in the area, Via Del Portico D’Ottavia. If you want to enjoy a unique Roman experience, check Jerusalem artichokes out! They taste as great as they look!

Fried artichoke hearts at Trastevere

A perfect pairing with a nice glass of local prosecco

Noel from Travel Photo Discovery

3 Fried artichoke hearts at TrastevereYou will find fried artichokes in popular restaurants all over Rome when they are in season. A wonderful neighborhood to find these yummy delicacies would be in the Trastevere neighborhood – the ancient marketplace of Rome. Many of the small trattorias all over the district will sell fried artichokes and serve them with various takes of aioli (mayonnaise with spices, olive oil, and garlic) for dipping these perfectly fried artichokes. Of course, the perfect drink compliment would be a nice glass of local prosecco, crisp and summery goodness. If you are exploring Rome, check out all these free things to can do in Rome to explore and enjoy without hitting your pocketbook.

Fried Pumpkin Flower at Goose Ristorante Pizzeria

The first bite is crunchy, followed by soft pumpkin flowers, anchovy, and cheese filling

Abby from The Winged Fork

2 Fried Pumpkin Flower at Goose Ristorante PizzeriTry eating local in Rome, and you’ll be spoilt for choice. From pizza to dessert, everything tastes amazing. While in Rome last May, our landlady directed us to a restaurant that has been serving authentic local food since 1998. And you can tell she’s right. There were more locals at the restaurant than visitors. The place in question? Goose Ristorante Pizzeria on Piazzale Gregorio VII, about a ten-minute walk from the Vatican, or fifteen if you amble.

All of the food at Goose was amazing, but what we found quite different was the Frittie, which are small plates of fried starters consumed before a meal. We chose Mozzarelline aka naturally yummy deep-fried cheese balls and the Fiori Di Zucca or Pumpkin Flowers. The Fiori di Zucca is pumpkin flowers that are stuffed with a soft tasty filling and then deep-fried. Your first bite into the crunchy exterior then tastes the soft flowers followed by the softest anchovy and cheese filling.

Spend a summer in Rome and see Fiori di Zucca on your plate quite often, be it at home or in a restaurant. These anchovy and cheese stuffed pumpkin or squash flowers are quite quick to make at home too. Fill the flowers with a mix or paste of anchovies and mozzarella, cover them with a batter of flour, salt, and eggs, and deep fry them in oil till golden brown.

But of course, nothing can beat having them made by a local. So if you want the best Fiori di Zucca in Rome, head over to Goose. You won’t be disappointed. 😉

Aperol Spritz at Freni e Frizioni

An iconic beverage of Italian dining culture

Tori from Tori Pines Travels

When in Rome, there’s absolutely no way to avoid the Aperol Spritz. This drink is an icon, an integral part of the Italian dining culture. The drink is bubbly and refreshing with bitterness from the Aperol, an orange-flavored liqueur.

There is so much to know about visiting Rome, what to pack, and the sights you must see, but the most important by far is the dining culture. The Italian people have a cultural ritual called Aperitivo which is their version of happy hour but is taken far more seriously than you might think. This tradition is a time to have a pre-meal cocktail to “open” the stomach and prepare for a large dinner. They will have light snacks and socialize with friends, but the Aperol Spritz is the star of this meal and the most common drink to order.

Any bar in town will serve it, but I would start with a local spot, Freni e Frizoni, where they offer a free appetizer buffet with your drink. Or you can also try the Aperol Spritz at the rooftop bar at Aroma, looking out over the Colosseum, you can’t ask for a better view while drinking your new favorite cocktail.

Gelato at Come il Latte

The best gelato in Rome, and also the prettiest

Maggie from Pink Caddy Travelogue

1 Gelato at Come II Latte

If there’s one Italian food more necessary to a happy life than pasta, it’s gelato. Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream, but anyone who has gelato knows that is far more than just that. Gelato is made with more milk and less cream than regular ice cream, which, oddly, results in a creamier and smoother substance than the denser ice cream. Gelato also has less butterfat than ice cream, which allows the flavors to come through more clearly.

While there’s no shortage of “gelaterias” in Italy, not all are created equal. And of all of the shops in Rome, one particular gelato stop stands above the rest.

Tucked away on a quiet street half a mile from Termini is an unassuming gelateria called Come il Latte. The name means “like milk” in Italian, a nod to the incredibly smooth and silky nature of their gelato. The shop has been named the best gelato shop in Rome several times since it opened in 2014, and it lives up to the title.

All of their flavors are made from high-quality, fresh, and in-season ingredients, from Sicilian pistachios to Ceylon cinnamon. They have all of the class flavors, such as lemon, coffee, and dark chocolate. But they also have some out-of-this-world seasonal flavors (mascarpone with Gentilini biscotti, pineapple and basil, and ricotta with Sambuco and almonds). I like to keep things simple, and was blown away by the stracciatella and dark chocolate combo.

They also boast several non-dairy flavors for those who prefer to stay away from milk products.

But the best part comes after you pick your flavor. They fill each cone with fresh, fudgy chocolate, top it with the gelato, and they add your pick of flavored whipped cream, along with a decorative biscuit. Not only is it the tastiest gelato in Rome but, it’s also the prettiest.

Tiramisu at Two Sizes

Best tiramisu eeeever 😍

Andra from Our World to Wander

4 Tiramisu at Two SizesItalian cuisine doesn’t lack delicious items. And for sure it has some great deserts. Leaving aside the mouth-watering gelatos which you can find all over the country, tiramisu is undoubtedly a celebrity. One of the best tiramisus that I have tried in Italy is the one served at Two Sizes in Rome. It’s a small place that sells Italian sweets like tiramisu, gelato, cannoli, and various other pastries.

No trip to Rome would be complete without a stop at Two Sizes, especially given its convenient location, right next to Piazza Navona, on 88th Via del Governo Vecchio. And once you’re there, I dare you to eat only one tiramisu! Your buds will be screaming after more and more of this delicious dessert nicely served in both a small and large size (trust me, and head straight for the large size).

This yummy traditional Italian dessert is made of coffee, finger biscuits, mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder, egg yolks, and, of course, sugar. And it was created in the 1960’ in a region of Venice, although some say that it dates back to the 17th century. Thus, it is believed that it was created in Tuscany in honor of Grand Duke Cosimo III, under the name of Zuppa del Duca, and made with simple ingredients. As such, the two Italian regions fought for the title of the creation place of the tiramisu.

Tiramisu means pick me up, and its name is related to its mix of ingredients. Although the original recipe didn’t have any liqueur, there is now no Tiramisu without some alcohol involved. And the most commonly used one is the Marsala wine. You can now also taste various aromas, from Tiramisu with strawberries or with pistachio. And yes, you can eat them even in Rome.

So next time you are in Rome, make sure to stop at Two Sizes and taste a delicious tiramisu.

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  1. Oh wow, so many delicious looking dishes to try there. I bet you had a wonderful time trying all of the different foods.

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