To truly experience la dolce vita in Rome, you’ll need to make time for some delicious Italian delicacies! As iconic as the city’s important Roman monuments, it’s no wonder that Italian food is popular worldwide. Local Roman cuisine is a unique blend of tastes and aromas, seasoned with a generous pinch of love. Here’s our pick of the best of Rome’s foodie culture.

We invite you on a culinary city break to the Eternal City,  Rome, where every bite is a journey through flavours and aromas. Read on to learn which Italian dishes should be on your must-try list. 

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Delicious simplicity

Italian cuisine is famous for its carefully selected ingredients and seasonings, although you’ll tend to find that the dishes are not overly complicated. Simplicity counts here, and a main course may consist of just three ingredients. It may sound simple but this is more than enough to make an Italian dinner really special. 

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Rome is filled with dining options at  every turn. However, rather than head to a restaurant that is geared towards tourists, we recommend trying the places where  locals eat. This will guarantee you good food that is packed with traditional flavours. 

Italian cuisine is about more than just food –  it is a true philosophy. It is based on simple but high-quality ingredients that are prepared with passion and care. From sweet breakfasts to filling lunches and exceptional desserts, in Italy, every meal is a true celebration of life.

A group of friends over breakfast and traditional milk coffee © iStock
A group of friends over breakfast and traditional milk coffee © iStock

The best breakfasts in Rome

An authenticRoman breakfast is sweet. Maritozzi are buns topped with whipped cream and reign supreme on the breakfast table. These soft, fluffy and sweet treats are perfect to start your day, or enjoyed as a tempting afternoon snack. The delicate aroma of vanilla and lemon zest gives them their unique flavour.

Another popular choice for breakfast is the cornetto,  a croissant made from puff pastry. Similar to a classic French croissant, the cornetto can be served in many ways and is often filled with cream, jams or chocolate, or simply served plain with coffee or tea. Insiders say that the very best  version is pistachio, accompanied by a bracing shot of espresso.

If you prefer a savoury breakfast, then you can opt for a classic Italian sandwich. Panini are thick slices of bread, baked or grilled with a crispy crust on the outside and a soft, fluffy centre. Traditionally, panini are stuffed with combinations of ham, cheese, salami, vegetables, olives or olive oil. Another excellent savoury breakfast is supplì – a traditional Roman rice croquette stuffed with cheese.

Woman enjoying the Italian view while driking coffee © iStock
Woman enjoying the Italian view while driking coffee © iStock

Lunch and Dinner the Roman way

Lunch and dinner in Rome are never just ordinary meals. They are an experience and a taste of the true Italian way of life – unhurried, in good company, with tasty filling dishes and the best wine, surrounded by the bustle of the city. 

Starters include a simple bruschetta, which is toast with olive oil, tomatoes and basil, sometimes served with mozzarella or prosciutto ham. 

One of  the numerous ranges of pasta dishes always  works well as a main course. A classic Roman offering is cacio e pepe, or pasta with pepper and pecorino romano cheese. This cheese is also an important ingredient in another traditional dish, carbonara. It is pasta with guanciale (pork jowl) with an egg yolk-based sauce, with the entire dish topped with Parmesan cheese.

Woman eating a meal with a glass of wine © iStock
Woman eating a meal with a glass of wine © iStock

If you are not a pasta lover, look instead to the dazzling array of pizzas. In Rome, al taglio is king. This is a pizza prepared on rectangular trays and cut into pieces by the vendor with scissors before being sold by weight. 

You can also try gnocchi, typical Italian dumplings,, which in Rome are not made with potatoes but with semolina. Ravioli, small dumplings of  spinach and ricotta or meat and vegetables, topped with a tomato and basil sauce, are also  heaven in your mouth. 

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Prefer something lighter? A puntarelle alla romana salad with radicchio will work perfectly. Toppings include olive oil, wine vinegar, garlic and anchovies.

Feast in a traditional Roman street © iStock
Feast in a traditional Roman street © iStock

Rome’s best desserts

After a satiating lunch, ake a stroll around Roman monuments, before making a pitstop for dessert. Be sure to try tiramisu, a dessert based on sponge cake, coffee and mascarpone cheese. 

Woman eating ice cream on the backround of Rome © iStock
Woman eating ice cream on the backround of Rome © iStock

Cannoli are crispy tubes of dough, filled with sweet ricotta cream, sugar and toppings such as chocolate pieces, orange peel and nuts. These are a popular dessert in many cafes and patisseries in Rome.

On hot days, check out one of the many ice cream parlours serving traditional gelato. The most popular ice cream in Rome is sold under the La Romana banner and you’re sure to be surprised by their selection of original flavours.

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Where to eat in Rome?

Breakfasts

  • Supplizio, Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 143
  • Suppli Roma, Via di S. Francesco a Ripa,137

Lunches/dinners

  • Forno Feliziani, Via Candia, 610
  • Pizzarium Bonci, Via della Meloria, 43
  • Osteria Luci in cucina, Piazza Pasquale Paoli, 15
  • Trattoria Da Enzo al 29, Via dei Vascellari, 29

Desserts

  • Antico Caffe Greco Via dei Condotti, 86

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