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.

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Delicious simplicity

Italian cuisine is famous for its carefully-selected produce, herbs and spices, prepared in a simple way. This ability to achieve excellent dishes through simplicity is very important to Italians, with delicious main courses consisting of as few as three ingredients! Italian food can be quite rich, as has been the tradition since thefamous feasts of ancient Rome where tables of the wealthy were laden with meat, cheese, fish and fruit, not to mention that Italian icon – olive oil Sauces were also extremely important, with garum, the most popular sauce of its time, made from fermented fish guts.

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Fortunately, modern-day visitors have a far more delicious selection to choose from. So, whether you are headed to Rome for a short city break or a longer holiday, be sure to taste the local dishes and delectable sweets. Wherever possible, steer clear of restaurants that are geared towards tourists in favour of places where locals head to dine. This is a surefire guarantee of good cuisine, full of traditional flavours. So what are Rome’s must-try flavours? Pasta, cheese and olive oil are a great place to start, however Rome’s foodie scene has plenty more to offer, starting with their tasty breakfast sweets.

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

Forget fried eggs and say ciao to cereal – it’s time to meet the real Roman breakfast, Maritozzo. This sweet roll filled with whipped cream is a popular breakfast treat here and is less sweet than you might expect. Another popular breakfast option is cornetto, a type of croissant made of puff pastry. Unlike the classic buttery croissant, this has a sweet filling, with pistachio being a stand-out option. Simply add a characteristically strong Italian coffee and you’re good to go, just like a local! If you’re not so much of a sweet tooth then a panini will hit the spot – enjoy with vegetables, ham or cheese. If you’re planning a day of intense sightseeing, go for street food like suppli to enjoy breakfast on-the-go. This rice-based fried snack is filled with tomato sauce, meat and mozzarella, complemented by aromatic herbs – absolutely delicious!

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

Lunch and Dinner the Roman way

A small table on the pavement in front of an eatery, the buzz of conversation coming from across the street, the last drops of wine at the end of a meal – these are the archetypal dining experiences in Rome. Linger a little longer after a hard day of exploring the city and a nutritious and delicious meal unrushed. Timing is important here, as all the most popular cafes and restaurants are full of people during the high season. So what is worth eating here? When it comes to starters, bruschetta reigns supreme. This garlic-rubbed toasted bread is topped with olive oil, tomatoes and basil, and sometimes comes with mozzarella or prosciutto too.

For your main course, enjoy typical Italian pasta or more precisely, pastas. Rome offers a dizzying variety of options, from the traditional to the unusual. A classic Roman pasta is cacio e pepe, which is. pasta served simply with pepper and pecorino romano cheese. Pecorino is also an important ingredient in another traditional Italian dish, carbonara, which is pasta with guanciale (pork) and an egg yolk-based sauce. The whole dish is sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

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

Another popular choice is, of course, pizza. Pizza al taglio is prepared on rectangular trays and is sold by weight. The seller cuts it into pieces with scissors into pieces and you can expect to find a near-endless list of toppings. The classic version is margarita, made with tomato sauce, cheese, and basil. Another delicious dish to sample in Rome is gnocchi. While many of us are familiar with the potato version, in the Italian capital, gnocchi is not made with potatoes, but with semolina or farina, along with Parmesan cheese. Onto ravioli, and these little pasta squares are filled with spinach and ricotta, with the addition of tomato and basil sauce. The flavours are sure to satisfy the palate of even the greatest culinary critic and you can also sample ravioli filled with meat and vegetables.

For something a little lighter, chicory, namely cicoria asparago, features heavily in the popular puntarelle alla romana salad. Other ingredients include olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic and anchovies. Roman cuisine also features plenty of seafood, fish and meat options – mainly pork, but also lamb.

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

Rome’s best desserts

Room for dessert? You should definitely try tiramisu, a dessert based on biscuits, coffee, and mascarpone cheese. Of course, Rome is also famous for its delicious traditional ice cream and the city is packed with family ice cream parlours using traditional recipes to create their ice creams and sorbets. The most popular ice cream brands in Rome are La Romana, who boast an extensive list of flavours, and Giolitti, a family brand, famous for their delicious cherry ice cream.

Woman eating ice cream on the backround of Rome © iStock
Woman eating ice cream on the backround of Rome © iStock
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Where to eat in Rome?

The best recommendations come from locals, but you can find tasty suppli at Supplizio (Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 143) and Suppli Roma (Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 137). For a sweet breakfast and great coffee head to Forno Feliziani (Via Candia, 610). A popular place to buy pizza by weight is Pizzarium Bonci (Via della Meloria, 43), while mmeat lovers should visit Osteria Luci in cucina (Piazza Pasquale Paoli, 15). Trattoria Da Enzo al 29 (Via dei Vascellari, 29) offers a good lunch or dinner at an affordable price.

One of Rome’s most iconic cafes is Antico Caffe Greco (Via dei Condotti, 86), which was visited by great artists, including Goethe and Mickiewicz. The cafe has been operating since 1760 and is still visited by world-famous stars, as well as local residents and tourists. Its interior is spectacular, however prices here are a little high.

Rome has many flavours and it is impossible to taste them all on a short visit. However, a few traditional Italian dishes will help you learn the secrets of local cuisine and have you book your return trip to Rome to taste even more!


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