Food in Rome: what to try and where to eat | Elena Kazantseva's blog

Italian cuisine is one of the most popular in the world, the number of Italian restaurants in the world is just off scale. A variety of pizzas and pastas have already found their fans in the rest of the world. But Italian cuisine is far from just pizza and pasta, and gourmets know this very well.

Going to Italy, or rather to Rome , I tried to find as much information as possible about what to eat in Rome . It should be noted that even the cuisines of different regions of Italy differ – the cuisine of Northern Italy will be different from the cuisine of the South, the food on the mainland will not be the same as on the islands, for example, in Sicily . Therefore, after the trip, I prepared my list of Italian and Roman dishes that are definitely worth to try in Rome .

Snacks or antipasti

what to eat in rome
Prosciuto e melone – one of the most popular Italian snacks, a seasonal dish

The selection of appetizers in Rome is huge. Starting with a bruschette , it’s fresh toasted bread with olive oil and tomatoes, salad caprese , prosciuto e mozarella (prosciutto, i.e., dried ham with mozzarella), and my beloved prosciuto e melone (ham with melon) and ending such exotic dishes for us as fiori di zucca (zucchini flowers filled with mozzarella cheese and anchovies  and then fried) and carciofo alla romana (fried artichokes).

what to try in rome
Caprese salad – a classic of Italian cuisine, it is easy to cook at home!
what to try in rome
Prosciutto and mozzarella




where to eat in rome
Pasta alla Carbonara – considered to be Roman pasta.

Pasta is the second most popular Italian dish after pizza. There are a lot of pasta types: carbonara, bolognese, pasta with mushrooms, tomato sauce, pesto, pasta with seafood, etc. to infinity. Pasta alla Carbonara is considered to be Roman Pasta – with bacon, egg and cream sauce.  Another typical Roman pasta is Cacio e Pepe , which means “cheese and pepper” (respectively, this paste contains only three ingredients: pasta, Pecorino Romano cheese, and black pepper). And pasta is a first dish in Italy (primi piatti).

Second courses or secondi


Read also my author’s ITALY GUIDE


Probably the most famous second dish in Rome is Saltimbocca alla Romana , which means “jump in your mouth”, but in fact it’s insanely delicious veal baked with Parma ham (prosciutto di parma).

where to eat in rome
Saltimbokka alla Romana – in translation means “jump in your mouth”! Having tried, you will understand that it is not in vain that it bears such a name!

Lamb, rabbit meat, fish and, of course, seafood (frutti di mare) are popular in Rome. Also a traditional Roman dish is a Roman chicken ( Pollo alla Romana ), baked in white wine with tomatoes and peppers.



pizza in rome
Is there a dish more popular than pizza?

Pizza in Rome is probably the most popular dish. Pizza is presented here for every taste: fast food in the form of pizza on a thick dough, calzone (it is rather Sicilian pizza), pizza on a thin dough.

Pizza alla Romana , i.e. pizza in Roman style, is a pizza with artichokes. “Artichokes are the noble relatives of the thistle” – this is what the Internet gives us. Artichoke dishes are very popular in Rome. But, the taste of this “noble relative” is an amateur. Try to be sure to make up your personal opinion, and I will remain on the side of “not fans”.

eat pizza in rome
The same pizza with “noble relatives”

Pizza Margerita is Neapolitan pizza, but in Rome it is incomparable. This is a classic pizza, which consists only of tomato sauce, cheese and a leaf of basil (green, white and red, as the color of the Italian flag).

where to try pizza in rome
Pizza Margherita – the simplest pizza consisting of 4 ingredients: dough, sauce, cheese and basil!

It will probably take more than one year to try all the existing types of pizza in Italy, but everyone must taste several types.

Desserts or Dolci.

Tiramisu Pompy
Pompi Strawberry Tiramisu

What is the most popular Italian dessert? Of course tiramisu . Classic tiramisu is made with coffee. But only in Rome can you try strawberry, banana or pistachio tiramisu. Yes, not anyhow where, but in a confectionery with more than 50 years of history. Confectionery Pompi has several locations, one of which is next to the Spanish Steps. A special pleasure to sit on the stairs, tasting this incredible dessert.


Jelato rome
Everyone MUST TRY Italian gelato!


And the second popular “dolci” in Italy is gelato. It is Italian ice cream. Italian ice cream is rightfully considered the most delicious in the world. And despite the fact that the most delicious Italian ice cream is in Sicily, Roman is also very, very tasty. You can buy gelato at least where, it will be delicious regardless of the size of the gelati or the price.

Eataly department store in Rome

And in Rome there is a huge department store – three floors of food and everything connected with it. Fresh fruits, vegetables, olives, pickles. Cookbooks, baking dishes, pasta and ravioli machines. Endless counters with pasta, spices, drinks, pastries, a whole floor of wine …. You can list endlessly. It’s better to come and see with your own eyes. By the way, you can buy edible souvenirs there.

Eataly department store
At Eataly Department Store
Eataly department store in rome
There are only pastas in the Eataly department store – as many as 6 or 7 rows!
department store Eataly Rome Italy
Very curious types of pasta sometimes come across.
Eataly department store in rome what to buy
In Eataly department store you can buy spices – both by weight and packaged, for example, as a souvenir to relatives


The article “How to get to Rome from Fiumicino Airport” may be useful to you .


Where to eat in Rome.

There are countless restaurants, cafes, trattorias, pizzerias in Rome; choosing a place for lunch or dinner is not so easy, your eyes are wide. Many experienced travelers recommend choosing a restaurant in the Trastevere area, there you can find the real Italian establishments in which locals dine. Unfortunately, until we reached Trastevere, we had dinner at restaurants in the area of ​​Piazza Navona and Pantheon. Many people do not recommend this place due to the fact that it is a tourist place, the prices are too high, and the food is not very tasty. Perhaps this is so, once they even encountered poor service when they sat down at a free table, the waiter immediately ran up and told us “to go ask the manager if this table is reserved, and if we can sit down for it.” Of course, we got up and left. With another place, perhaps we were lucky.

So, if you are faced with the question ” where to eat in Rome “, then I can recommend the following cafes and restaurants:

La Scaletta,  Address : Via della Maddalena, 46, 00186 Roma, Italy

Here we tried proshiuto e melone, and different types of pizza, it was here that we liked homemade wine most of all (we took red).

Pummarola & Drink: Address:  Via della Maddalena, 16-19, 00186 Roma

The restaurant opposite La Scaletta, here is also quite decent food, we tried here Proschioto e mozzarella, Saltimboca alla Romana, and the very Pizza alla Romana, with artichokes. In comparison, the first institution liked more, but it is quite decent here, if you can not get to other areas.

Papa’s Cafè, Address : Via dell’Orso, 76, 00186 Roma, Italy

Home cafe, located near the Umberto I bridge. The cafe is small, but the service is excellent, they quickly accept and bring orders. I tried there last year Caprese salad and Margarita pizza. Pizza is one of the most delicious I’ve ever eaten. Fair.

Pompi Tiramisu, Address : Via della Croce, 82

Kingdom of Tiramisu, near the Spanish Steps, be sure to try! There are also bars in other areas of Rome.

Pastasciutta, Address:  Via delle Grazie, 5, 00193 Roma, Italy

A small fast food cafe, near the Vatican, where you can try several types of pasta for only 5 euros. Cook with you, you can sit at the counter or take with you. The portion is large and very tasty.

Eataly Roma Department Store Address: Piazzale XII Ottobre, 1492, Roma, Italy

In the department store you can not only eat, but also buy delicious souvenirs – pasta, spices, wine, cheese, prosciutto, cookbooks, baking dishes, etc. Must visit!

Food prices in Rome.

Food prices in Rome can not be called cheap, but nevertheless, for a tourist with an average budget, trying Roman dishes is an affordable pleasure.

Tiramisu Takeaway at Pompi Cafe – 4 Euros

Takeaway Pasta – 5.5 Euro

Fast food (pizza, calzone, sandwiches, panini, etc.) – from 2 to 5 euros

0.5l water in the supermarket – 0.35 euros (do not forget that in Rome you can save on water – just pour water into a bottle from fountains – drinking water, tasty and completely safe)

0.5l lemonade in the supermarket – 0.6 euros

Coca-Cola, etc. in tourist places 1.25-2 euros

Gelato 1.5 – 4 euros per serving

Coffee (Italians prefer espresso) 1-2 euros

Prices at restaurants in Rome

Dinner for two with wine 32-50 euros

Prosciuto e melone – 10-12 euros

Prosciuto e mozzarella – 8-10 euros

Pizza 7-12 euros

Saltimbocca alla Romana – 12-15 euros

Homemade wine – 8 euros per 0.5l.

Pasta, ravioli, lasagna – 10-15 euros

Desserts – 7-10 euros

Cup of coffee 3-5 euros

Also, do not forget that in Italian restaurants often coperto is included in the bill, that is, a service charge. Typically, it is 1-2 euros per person, and is included in the check. Italians themselves usually do not leave a tip, they only round the amount. But if you really liked the food or service, you, of course, can additionally thank the waiter.


If you are planning a further trip to Sicily, then you will be interested in information on prices for Sicily , as well as what to try in Sicily .

What Italian dishes do you like? And what do you advise to try? Share in the comments!

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