When in Rome, eat like a Roman. And to know how and where, read on. This appeared on the Conde Nast Traveller website last month – where to eat on your Roman holiday
When in Rome, eat like the Romans do. Your safest bets are usually any of the places where locals eat. Even at the major tourist spots, stay off the restaurants and al fresco cafes just around them and wander into the bylanes to discover some gems. Apart from that, areas like Testaccio and Trastevere have some great family run trattorias and pizzerias. So put on your walking shoes, pick up a map and go fooding in Rome. And here are some tips from us to help you on your way:
When there is any mention of Italian food, pizza, of course, tops the charts. Unlike the pizza that many in India are used to, the toppings are not generous and crowded but they are all guaranteed to be fresh and melt in the mouth. Also remember that for Italians, pizza is a dinner dish, and so many pizzerias are open only in the evenings.
Pizzeria Da Remo always figures in lists of the best places to have pizza in Rome. Be ready to wait for a table but the buzz around the place will alert you to the fact that the wait is worth it. Try their scrocchiarella – crispy, thin crust Roman-style pizza with toppings of your choice.
Piazza Santa Maria della Liberatrice 44
Pizzerium, right outside Metro Cipro at the Vatican is another favourite with tourists. The toppings there can surprise you but they rarely disappoint – think prosciutto, ham, beetroot, onion, peas. Ask for pizza al taglio, i.e. by slice, as Romans like to eat.
Via Della Maloria 43, Metro Cipro, Vatican
For the best pizza bianca (white), just sprinkled with sea salt and rosemary, head to Forno Campo De’ Fiori. Or if your taste runs to tangy, then get the pizza rossa, topped with fresh tomato.
Campo De’Fiori 22
And now for pasta. Hostaria La Botticella in the Trastevere area has some local specialties, including the formidable rigatoni alla pajata – pasta with calf’s intenstines! But fear not, there are other excellent pastas including a spaghetti all’amatriciana with cured pork, pecorino cheese and fresh tomato.
Vicolo del Leopardo 39/a, Trastevere
Then there is Trattoria Da Danilo, known to be one of the best family-run trattorias in town and voted as having the best Carbonara – sauce made of eggs, cheese, black pepper, and if you wish, bacon – in Rome.
Via Petraca 13, Esquilino
If you wish to try another Roman specialty, then order suppli – fried croquettes with rice, cheese and meat – at L’Arcangelo. Their pastas are good but the suppli antipasti is said to be sublime. There is also a tradition of gnocchi (in amatriciana sauce) Thursdays, so look out for that if you happen to visit on that day of the week.
Via Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli 59/61, Vatican
And now for that perfect way to end the meal; gelato, creamy and delectable as you can find only in Italy. Most gelaterie offer you a choice of two or three flavours in the same cup, depending on your preferred size of the gelato. Ask for recommendations of which flavours go well together.
Romans can never agree on the best gelato in their city, but Gelateria Ciampini is generally acknowledged as one of the best. They are known for their chocolate, hazelnut and the rather unusual candied chestnut flavors.
Piazza de San Lorenzo, Lucina 29, between the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps
If you are a fan of ‘Eat Pray Love’, then go no further than San Crispino near the Trevi Fountain. There is another outlet at Piazza della Maddalena opposite the Pantheon. The subtle honey flavor and the light pistachio flavor will make sure that you never want to eat icecream anywhere else again.
Via Panetteria 42, near the Trevi Fountain