A Foodie's Guide to Rome

by Talia Klundt / Oct 29, 2013 /
Talia Klundt's picture

So I realized there is one place that I have not written about yet, one of my most favorite cities in the world, Rome.  Rome is where my love of travel first started and where I first studied abroad. Fast forward many years later, it still remains one of the biggest loves of my life. I am not sure where to even begin here as there are so many wonderful things to see and places to eat so I will do my very best to tell you my personal favorites.

 

When I first studied in Rome, I lived in Piramide, which I absolutely loved (and still do) because it feels like one of the last Roman neighborhoods left that is quite near the center. It is only about a 20 minute walk to the Colosseum. Every time I go back to Rome, I always go back because one of my favorite delicatessens, Volpetti, is located near there on Via Marmorata 47. It is in my opinion the best delicatessen you will find in Rome! They have the best fresh homemade pasta (try the homemade pumpkin ravioli), homemade artisan bread (such as kamut or spelt, which is hard to find), oils, cheeses, meat, and balsamic vinegar. I always goes there to buy balsamic vinegar, as they have such a large variety of balsamics and to buy my favorite cheese ever, Crutin al Tartufo, which is made in the Piedmont region. That is either my first or last stop while in Rome!

 

Volpetti - in A Foodie's Guide to Rome

Volpetti

 

Colosseum, Rome

Colosseum

 

When I moved back to work in Rome several years later, I was fortunate enough to live in Piazza Barberini, which I loved because it was in the heart of the city and it was a quick 15-20 minute walk anywhere I wanted to go. Despite the massive amounts of tourists, it was wonderful to be so close to Piazza di Spagna and Fontana di Trevi. I never did get tired of walking there. I worked in Piazza di Spagna and one of my favorite places to grab a glass of prosecco is Antica Enoteca on Via della Croce, 76. Here you can order a meat or cheese plate or a combination, but the best part is that they let you choose what you want on your plate and they have the best selection, which changes daily and the service is always outstanding!

 

Fontana di Trevi

Fontana di' Trevi

 

Although anywhere in Centro Storico is filled with tourists, it is not to say that you can't eat well or enjoy a nice glass of wine. Cul de Sac, Piazza di Pasquino 73, is one of my favorite places to eat in Rome, which is neatly tucked behind Piazza Navona. They offer small plates and a variety of appetizers along with at least 1000 different kinds of wines to choose from, you can even get prosecco by the bottle, which I always order! The cheese plate is fantastic, as you get to pick cheeses off the menu. This is the only place I have found in Rome where you can find Crutin al Tartufo besides Volpetti.The main menu also rotates depending on the season. I personally love their homemade pesto and pasta, but that is only available a few months out of the year, fortunately they had it last time I was there. Pretty much everything is amazing at this place and I highly recommend it. There is always a line, but it is well worth the wait. 

 

Cul de Sac, Rome

Cul de Sac (above and below)

 

Cul de Sac, Rome

 

Down the street from Cul de Sac, you will find yourself on Via del Governo Vecchio, which is lined with several wine bars and restaurants. Some are complete tourist traps, while others are not and are visited by locals alike. On this street you will find Coco e Mimi, Via del Governo Vecchio 72. This is both a restaurant and a wine bar and they serve great food or just stop by for a glass of wine! Right next door you will find Enoteca Il Piccolo Di Davoli Giancarlo. I love coming here for a glass of prosecco and to sit outside and people watch. If you come after 5:00, you will find yourself in time for appertivo. Appertivo is quite common in Rome, many bars will serve a variety of appetizers that you are free to take as long as you order a drink. They serve a great appertivo! 

 

Piazza Navona, Rome

Piazza Navona (above and below)

 

Piazza Navona, Rome

 

 

Further down the road and a few streets to the left and you will find yourself on Vicolo Savelli 13, which is where one of my favorite pizzerias is located, Le Montecarlo. I have come here for years, and although the service is a bit rough and abrupt, the food is fantastic and it just adds to the overall experience, a true Roman restaurant. I love the pizza with onions; I know it sounds strange but it's amazing when it comes out of that oven. If you are not in the mood for pizza, they also offer great pastas, my personal favorites being the pesto and caccio e pepe. 

 

Pizza at Le Montecarlo, Rome

Pizza at Le Montecarlo

 

Le Montecarlo, Rome

Le Montecarlo

 

Walking along the Pantheon you will find so many restaurants and bars, but if you walk around a bit and go towards the little side streets you will find a great enoteca where you can tables are made out of wine barrels. It is a very relaxing place to have a drink and you can see the Pantheon while you are sitting. Sadly, I cannot remember the name of it but it is only about two minutes from the Pantheon, so I encourage you to do a little walking around. Right around the Pantheon you will find Il Caffe Sant'Eustachio, which serves the best coffee and cornetti in Rome.  It is always crazy packed and you will find it Piazza di Sant'Eustachio, 82.

 

Wine Barrel Bar, near the Pantheon, Rome

Wine barrel bar

 

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon

 

Campo dei Fiori is simply beautiful, what more is there to say? It is such an old square with such a lively atmosphere. Make sure to stop by the daily market, which is held early in the morning till about mid afternoon. Here you will find everything you would want from meats, cheese, honey, fruits and vegetables, and much more! Located in the heart of the square is Forno Campo dei Fiori, which is an outstanding bakery. Here you will get the best paninis (sandwiches hot or cold) and slices of pizza. It is hands down one of the best and there is always a line, so come early!

 

Piazza Farnese, behind Campo dei Fiori

Piazza Farnese, behind Campo dei Fiori

 

In between the Pantheon and Campo dei Fiori, you will find Largo Argentina and here you will find my favorite Roman restaurant, Renato e Luisa on Via Barbieri, 34. This is truly a hidden gem - from the outside you cannot even tell it is a restaurant with the large wooden doors until you walk through the second door. I always get the same thing when I go here, the fiori di zucca con ricotta (stuffed zucchini flowers with ricotta) and the goat cheese rolled in honey and pralines. Then for my appetizer, I get the caccio e pepe. I think this is the best place in Rome to eat that - the homemade pasta is what does it, I am convinced. For dessert, I always get the chocolate molten lava cake. It never fails to disappoint, it is simply the best!

 

Stuffed zucchini flowers with ricotta - at my favorite Roman restaurant, Renato e Luisa

Stuffed zucchini flowers with ricotta

 

Caccio e pepe at my favorite Roman restaurant, Renato e Luisa

Caccio e pepe

 

Goat cheese rolled in honey and pralines, at my favorite Roman restaurant, Renato e Luisa

Goat cheese rolled in honey and pralines

 

Another great area for finding amazing food is Trastevere, located over the river. I have eaten here a countless number of times but again I cannot remember any names, which I know does not help you whatsoever. What I can say, however is that you should get lost in the little side streets, behind alleyways where it seems there is nobody around. Here you will always find great local family run restaurants. Stay away from the big squares and places that have menus posted outside, these are geared toward the tourists.  Getting lost is the best way to explore! There is one notable pizzeria here, and that is Pizza ai Marmi (marble) on Viale Trastevere, 53. Their pizza is at par with Le Montecarlo and I highly recommend this place if you are out and about in Trastevere.

 

Chocolate molten lava cake

Chocolate molten lava cake, to end a meal (and this guide...)

 

These of course are just a few of my favorite places in Rome but there are hundreds of other great places to eat it and discover! I'll be back to share more...

 

 

 

 

Talia Klundt is the Sweden Editor for Wandering Educators

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Talia Klundt