Rome is a beautiful city with a history that spans more than more than 2,500 years with so many fascinating things to see and do – so much so that the wonderful culinary experiences you can have there sometimes get overlooked. Here are my top five tips for tracking down the best food and drink in Italy’s capital city.
1. The best Carbonara in town
Probably the best-known traditional dish from Rome is Spaghetti Carbonara and the Roscioli restaurant and deli on Via dei Gubbonari is reputed to serve the best in town. Booking a table is highly recommended, as this great restaurant is rather small and very popular with the locals. Ask for a table at the back as those in the front run alongside the deli counter. Advanced bookings can be made through their website.
2. Pizza by the slice and Piazza Bianca
For the perfect lunchtime snack, check out Antico Forno Marco Roscioli just around the corner on Via dei Chiavari. They serve very tasty pizza and pizza bianca, which is pizza without any toppings. It’s very moreish. There are a couple of tables and bar stools or you can buy a slice and eat it on the go.
3. Authentic artisan gelato
There are many great gelatarias in Rome and a few not so great ones! In artisan establishments selling hand made gelato only flavours that are in season will be available, so you won’t find strawberry gelato in winter, for example. Another great way to tell at a glance the likely quality of all the flavours is to check out the colour of the banana gelato, which should be cream, not bright yellow or pistachio, which should be pale brown with a hint of green but most definitely not bright green. My favourite gelataria in Rome is Il Gelato on Piazza Monte D’oro which has over 90 flavours to choose from including 17 varieties of chocolate, as well as many more unusual flavours, such as salted peanut and toasted sesame seed, both of which are surprisingly good.
4. The perfect coffee
It is said in Rome that the worse the view the better the coffee, although Sant’Esutachio Il Caffè, which is reputed to serve the best coffee in Rome, is on a pleasant piazza of the same name and the view isn’t at all bad.
5. Gourmet souvenirs
Without doubt, in my opinion at least, the stall of Monica and Jocelma in the market on Campo dei Fiori is THE place to find the best edible or indeed drinkable souvenirs of Rome. They will happily let you ‘try before you buy’ from their splendid collection of extra virgin olive oils, liqueurs, sauces and more. I strongly recommend that you try their aged balsamic vinegar; if you have not tasted it before you may well be pleasantly surprised by its sweetness; it would be quite at home drizzled over peaches and gelato.
A great way to discover more about food (and wine) in Rome is to join one of the many wonderful tours and tastings that are on offer. I can highly recommend Walks of Italy’s food tour and Vino Roma’s wine and cheese tasting, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed during my last visit to Rome.
Kathryn Burrington is Author of Travel with Kat.