When in Rome…eat all the food!
With its history dating back to 753 B.C., Rome has had plenty of time to develop a rich food culture. And it certainly has done, with its cuisine steeped in Italian traditions that are the basis for a wide variety of mouthwatering dishes. While food from all around Italy has a well-deserved reputation for being some of the best in the world, Rome has some truly special delicacies that you can’t miss eating while in the Eternal City.
Make sure you’ve packed a healthy appetite for your trip – there’s so much fantastic eating to be done in Rome! Discover the foods you have to eat when you’re in Rome.
1. Pasta with one of Rome’s signature sauces
If you’re traveling nearly anywhere in Italy, you’ve got to have at least one heaping plate of pasta. When in Rome, you should try one of the city’s famous sauces, like creamy carbonara, cheesy cacio e pepe, or rich amatriciana. The most common pasta eaten here is spaghetti, but you’ll see lots of different shapes on the menu.
Though technically not pasta but often categorized as one outside of Italy, gnocchi are also popular in Rome, and are traditionally eaten on Thursdays.
If you’re a real fan of pasta, make sure to stop by the National Museum of Pasta (Museo Nazionale della Paste Alimentari).
Enjoy learning how to make your own homemade pasta with Gabriella and Simona, two friends who will teach you the secret to making true Italian pasta.
2. Carciofi alla giudia
This dish translates to “Jewish style artichokes”, and it’s one of the most popular dishes from Rome’s Jewish cuisine. Today, the best places to find carciofi is still in the city’s old Jewish quarter. You’ll eaten them fried in generous amount of olive oil and served when they’re still warm.
If you like this dish, you’ll probably also enjoy fried zucchini blossoms or pumpkin flowers, both of which also come from Jewish cuisine. Sometimes, you’ll see them on menus served stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella cheese.
Enjoy Roman specialties, including artichokes or zucchini flowers, on Daniela’s waling tour of the city’s best food hotspots. She’ll take you around and share tidbits about the city’s history, too!
You may also see this spelled as porketta, but no matter how it’s spelled you’ll enjoy this dish if you’re a meat eater. It’s a pork roast that’s stuffed with herbs, including garlic, rosemary, fennel, and more before being roasted slowly over wood for hours. You’ll often find it served as a street food sandwiched between crispy slices of pizza bianca.
Want to try porchetta in the most authentic way? Host Simona serves it at her Imperial Rome Experience, along with plenty of other dishes you won’t want to miss.
4. Roman-style pizza
Like pasta, pizza is another Italian staple that gets its own unique twist here in Rome. Here, locals like it served with a crispy thin crust and baked until it’s nearly charred, though you’ll be able to find just about any style of pizza you want. You’ll also be able to find served many different ways, from rectangular pieces eaten as snacks from tiny hole in the wall joints to elegant pizzas topped with seasonal ingredients at sit-down restaurants.
You can also try pizza bianca, similar to focaccia and sprinkled with salt, or pizza rossa, baked and spread with tomato sauce. Both are made of the same dough and both make delicious snacks.
Sandra will teach you how to make your own delicious pizza with her class in her home in Rome. Wouldn’t you love to know how?
The name comes from an Italian take on the word “surprise” in French (spelled the same as in English but pronounced differently). Fittingly, you may be surprised at how tasty these are! Suppli are small croquettes made out of rice, mozzarella cheese, and often tomato-based ragu sauce, though the fillings may vary a bit from place to place.
You’ll find them at most pizza places, and they’re one of the most popular snacks amongst locals.
Take on happy hour like a true Roman with our host David’s cooking class and happy hour combination, where you’ll get to try lots of local snacks and a few drinks while you learn some fantastic recipes.
6. Coda alla vaccinara
Oxtail stew may not be the first thing that jumps out on a menu to you, but this modern Roman dish is definitely worth a try. Its star ingredients are tender oxtail, pancetta, tomato sauce, celery, cloves and cinnamon, and sometimes…chocolate! Yes, bitter chocolate may be grated in in small amounts, giving the stew a sweet and sour taste that will have you craving more.
Feel the pull of Rome’s history with a dinner in an old Roman patio. Bastià offers a three-course meal with all sorts of wonderful traditional dishes to sample.
This dish’s name translates to “jumps in mouth” for a reason; it’s extremely tasty! Though many different countries have their own versions of the dish, including Spain, Greece, and Switzerland, the Roman version is particularly good. It’s veal topped with prosciutto and sage, which is then rolled up and cooked in a sauce of butter and white wine.
Saltimbocca is eaten as an entree, and if you order this you’ll want to savor every bite of it. If you enjoy veal, you may also like scaloppine alla romana, which is thinly-sliced veal dredged in flour and sautéed and served with baby artichokes.
Enjoy Roman food with Roman friends with Débora, who serves saltimbocca as part of her meal at her gorgeous home at the top of the Gianicolo with views of the Piazza Venezia. It’s all made with the very best local ingredients.
8. Crostata di Ricotta
The list of foods in Rome wouldn’t be complete without including something sweet! While we highly recommend a scoop or two (or more) of gelato, Rome has a dessert that’s party of the city’s history. “Crostata” means “tart”, and the version filled with ricotta and baked with a touch of citrus and Marsala wine. It’s a bit like a Roman version of a cheesecake, and the perfect way to finish off a great meal in Rome.
Try sisters Benny and Bula’s Midnight in Rome experience, with a special homemade dessert at the end to make your night one to remember.
No plans to travel to Rome anytime soon? That’s OK – we’ve got immersive food experiences with locals in 110 different countries. Our hosts are waiting for you all over the world. Choose your favorite experience, and they’ll take care of the rest. All you need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy. Explore Eatwith.