Just because we made the most of our Airbnb flat eating breakfast or dinner on our terrace we still explored the Roman food scene while we were staying in the eternal city!
Here’s a little food guide to help your hunger around Rome whether you happen to be in the very touristy areas or more remote neighbourhoods .
- Typical Roman breakfast at Laterano Caffè
If you’re interested in seeing something other than the Colosseum or the Vatican when in Rome, go check out the Lateranense Palace where popes used to live. It is a very friendly area and we happened to be there around the time of their annual music festival (beginning of may). Because we’re always hungry (at least I am!) we grabbed a typical Italian breakfast at a friendly café, Lateran Caffè, where they serve Lavazza coffee (my all time favourite!). You can get it in all forms, including iced which they make using a cocktail shaker, but I always stay classic and ask for a cappuccino. You’ll be happy to know that it is one of the best cappuccinos I have ever had and it only cost 1.20€! In terms of pastry, you cannot stay in Rome and not try cornetto alla crema: a type of croissant but filled with cream, jam, or chocolate hazelnut spread (that tastes much more hazelnutty than Nutella!).
Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano 52/54, 00184 Roma
- Lunch by the Trevi Fountain at L’Antico Forno
The location of this place, just by the famous and touristy Trevi Fountain could trick you into believing it’s a tourist trap, but I promise you: it’s definitely not. It is an Italian “épicerie” where you can buy local produce but also grab some lunch to go. Ask for a focaccia with salami and cheese and they’ll throw it in an oven to heat up for 2.50€! (get a hot sandwich!) Grab your lunch and walk away from the fountains to find some steps to enjoy your lunch, away from the crowd and in the charming little streets of Rome.
Via delle Muratte, 8, 00118 Roma
- Gelato Fantasia
People rage about Giolitti, a central, massive and very crowded gelateria. Don’t get me wrong, their gelato is great, and they have many, many flavours, but their reputation and the crowd means they can sell at a higher price and their staff can be rather rude. Plus, the cone which isn’t even homemade, frankly tastes mediocre. I would rather recommend Gelato Fantasia, a small but really cute gelateria near the Circo Massimo, located on a quiet road and where only Italians come. Two scoop for under 2€ in a delicious crunchy cone and your day is made!
Il Gelato Fantasia
Viale Aventino, 59, 00153 Roma
- Pizza Loft
This place which does take away pizza, happened to be at the corner of the street from our building. It was absolutely perfect for eating dinner on our pretty terrace while enjoying the sunset. It isn’t your typical fresh round pizza but rectangular ones, of all flavours, and the price is proportional to the weight you get. They’ll heat them up for you, before sealing them safely in a pizza box. Some people like to eat in, and order a wooden platter of small slices of various flavours. We opted for a pesto and buffala mozzarella one because we’re suckers for basil and paid less than 7€ for enough pizza for 3!
Via Acqui, 32, 00183 Roma
- Pasta at Roscioli
This trip was Sarah’s second trip to Italy. She had explored Verona and Milan on her previous one and kept telling us the best pasta carbonara she had ever had was in Milan… Until Roscioli. This restaurant, located in the hip neighbourhood of Campo, is on the fancier side compared to many places we went to, but it is still very much affordable considering you’ll eat the best pasta you’ll ever try for less than 14€. It is obviously very popular and you can’t hope to eat there, especially on the week-end, unless you’ve made a reservation. We showed up at the time of our booking and were led to the downstairs area. The whole restaurant decor is composed of Italian produce and shelves and shelves or wine. Sarah ordered her pasta carbonara while Jess and I opted for the Roman classic Cacio e Pepe, a dish I’m still surprised I had never tried before… The spaghetti were completely homemade, and had the most delicious yet original texture in addition to their bright yellow colour. The combination of pecorino and pepper is a match made in heaven and it was a battle to finish our plates, not because it wasn’t incredibly tasty, but because they are very, very generous with the portions. And let’s admit it: Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe aren’t the lightest pasta dishes out there. We all agreed after leaving the restaurant that if we were to ever come back to Rome (and we will!) we’d immediately book a table there again.
Roscioli (make sure to book!)
Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22, 00186 Roma
- Tiramisù at Pompi
When picking an Airbnb in San Giovanni, we mostly wanted to be surrounded by Italians and have an insight of true Roman life and that’s what we got. We arrived at our airbnb around 8.30pm and the first place our host recommended was Pompi, a dessert café open until 2am which supposedly served the BEST tiramisù in all of Rome. We took his word and headed out to explore San Giovanni at 10pm. We quickly identified Pompi by the crowd of young people outside, enjoying the fresh air and the vibrant atmosphere. We sat inside and managed to order in Italian 3 tiramisù: 2 classic ones and a hazelnut one (they have all sorts! strawberry, pistachio etc). And the tiramisù really does live up to its reputation… the BEST tiramisù I ever had! And it’s only 4€! No matter where you’re staying in Rome, you must go late at night, when the ambiance is at its peak. It’ll be worth the journey 100% !
Via Albalonga, 7, 00183 Roma
I hope this food guide will make you long to visit Rome, even if it’s just for the food. It truly is an amazing city, and Italian cuisine is one of the best in the world (even better than French and Vietnamese?).
Let me know if you happen to go to one of the places recommended in this post!