Last month I spent a couple of days in Rome and had an amazing time, mostly due to the enormous amount of delicious food that I had during my stay. That includes pasta, pizza, gelato, coffee, snacks, drinks and so many yummy Italian treats!
This guide won’t be about what touristy places to visit when in the Italian capital. If you want to know some hacks about how to skip the lines for Vatican, the Colosseum, etc. then for sure read Lina’s Rome travel guide.
Instead I want to share with you some of the yummies places that we visited during our 5 day stay. The best thing about this though is that I will focus on authentic Italian cuisine that’s perfect for every visitor on a budget. Of course, the city has plenty of high-end restaurants where most meals would (or should) be quite delicious but also pretty pricy. However, sometimes smaller, cheaper places might offer a more authentic, homemade taste that’s definitely worth trying. Most of the places I discovered by researching online before our trip, others were recommended by locals.
For breakfast we usually went for a quick bite to coffee shops or pasticcerias close to our Airbnb near the Vatican. My advice would be to have different types of panini (sandwiches) depending on what you like. For me that was mostly prosciutto, mozzarella and tomatoes. But believe me there’s plenty of choice! One panini place that we went to and I definitely recommend is near the Vatican, called Borgo 139 ($).
Also, I cannot stress enough that you should definitely try croissants with pistachio cream! Something super unusual at least for me but so delicious! Combine it with an espresso and that’s what I call a yummy breakfast! You can try these at Giselda ($) or Dolce Maniera ($).
For lunch we followed a similar grab and go strategy as we were in a hurry to explore the city and its main attractions. However, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t try exceptional food and meals! Here are the key places that I recommend visiting:
- Trapizzino ($): to die for sandwiches or pizza pockets as they call them with different kinds of fillings like meatballs and tomato, pork and onion, eggplant, etc. We also tried the rice balls with fillings, which turned out to be pretty good too! You can find Trappizino at 7 different locations around Rome, we personally went to Testaccio and were super pleasantly surprised. Each sandwich is priced between 3-4 €, there’s also a wide choice of craft beers and wine. 5 stars for this place!!
- Pastificio Guerra ($): awesome grab and go pasta place which should definitely be on your to do list. It’s located right next to the Spanish steps, so if you’re in the area don’t miss out on the opportunity to try really authentic pasta. It’s pretty crowded during lunchtime but you will have the most options to choose from, otherwise if you visit in the afternoon as we did you might only select between 1-2 different meals.
- Pane & Salame ($): Another highly rated panini place that definitely lives up to its hype. There are limited seatings available inside but if you don’t want to wait for a table as we did, just get a sandwich on the go. There is plenty of bread options and fillings to choose from, so I think this place would appeal to any taste!
- Vitaminas 24 ($$): If you get tired of eating Italian only then head to Pigneto and check out this awesome place, where you can get plant-based meals, fresh tropical juices and delicious smoothies. I got a veggie burger from lentil and beans, together with an eggplant spread and an avocado-pistaccio smoothie. YUM! It’s a bit pricier than the other lunch places but I still think it’s worth it.
- Ce Stamo A Pensà ($): We randomly found this place while strolling around Monti and liked it so much that we came back the next day again. The staff is super nice and the food is just amazing. The Napoli pizza fritta, which is basically fried dough on top of which you put toppings was a new thing that we tried and loved. The panini wraps were also super delicious! I also tried one of my favorite Italian dishes – melanzane alla parmigiana (basically lasagna with eggplant instead of pastry), which was perfectly made! The prices are super low for Italy and the value that you get, the only downside is that are are no tables to sit, however for lunch it’s the perfect place for grab and go!
I think the holy grail of ice cream deserves its separate category in this post! Some of the best places that we bumped into (actually researched beforehand) were:
- Gelateria dei Gracchi ($$): dark dairy-free chocolate and maracuja were an amazing combo!
- Gelateria del Pigneto ($): if you’re in the neighbourhood, give this place a try as they have a great selection of interesting flavours. I went for chocolate and pistaccio
- The Gelatist ($$): Dark chocolate was amazing here as well! You can find that place in a few different locations around Rome, so definitely give it a try. We were craving gelato and found this place by accident but were very pleasantly surprised.
- Otaleg ($): If you’re in Trastevere, don’t forget to swing by this gelateria. So many flavors to choose from!
On our first night we went to a place nearby our Airbnb as we were super tired from waking up early for our flight and then strolling through the city’s main attractions throughout the day. The place is called Hostaria ($$), very close to San Pietro and offers a wide variety of Italian pasta and pizza. We tried both and liked them a lot! Also, the desserts looks super tempting (especially the tiramisu) but we were so full from the main courses that we couldn’t try them.
The following days we had dinner in Trastevere as we found this neighborhood to be really picturesque and cute for afternoon and evening walks. So here are some of the places that we tried:
- Mimi & Coco ($$) – perfect place for apertivo (6-9pm) if you can actually find a free table as it’s quite small and busy. Aperol Spritz is perfectly made and you also get some free snacks of your choice.
- Grazia & Graziella ($$) – we randomly ended up here because the rain surprised us while we were walking around Trastevere. Actually, it ended up being a really good place with delicious food and authentic vibe. We had fried artichoke and squid for starters and some delicious pasta for main course. I loved the gnocci with clams!
- Tonnarello ($$) – right across from Grazia & Grazziela, a super popular place where you would probably have to queue to get a table. Even Negin Mirsalehi was there the next day after we were 😀 Pasta was great and service was fast but it was too packed with loud Americans to be actually able to enjoy the atmosphere. I guess it might have just been bad timing but still the food was delicious!
And because I’m a very nice person, I’ve created a special google maps list for you guys with all these lovely locations to use on the go if you ever find yourself in Rome. You’re welcome!