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There are few cities in the world that can match Rome for foodies. Rome has plenty to offer all kinds of visitors, but if you are a food fans this is a must-visit place. If you are planning a visit to the city, we strongly suggest that you add a few of the ideas below to your itinerary.
Enjoy a Walking Food Tour
Combining a walk with tasting local dishes is a fantastic way to see the city and enjoy some tasty food. We can tell you from experience that the best way to do it, by far, is to go on a guided tour.
Fortunately, Rome offers some excellent food tours. We can highly recommend the tours given by Walks of Italy. The guides will lead you to the best bites Rome has to offer and then round it off with a mini authentic pizza-making class. Molto bene!
Booking yourself one of these tours during your first few days in the city is a particularly good idea. Walking around the city is an excellent way for you to get your bearings at an early stage.
Not to mention the fact that you will quickly get an idea of the type of food that is traditionally enjoyed by the residents of Rome.
Take a Cooking Class in Rome
If you are anything like us, you love to learn to cook some of the tasty dishes you discover while on your travels. Over the years, we have had some fantastic experiences while taking lessons with local cooks.
A great example is Cooking with Nonna, which allows you to create an entire meal that you can subsequently enjoy with a real Italian Grandmother.
These classes are a great way to learn about the traditional dishes of Rome, as well as find out how to cook them. Best of all, you usually get to cook everything as well.
Provided you pay attention and take a few notes when you get home you can recreate some of the dishes for your friends and family. These days, it is surprisingly easy to buy authentic Italian ingredients online.
This allows you to faithfully recreate the traditional recipes that you learn.
Sample the Four Iconic Roman Pastas
As with many International cities, you can find pretty much every variety of Italian and international cuisine in Rome. But there are certain dishes that are iconic in Rome for foodies.
Pasta dishes Cacio e Pepe, Gricia, Carbonara, and Amatriciana are four that have originated in the city.
One common factor between these great dishes is the simplicity of their preparation. Roman chefs can prepare Cacio e Pepe to be creamy beyond belief, with just three ingredients: of pasta, pepper, and cheese. Spaghetti alla Gricia, contains just pasta, Pecorino Romano, black pepper, and guanciale (cured pork cheek).
Carbonara uses eggs for extra creaminess, combined with guanciale, pecorino cheese, and lots of black pepper. The one tomato-based sauce of the four is Amatriciana, made with guanciale, pecorino Romano cheese, and tomato.
Eat With a Local
A really great way to enjoy authentic Italian food is to let one of the city´s residents cook a meal for you.
Apps like EatWith are full of listings of ordinary people who regularly open up their homes to share a meal with tourists.
If you do not fancy eating food cooked by an amateur another alternative is to meet up with a locally-based private tour guide.
Provided you pick a good one and tell them you are primarily interested in experiencing the local cuisine they will usually tell you about some great restaurants and cafes.
This is a really good way to get away from the tourist areas, so you can enjoy the same food that the locals enjoy.
Visit a Local Food Market
While there are plenty of supermarkets in Rome, you’ll find the “real” Roman experience in the local food markets. You’ll find fresh produce, artisanal products (such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar), and other specialty food items. It’s also another great way to see everyday life and eat like a local in Rome.
One of our favorites is Campo di Fiori, one of the oldest markets in Rome. It’s open every day except on Sundays.
Enjoy a Meal with a View
Rome is a truly beautiful city, so why not look for a restaurant or cafe, with a view? There are plenty to choose from.
Among the best is Michelin-starred Aroma at Palazzo Manfredi. This classy restaurant has tables with spectacular views of the Colosseum. The food is wonderful and the view of the sun setting behind this iconic Rome landmark is one that you will never forget.
Naturally, this restaurant books up fast, so if you want to try it you will have to plan to do so well in advance.
If you are on a tighter budget, try Café Café, Via Dei Santissimi Quattro 44, instead. Here you get great tasting, traditional Italian food and a view of the Colosseum, provided you can get the right outdoor table.
Take a Chocolate Tour
If you do not mind spending a couple of hours on a coach, booking a chocolate factory tour that takes you to Perugia and Spoleto is a great option.
Perugia hosts Eurochocolate, an annual chocolate festival, during which stands line the streets offering chocolate, dried fruits, and other sweets. So they clearly know their chocolate.
These tours usually stop in the ancient city of Spoleto.
You get to see some of the beautiful countryside surrounding the city, learn all about chocolate making, and try some beautiful samples too.
Indulge in some Aperitifs
Italians eat dinner late – usually not before 8-9 p.m. This allows for a few hours after working hours for the Apertivo. Of course, you can get alcoholic drinks anytime in Rome. They’ll usually be served with at least potato chips or nuts.
The pseudo happy hour of Aperitivo offers much more, and all for just the price of your drink.
During this time, you’ll typically get served sandwiches and pizzas, and some places offer a full buffet of self-service appetizers. So, sit down with your Aperol Spritz, and graze away. Just leave room for your dinner at 9 pm!
Eat Fried Artichokes in the Jewish Ghetto
Carciofi alla giudia, or Jewish-style fried artichokes, are a specialty in the Jewish Ghetto Quarter of Rome. The ghetto dates back to 1555, when Roman Jews were ordered to live in a closed-off area next to the Tiber River.
A unique and delicious cuisine emerged within this walled area, and while the walls are long since torn down, the food traditions remain.
Other Jewish specialties to try include abbacchio alla Giudia (roast lamb with garlic and rosemary), stracotto (slow-cooked beef with tomatoes, and of course, hummus and falafel.
Tour the Wineries Near Rome
For wine lovers, there are some fantastic day trips to wineries. These leave regularly from strategic points in Rome.
Umbria, which is sometimes referenced as the next Tuscany, is within easy distance of Rome and boasts world-class wines. For a great tour of some smaller, owner-operated wineries in Umbria check out Gusto Wine Tours.
Abruzzo is slightly further, but also has great wineries. This region is known for the delicious Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
You don’t need to leave Rome’s province of Lazio to sample wines directly from the source. The majority of wines made here are white, from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes.
If you are a fan of Frascati you will particularly enjoy visiting the Pallavicini winery, which is located just 3.5 hours outside Rome.
Sample Cured Meats You Can’t Get at Home
No visit to Rome is complete without a shared plate of cured meats, accompanied with a glass of wine. Most people are familiar with Prosciutto and Pancetta. But it’s worth it to branch out and try some unique options.
Culatello is a very special product made in the Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia regions. The meat is cured in a natural casing in a more humid environment. The result is a rich and tender meat that just melts in your mouth.
Visit the Pasta Museum in Rome
The pasta museum is run by the Agnesi Family. They have been making pasta since 1824.
For food lovers, the museum is an interesting experience. Learn about the different types of pastas and their traditional uses.
The various displays take you through the entire pasta-making process from milling the wheat to making and drying the various traditional shapes.
Enjoy a Gelato or Two
Rome is a wonderful place for fans of desserts and cakes. You really must enjoy at least one Gelato, while you are in the city.
Hit up the Pastry Shops
The people of Rome love cakes, and there are many delicious local specialties for you to try.
Many of the best are available in the traditional surroundings of the Pasticceria Siciliana Svizzera, which is located at 10 Piazza Pio XI. This local pastry shop has a long history of delighting both locals and tourists alike. It offers numerous Romana favorites as well as sweets and pastries from many other parts of Italy.
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Enjoy the Best Coffee in Rome
There are wonderful bars and cafes in the city where you can get good coffee throughout the city. You’ll rarely go wrong with stopping into a random cafe. Coffee is so ubiquitous in Rome that every bar and cafe bartender has it down to a science.
If you want a specific destination, we recommend Caffe Fresco. Near Piazza Navona, this cafe is often pointed to for having the best coffee in Rome.
Remember that when you order un caffe you’ll get a small cup of espresso. In the morning, order a cappuccino…but don’t make the rookie mistake of ordering a cappuccino in the afternoon. It’s strictly a morning drink and you’ll get some strange looks.
Cool off in the Summer with a Granita
If you go to Rome in the summer, you really should try an iced granita. Similar to a sorbet or Italian ice, granita is made with sugar, water, and some sort of flavoring.
Coffee flavor is popular, as well as fresh seasonal fruit flavors such as strawberry or raspberry.
As you can see, Rome has a lot to offer the food lover. All you need to do now is to plan your trip!
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Follow this link for additional mouthwatering information about Food Tours and Cooking Classes around the world.