So, you’re in Rome. Or, you’re going to Rome. Or, you’re thinking about going to Rome. Or, it’s lunch time and you can’t leave your desk and looking at pasta is the best you’re going to get until you finish that spreadsheet. Congrats!! (On the Roman holiday...not the excessive amount of work.)
Rome is an unbelievably old city. So old that there are roads more than thirty feet underground that used to be the streets that ancient Romans walked on. After you see for yourself just how much lower Rome used to be on a tour of the Roman Forum, you’ll most certainly have worked up an appetite and there’s no better city in Italy to taste the entire country than Rome. Skip past those pizza vendors that will lure you into their shop with the promise of an under ten euro meal, and follow your tongue to where the natives go. Good Italian food is worth the hunt. As you wind your way through the cobblestone streets, fill up your water bottle from one of Rome’s natural aquifer water fountains. It’s ice cold, clear, and completely free! Just ask a local for the nearest “nasone” (or big nose) as they are affectionately called in the city. There’s even an app for that!
You’re hydrated, but hungry. We know. So let’s go chow down!
For a midday snack or early evening antipasti with a vibe that oozes coolness out of it’s clock-covered walls, Litro boasts perhaps the best wine selection and well-stocked bar that’s off the croc-laden tourist path. Not your typical Italian wine bar, Litro serves up more than charcuterie. Salads, panini, even sashimi grace their menu and the staff is more than happy to educate wine novices. Service marches to the beat of the carefree Italian heart, so stop here if you’re looking for a long afternoon filled with great flavors, local people-watching, and a thorough education on Italian wine and craft cocktails.
Trattoria Perilli is an authentic, old-school Roman dining experience. You are quite likely to be served by the 90-something year old owner who not only makes authentic Roman carbonara, but will serve you wine that you can only get in Italy. You won’t find many tourists inside these walls, but you will need to make a reservation to make sure you have a seat at the table. We also recommend the cacio e pepe, a simple, native pasta dish.
For the carnivorous, do not miss Roscioli. Part deli, part restaurant with a pastry shop around the corner, there’s something for everyone. If you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind dropping 90 Euro, you can even cook your own three-course lunch with wine pairings. Or just make a reservation in one of their four eclectic rooms and order the traditional Roman meatballs with a glass of one of their 2,800 wines. Don’t forget the charcuterie board either. After all, they are a fully functioning deli at the front of the restaurant.
Don’t worry. We haven’t forgotten about pizza. There’s a lot of bad pizza in Rome -- be careful! Or be prepared, and stop at Da Francesco in Piazza Navona. A spot that draws both sightseers and natives, plan to arrive for an earlier lunch and enjoy their crisp, Roman-style pizza. When you’ve had good pizza, you’ll never go back.
Fior di Luna
And finally, you haven’t been to Rome if you haven’t gotten a gelato the size of your face on a cone as thin as a pencil. There are a ton of options in Rome, and chances are, you won’t go wrong. However, if you want to go very very right, we recommend stopping by Fior di Luna by Ponte Garibaldi. They have been ethically sourcing their gelato ingredients for over 25 years and make their gelato without added sugar. Everything you taste is natural, including their fresh fruit gelati. We recommend the pistacchio, a Roman classic.
As you head out on your Roman holiday, there’s just two things left to say -- Vorrei (which means “I would like”) and Mangia! Let’s EAT!