The main reason Rome has remained at the top of my bucket list for years? THE FOOD! I wanted to dine on all of the pasta, pizza and gelato that my stomach could contain! Here are all of the details on the Food in Rome, starting with  my favorite restaurants and ending with a few things I noticed while dining in Rome.

Caico De Pepe

I added the Caico De Pepe restaurant to my “must try lists” on the recommendation of a fellow Houston blogger.  Then I saw that it received the stamp of approval from Anthony Bourdain so I knew I had to go! Named for the signature dish caico de pepe, the restaurant is popular with locals and offers a simple menu in a casual setting.  Hands down my favorite stop of the trip and that dessert?! I could not find the name of it, but it was heaven!

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Couldn’t get a great picture of it, and not sure what it was, just know it’s delicious!

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Hosteria Grapolo d’oro

Another recommendation from a friend, this was probably the fanciest of the restaurants we visited during our visit.  I dined on tagliolini pasta, beef cheeks and a pistachio parfait.  My sister also ordered a beautiful cheesecake. Each course was delicious!  Reservations are recommended here.

Fridgarium Rome

Gelato is everywhere in Rome, but at Fridgardium you can get your gelato dipped in chocolate!  I literally ate gelato every day during my trip and this just happened to be my favorite.

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Dipped in white chocolate.

Eatly

Before you ask, Eatly was founded in Rome by an Italian man and licensed to Mario Batali for the American locations.  So the Italy locations have no connection to the disgraced Batali.  We visited the smaller Eatly location in the Repubblica Piazza near closing time.  This place really has everything you can imagine and is a great place to grab souvenirs for the foodies in your life.   Besides souvenirs, the cafeteria setup allows guests to grab food from various sections like a sandwich/panini bar and a dessert and pastry bar!

Tiramisu Zum

It is no surprise that these coffee loving Italians also love a coffee flavored dessert like tiramisu.  I found Tiramisu Zum a spot that pretty much only sold Tiramisu after dinner one light.  The concept was similar to American cupcake bakeries.  As such there were several different spins on your traditional tiramisu including one with rum.  It was so pretty and tasty!

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Rum Tiramisu

Novana Notte

After our free walking tour, we ate at Novana Notte at the suggestion of our guide with members of our tour group.  It was great to speak in full English with someone else other than my sister, so I really enjoyed this dinner.   For the food, I ordered a great prosciutto pizza which was probably the best one I had my entire trip.

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Of course there was a glass wine with dinner most nights.

Fiumicino Airport

Just a random note, but terminal E in the Fiumicino Airport has a TON of good restaurants and high end shops.  If you have some time before your flight, I would suggest heading to the airport early and relaxing there.  The only thing I would say is do not get caught taking pictures in the airport like I did.   Apparently they have decked this airport out with these beautiful high end shops, but do not want people taking pictures in the mall portion for security reasons.  Go figure.

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Focaccia sandwich at the airport.

Things I Noticed

  • Two courses, a pasta course followed by a meat course is the norm here.  I only managed to do this once at Hosteria Grapolo d’oro.
  • Expresso is king, but Starbucks is unwelcome.  There are no Starbucks in Italy and I kind of like it.  Their expresso culture is not conducive to the grab and go Starbucks culture.  I say they keep the ban going and don’t let those pesky Americans change things.
  • Several guides told us drinking cappuccino after 11am just screams “I am a tourist.”  Italians think cappuccino is meant for the morning because of the milk.
  • Food in Rome is pretty cheap.  A guide told us never pay more than €1 for expresso, €8 for pizza and €10 for pasta unless it includes something like truffles or seafood.
    • One night we went to a Pizza Hut style delivery spot and ordered a whole pizza for just €4! We kept asking questions to make sure we were not just getting one slice.
  • Water and bread service costs at restaurants.
  • Portions are definitely smaller and the food seemed lighter somehow.
  • Most of the dishes were served lukewarm while in America we are used to piping hot food.
  • Brunch has not taken over just yet in Rome.  We went to a place that was attempting an American style brunch.  They get an A for effort.
  • Every restaurant seemed to have two or three different names.  One on google maps, one on their website/social media and a totally different one on the signage of the restaurant.  Keep that in mind as you are navigating.
  • Tipping isn’t necessary and you may be charged a service fee for dining in which kind of amounts to a tip.

The Takeaway

I did enjoy the food in Rome, but towards the end I found myself seeking a little more variety other than just pasta and pizza.  Next trip to Rome will focus on trying new dishes.  How about you guys? What are your favorite Italian dishes? Let me know in the comments!

For all of the posts from my Black Girls Who Brunch Guide to Rome, be sure to check out the main guide here.

The Rome Guide-The Food in Rome