Rome has a rich culinary history and a diverse selection of dishes that combine modern innovation with elements of its ancient culture. The family-owned restaurants, trattorias, or more casual ones, osterias, offer an authentic Italian dining experience.
Join us as we uncover Rome’s finest trattorias, osterias, and must-try dishes, and explore the vibrant street food scene.
Must-Try Roman Dishes
Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e Pepe, which translates to “cheese and pepper,” is a classic Roman pasta dish that is straightforward and delicious. Its appeal is in its simplicity, with a creamy and flavorful taste that comes from using Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper.
Carbonara is a well-known pasta dish from Rome. The flavors of eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, guanciale (cured meat from Italy), and black pepper come together beautifully in this dish. It is a true staple of Roman cuisine, creamy without the need for cream.
Amatriciana, a tomato-based sauce with guanciale and Pecorino Romano cheese originated in Amatrice. It has a rich, robust flavor and is usually served with bucatini pasta.
The word “jump in your mouth” refers to the flavor of saltimbocca, a savory veal dish typically cooked in wine and wrapped with prosciutto and sage. This dish is a must-try for those who enjoy meat because of its mouthwatering flavors and textures.
Carciofi alla Romana and Carciofi alla Giudia
Roman cuisine is replete with variations on the classic artichokes, but these two stand out in particular. While Carciofi alla Giudia is deep-fried and provides a crispy and distinct flavor, Carciofi alla Romana is filled with herbs and cooked until soft.
Trippa alla Romana
A dish with deep historical roots in Rome’s culinary tradition is trippa alla romana. Made from the lining of a cow’s stomach, it is a quintessential example of the “quinto quarto” tradition, which was the clever transformation of less delicious cuts of meat into mouthwatering dishes. The tripe has a surprisingly mild and delicate flavor thanks to its simmering in a rich tomato sauce with mint and Pecorino cheese.
Coda alla vaccinara
Another dish from the quinto quarto tradition is coda alla Vaccinara. I simmer oxtail for several hours in a mixture of tomatoes, wine, onions, carrots, and celery, which results in a hearty meal. As a result, the meat stew turns out to be tender and flavorful, with the best parts of the meal typically located near the bones.
Abbacchio allo Scottadito
Abbacchio allo Scottadito is a classic springtime dish that is especially well-liked around Easter. It is made of young lamb cutlets marinated in garlic, rosemary, and olive oil and then grilled until charred. “Scottadito” translates to “burned fingers,” implying that the lamb is so good you will want to wait for it to cool down before consuming it.
Discovering Roman Trattorias and Osterias
Rome’s dining culture revolves around its trattorias and osterias. These welcoming, family-run restaurants serve classic Roman fare in a comfortable setting. They are ideal for taking in the food and culture of the area.
Trattoria Cadorna has been serving traditional Italian dishes since 1947. It has been our go-to place whenever we are in Rome. With its delicious Mediterranean cuisine and classic menus, it’s a place that never disappoints during our trips through Italy.
Osteria de Memmo
Osteria de Memmo, located just a few steps from Piazza Navona, is another must-visit spot for us in Rome. The restaurant’s commitment to using seasonal ingredients shines through its array of traditional dishes, each bursting with flavor and authenticity.
Pasta alla carbonara and saltimbocca alla Romana are two traditional Roman dishes served at Hostario Romana, which is close to the Pantheon. It is an excellent place for a substantial meal because of its assortment of meat and fish dishes and daily specials.
Trattoria Da Teo
Trattoria Da Teo, located in Trastevere, away from the tourist crowd, is well-known for its informal, traditional Roman cuisine. You should not miss their homemade desserts, buffalo mozzarella, and Torino di puntarelle.
La Campana is famous for being one of Rome’s oldest trattorias, if not the most senior. Established in 1518, it has played host to notable figures such as Caravaggio and Picasso. It is a must-visit for those looking for an actual Roman dining experience, known for its homestyle cooking and traditional dishes.
Grazia & Graziella
Grazia & Graziella, located in the center of Trastevere, also has a funky but relaxed vibe. Reminiscent of Grandmother Grazia’s recipes, this family-run trattoria offers genuine Italian cuisine at affordable costs. It is the ideal location for late-night meals because it is open until morning.
Exploring Roman Street Food Supplì
A trip to Rome’s food scene would not be complete without sampling Supplì. These are balls of fried rice, usually stuffed with mozzarella, tomato sauce, and occasionally meat. Locals love them as a snack because they are gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Pizza al Taglio
Pizza al Taglio, or pizza by the slice, is ideal for eating on the run. This Roman pizza differs from the classic Neapolitan pizza because it has a thicker crust and more toppings. It is a tasty and easy way to eat pizza.
Seasonal Delights in Roman Cuisine Puntarelle
Puntarelle, a chicory, is a wintertime favorite in Rome. This dish, which highlights the seasonal produce of Rome, is refreshing and slightly bitter and is typically served in salads with a dressing of garlic and anchovies.
A classic Italian meat dish is porchetta, a flavorful, fatty, moist, boneless pork roast. It is usually served in slices as a main course or in sandwiches and is heavily seasoned with garlic, herbs, and spices.
Experiencing Roman Desserts
Although it is not a native of Rome, tiramisu has become a popular dessert on Roman menus. Try this must-try coffee-flavored dessert: ladyfingers dipped in coffee, layered with whipped egg, sugar, and mascarpone cheese mixture, and flavored with cocoa.
With gelato, a trip to Rome is complete. Compared to other brands, Italian ice cream has a more prosperous, creamier texture and more robust flavor. It is the ideal way to cap off a Roman dinner, offering a variety of flavors from traditional to inventive.
Rome has a rich and varied culinary scene, just like its history. The city offers a culinary adventure, everything from traditional pasta dishes to inventive artichoke preparations and from quaint trattorias to lively osterias. Rome’s culinary treasures will tantalize your taste buds and leave you with lifelong memories, whether you are a real foodie or a curious tourist.