Rome

A selection of must try dishes when in Rome

Rome holds a special place in our hearts. The culture, history and food here are so impressive that you are guaranteed to want to come back. That Italy is known for its good food is common knowledge. A visit to Rome is not complete without a carbonara, gelato, and tiramisu. However, did you know that the Eternal City has many more local specialties to offer? From suppli to cacio e pepe to maritozzi, here’s a selection of must try dishes when in Rome! We also list the best restaurants where you should try these local specialties.

Carbonara

A selection of must try dishes when in Rome: Carbonara at Tonnarello

Let’s start with a dish everyone knows: carbonara. It is a “creamy” sauce (without actual cream, as this is a sin in Italy) made of eggs, guanciale (Italian cured pork cheek), pecorino romano cheese and black pepper. While you’ll see this dish everywhere, none compare (or even come close) to the carbonara you’ll have at Tonnarello. The carbonara we ate here was extremely good, the best we tasted in Rome!

The pizzas here are also delicious, we decided to order one as an appetizer and we recommend you do the same! It does get very crowded here, even though they have many tables we definitely recommend arriving on time so you don’t have to wait for a table. Over 20 people were waiting in line for a table to become available! The prices here are very reasonable, especially for the quality you get in return. For € 9,5 you have a carbonara, a pizza also costs around 9 to 10 euros.

Where: Via della Paglia, 1/2/3

Cacio e pepe

Cacio e pepe at Roma Sparita

Italy offers a lot of meat dishes, but since Thysia doesn’t eat meat she chose cacio e pepe more than once. This dish consists of only 3 ingredients: pasta, pecorino romano and black pepper. It’s a very simple dish, which doesn’t make it any less delicious! Pretty much every restaurant we visited served a version of this classic, but there is one restaurant that really stuck with us. Roma Sparita has an unique way of serving cacio e pepe: in a bowl made entirely of grilled parmigiano reggiano. Heaven for every cacio e pepe lover! Whether you choose to eat the parmesan cheese bowl or not (which we do recommend if there’s still room in your belly!), the cacio e pepe in itself is simply delicious.

To be sure of a spot, we recommend booking in advance as they do ask for reservations. Even if you are not a cacio e pepe fan, a visit to Roma Sparita is a must. By the way, the vongole here is also fingerlicking good!

Where: Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24

Amatriciana

A selection of must try dishes when in Rome: Amatriciana at Da Enzo al 29

One of the most famous pasta dishes is amatriciana, one of the four roman pasta dishes. It is made with guanciale, tomatoes and pecorino romano. The best Amatriciana (according to us) can be found at Da Enzo al 29 in Trastevere. It is one of the most famous restaurants in Rome, which also explains the long wait times. They don’t take reservations, so being on time is a must!

When we came to dine here, we arrived almost one hour before opening. There were already 20 people waiting who were there before us. Fortunately, you could buy cocktails on the go at a bar right next to this restaurant, and half an hour before opening, you could also order drinks at the restaurant itself to ease the waiting. If you can’t make it in time for opening hour, we recommend to come really late (let’s say 10 PM) as most people that waited in line have had their dinner already. By the way, the other pasta dishes here are also delicious!

Where: Via dei Vascellari, 29

Alfredo

A selection of must try dishes when in Rome: Fettuccine Alfredo at Alfredo Alla Scrofa

Alfredo Alla Scrofa is the birthplace of the original fettuccine Alfredo. This pasta dish, prepared with parmigiano reggiano and fresh butter, is outstanding! The dish is prepared at the table, which makes it even more spectacular. Admit it, we all love us some great show cooking. 😉 Make sure to add some fresh truffle for the best experience of your life! The shrimp carpaccio with mozzarella, hazelnut and truffle is also highly recommended as an appetizer. We would also like to highlight the staff, everyone here was super friendly and helpful! Just for this we would come back already.

Where: Via della Scrofa, 104/a

Sandwich

Sandwich from All'Antico Vinaio

It may seem odd to see a sandwich listed among the must try dishes (especially in Italy), but trust us: once you’ve tried a sandwich from All’Antico Vinaio, you’re going to fully understand why. These were the tastiest, freshest, most flavorful sandwiches we have ever eaten! Now and then we still think about these delicious sandwiches. You get an enormous freshly baked schiacciata, filled with all kinds of meat (if that’s your thing), cheese and vegetables.

Don’t be surprised by the people you see here, there can easily be 30 people waiting in front of you. The wait passes relatively quickly, so definitely don’t let the line discourage you. A sandwich costs between 7 and 11 euros, but can be considered a full meal. You certainly won’t be hungry for the next few hours!

Choosing between all the delicious options is not so easy, especially given an overlap in ingredients. We recommend the Tartufo 4, with truffle cooked ham, mozzarella and cream of artichoke. A heavenly combination! The Vegetariana 3 with Gorgonzola, courgettes and sun-dried tomatoes is a must try for vegetarians. Of course feel free to try out others and let us know!

Where: Piazza della Maddalena, 3

Suppli

Suppli at Supplizio

In Rome, we discovered a new street food favorite: suppli. It is a deep-fried rice ball with tomato and mozzarella in the middle, soooo delicious. Our favorite spot for this amazing starter is Supplizio, a great spot to taste different variations of the suppli, think cacio e pepe, carbonara,… It is not expensive at all, the only drawback is that there are not that many seats here. Make sure to arrive in time for a place. They also offer some less-known street food dishes that were good, but as their name suggests, the suppli is what you want to come here for! We ordered 2 of every variation, but with the croquettes being so big this was a huge mistake. Our suggestion is, start small, and work your way down the menu step-by-step!

Where: Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 143

Maritozzo

Maritozzo at L'Antico Forno di Piazza Trevi

If you’re a Netflix fan like us, you may have seen this dessert popping up in the movie “Love & Gelato”. Before seeing this movie, we had never heard of this, and we were quite curious to see what it tastes like! A maritozzo is a long brioche filled with cream in the middle, and some powdered sugar on top. We saw this on the breakfast menu at L’Antico Forno di Piazza Trevi when visiting the Trevi Fontain (at 7AM in the morning!) and couldn’t resist ordering one.

The waiter immediately informed us that this could take about ten minutes, as they were freshly prepared and would come straight from the oven. This already sounded promising! About ten minutes later, the maritozzo arrived and… The first bite was an instant taste explosion in our mouths! The brioche was indeed still warm and the cream was so yummy! It’s also a much lighter bite than it looks.

Did we mention that at L’Antico Forno di Piazza Trevi you have a view of the Trevi Fountain while having breakfast? This is the perfect place to start your day! Definitely don’t forget to order a pistachio croissant, these are a bit heavier though so we recommend sharing a croissant and maritozzo. The Bellini here is also very tasty, and that for only € 5 in such a tourist spot! This was undoubtedly our favorite breakfast spot, the combination of the great food with an amazing view and each other’s companionship: we felt like we were in a movie. As with everything in Rome these days, come as early as possible to claim the best spot.

Where: Via delle Muratte, 8

Gelato

A selection of must try dishes when in Rome: Gelato

Rome has endless gelaterias, making it difficult to choose because they all look like “the real deal”. There are a lot of good ones (we tried a loooot of them since everyday it was 30+ degrees Celsius), but if we really have to pick a favorite it is undoubtedly Giolitti. Here you have so many flavors, both classics and creative flavors. Think champagne, caramelized figs,… Our absolute favorite was peach. It may not sound like the most creative taste, but believe us when we say this was extremely delicious!

The first thing we do when we return to Rome is get a gelato at Giolitti, and preferably the peach flavor. Don’t let the large queue scare you, as inside it goes really fast. You first order which size you want (and pay of course), they then hand you a receipt which you’ll have to hand over to the gelato maker (gelatorio?). Then you can order any flavor(s) you want!

Where: Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40

Tiramisù

Rome is packed with delicious places to enjoy the perfect tiramisù. There are two places that really stood out for us, making it difficult to choose which one’s best. That’s we recommend trying both. You won’t regret it!

A selection of must try dishes when in Rome: Tiramisu at Two Sizes

Two Sizes, as the name suggests, offers two sizes: small and big. The pistachio was our favorite, but we also liked the peanut butter. Choose a small each and try out several flavors! 

Where: Via del Governo Vecchio, 88

A selection of must try dishes when in Rome: Tiramisu at Pompi

Pompi offers the most delicious pistachio tiramisu, the portions are a bit bigger than Two Sizes, but it is so delicious that you will eat it in no time! The mascarpone is heavenly good, we still dream about it. There are several locations in Rome, so no excuse not to try Pompi’s famous tiramisù!

Where to stay in Rome

Looking for more Rome inspiration?

14 must do’s when visiting Rome
The most charming bars in Rome
6 days in Rome: Budget Breakdown

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