Carbonara, cappuccino, cannolli, suppli, sfogliatella, pizzette, tiramisu, espresso con panna, gelato and saltimbocca.
Normally when I travel I’ll come back and excitedly write a post on the entire city; everything we did, everything we saw and experienced. But Rome, it had to be the food.
We stayed in Trastevere, once a sleepy little neighbourhood across the Tiber River filled with narrow streets, quiet ristorantes and few tourists. Now, it’s been discovered, developing into another busy area attracting everyone looking for the ‘authentic experience’. Nonetheless Trastevere is still lovely, filled with cobblestoned side streets lined with crumbling buildings with faded paintwork…and fabulous food.
Breakfasts and Pastries:
Caffè Trastevere di Ela Bar
I’m not often one for brand loyalty but I visited this caffe every morning without fail for a wicked espresso and a couple of pastries to take back to the AirBnb. Filled with locals but more than happy to decipher my terrible attempts at Italian. In the morning they served delectible treats from cannolli filled with nutella, sticky pastries with custard or jam, apple topped doughnuts and traditional French croissants. At about midday the range shifted to cream filled choux pastry, fruit topped marvels and apple cake!
Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti
I saw the reviews for this artisanal Biscottificio and had to visit! I felt a little like a fish out of water (I need to learn more Italian!) but the range was amazing, we tried a few biscotti studded with intense toasted almonds – lovely!
Street food and Lunch:
I’m still in Trastevere dreaming of a multitude of fantastic pizza varieties, from courgette flower and anchovy to simple mozzerella, basil and fresh tomato. Although the pizza was some of the best I’d ever tasted the suppli balls were the showstopper of the operation. Suppli are a staple lunchtime treat of rice, cooked in a rich tomato sauce (sometimes meaty like bolognese), formed into a ball with mozzerella in the middle then crumbed and quickly deep fried to perfection. Oh and did I mention it’s one of the cheapest places we visited? It’s so worth the visit!
Between the Colloseum and Termini Station we found this absolute gem of a pizzeria. One of a small chain of restaurants, Trieste sell pizzetta which are basically individually sized pizza, topped with either traditional or ingenious toppings on a crispy little base. My favourite was a surprising combination of fiordilatte mozzarella cheese, penny mushrooms, taleggio cheese, walnuts and oregano – simple.
Dinner in Testaccio:
Flavio al Velavevodetto
Off the beaten track we visited Testaccio, having heard it was much like Trastevere but with far fewer tourists. In the hunt for the typical, “Roman experience” we ate at Flavio al Velavevodetto, an osteria con cucina. Sorrounded by Italian speakers we felt we had achieved our goal and to follow it through we went for two simple typical pasta dishes, cooked to al dente perfection. I loved the restaurant itself, lined with wine bottled and low ceilings!
Craft Beers and Gelato
Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà
Stroll into Trastevere over the Ponte Sisto bridge and be sure to walk past all of the obvious bars, full of tourists drinking overpriced cocktails. You’ll quickly find Via Benedetta, the Roman home of craft beer in my opinion. Sitting opposite two other craft bars (Bir and Fud is also fab), Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà is a great hole in the wall place, selling a huge range of craft beers from all over Europe. Be warned though, after a long day in the sun you’ve got to read the %abv. because they sell some dangerous strength beer!
Conveniently, just the other side of the Ponte Sisto bridge you’ll find some great gelato at Punto Gelato! We were on the hunt for the best darkest chocolate gelato and I think this was my favourite. Gelato is traditionally made to be a dense and rich ice cream with only link, cream, sugar and good quality flavourings. Interestingly, in Italy, by law, gelato must have at least 3.5% butterfat (glad I didn’t know that fact a week ago!) hence the real richness of the flavour. Many places try to sell any ice cream as gelato but you’ll quickly recognise the real deal. Our favourites were Ecuadorian dark chocolate, salted caramel and pistachio!