Delicious Dishes in Rome that Delight Food Enthusiasts
The city of Rome, Italy, can be a culinary paradise for food lovers, offering a delightful gastronomic adventure. Beyond visiting top tourist spots like the Roman Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps, the city has so much to offer when it comes to food!
With over 13,000 restaurants and hundreds of dishes on the menu, Rome can be overwhelming for food enthusiasts. To discover the best delicacies in Rome, let’s explore some of the most amazing culinary experiences this city has to offer!
Delicious Dishes in Rome:
1. Spaghetti Carbonara
The undisputed king of Roman cuisine is the pasta dish alla Carbonara. Many Roman dishes inspire passionate debates, but Carbonara takes the spotlight. Everyone cooking and eating it has strong opinions about its origins and ingredients, but there’s one thing all Italians agree on: Carbonara should never have cream. It only consists of simple ingredients – salted pork, eggs, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese, and any pasta shape you prefer.
In general, this delightful Roman dish is made with spaghetti or Rigatoni pasta, guanciale or pancetta (types of Italian bacon), egg yolks or whole eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese or a combination of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and black pepper. The eggs are gently cooked to create a thick sauce that clings to the pasta, resulting in a creamy and velvety texture without being clumpy.
2. Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e Pepe is one of the oldest dishes in the region, a very simple combination of square-cut pasta, aged pecorino sheep cheese, and black pepper. Traditionally, shepherds carried these non-perishable ingredients on their harsh journeys deep into the Lazio countryside along with their flocks – pecorino cheese was practically the only ingredient they could use. When hunger struck in the wild, the shepherd folk would cook the pasta over a campfire, mixing it with cheese and black pepper, and there you have it, a classic Roman culinary masterpiece was born. Today, savoring your cacio e pepe at a traditional Roman eatery has become immensely popular.
3. Artichokes alla Romana and Carciofi alla Giudia
If you visit Rome in the spring, then you must put artichokes at the top of your must-try Roman dishes. In Rome, the unique addictive taste of artichokes has been a long-time favorite. The highest-rated ones are Carciofo Romanesco which is only in season during Spring, and in Rome, they are served in one of two ways.
The first style is called carciofi alla Romana – artichokes are split open and filled with mint, garlic, and parsley before being lightly steamed in a mixture of olive oil, white wine, and water. The liquid evaporates, leaving behind tender artichokes infused with the delicate flavor of the cooking wine. Served whole, carciofo alla Romana is an impressive dish – eating it is a refined affair, delicately pulling off one fragrant leaf at a time. The second style is carciofi alla giudea – Artichokes the Jewish style. Artichokes after carefully trimmed, are flattened to spread the leaves like a flower then deep-fried – when taken out of the hot oil they are crispy on the outside and tender inside.
If you’re looking for a sweet treat with a Roman twist, then you must seek out maritozzi – large, soft, sweet rolls filled with light whipped cream and often enriched with pine nuts, raisins, and candied orange peel. This cream-filled sweet roll has a noble heritage that dates back to ancient Roman times, but the name maritozzo conjures up a more recent tradition of young men gifting their beloveds with these sweet treats on the first Friday of March, adorned with sugar hearts and concealing a hidden ring inside.
Maritozzi were also the only sweet food that could be consumed in Rome during the austere times of Lent from the Middle Ages until the 19th century. And if you happen to be here on Maritozzo day, when you can start your free journey of discovering the city’s most famous sweet treat!
5. Pizza al Taglio
Pizza may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Italy, but pizza in Rome has a broader meaning and applies to a variety of flatbreads and individual round pizzas. In Rome, pizza al taglio is considered street food or fast food for locals. It is priced by weight based on the toppings on the slices or the type of pizza dough. Pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) is a characteristic Roman pizza type with a thick dough that is either prepared in a baking tray or shaped into long rectangles, then baked.
Porchetta is a slow-roasted whole pig, deboned and typically consisting of belly and loin, seasoned with salt, pepper, and aromatic herbs. This delicious Roman dish is quite popular and can be found in street food stalls and fast-food joints as a filling for sandwiches.
For a truly delightful and perfectly seasoned Porchetta experience, visit Panificio Bonci near the Vatican and order slices of the pork stuffed between crisp pizza bianca, a simple local flatbread.
Rome is home to thousands of gelaterias serving classic and innovative gelato flavors. With so many options, almost everyone in Rome can be seen enjoying gelato on the go or while strolling home, making it no surprise that locals indulge in this frozen treat frequently.
There are various enticing gelato flavors that you can find at places like Otaleg, Fatamorgana, and Fior di Luna. You can distinguish authentic gelato by its light and natural colors of the flavors. Gelato is a must-try when visiting Rome and a treat that every traveler should savor.
8. Cicoria Ripassata
Chicory greens might not seem appealing to most of us, but this Roman dish is worth a try. Italians are masters at preparing seasonal vegetables and dishes in a simple yet delicious way. Hence, even humble curly endive becomes a delightful addition to the Roman menu.
Curly endive is sautéed in olive oil, crushed red pepper, and garlic. The salty, bitter flavors will surprise and make it a perfect side dish for your main meal. You can find curly endive in most restaurants in Rome, so don’t miss out on this delicious Roman dish.
9. Torta Ricotta e Visciole
This ricotta and sour cherry tart is an ideal dessert to try when traveling to Rome. The two flavors complement each other perfectly, creating a mouthwatering sweet and tangy dessert that will satisfy any food enthusiast. You can find this dessert on the menus of many restaurants in the Jewish quarter of Rome.
The name of this dish means ‘Jump in the Mouth.’ Saltimbocca is a quintessential Roman street food. This delicious Roman dish is typically made with thinly sliced veal, sage, and prosciutto. The meat rolls are cooked in butter and white wine. Saltimbocca melts in your mouth, and its name perfectly captures the irresistible appeal of this special dish.