When travelling to a new city or country, I love to try the most popular local foods, the ones that you can’t get anywhere else (or at least not at the same level of quality, freshness, or authenticity). For this reason, I usually opt to take a food tour because it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be eating the best and most traditional foods the city has to offer.
I’ve put together a list of must-try foods when in Rome because….well…when in Rome, right?! Many of these dishes came recommended to us on our Eating Italy food tour, but others came from friends or travel guides. Don’t leave Rome without trying these dishes!
Must-Try Foods When in Rome
Often the first food that pops into people’s minds when they think of Italy is pizza. But are they thinking of Roman-style pizza? Probably not. Unlike the well-known puffy-crusted, round Neapolitan-style pizza, Roman-style pizza is rectangular, thin, and does not have a ‘lip’ to the crust. If baked correctly, it will have a slight char, perfect for sinking your teeth into. Head over to Bonci Pizzarium for some of the best Roman-style pizza in the city.
Supplì is a fried bite-sized snack filled with mozzarella cheese. The molten cheese is surrounded by a mixture of risotto, egg, and tomato sauce which is coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried to golden perfection. Try the supplì at I Supplì in the charming Trastevere neighbourhood for a warm snack on the go.
Available at every bakery across town, pizza bianca (meaning ‘white pizza’) is a focaccia-like pizza bread. Light, pillowy, and sprinkled with salt, pizza bianca makes a perfect snack to pick up on the go. We grabbed a few slices at the Termini train station before heading to the airport and it was the best airport terminal snack ever.
Even though carbonara is on this must-eat list, I have to admit that I never tried it while in Rome. *hides face shamefully* My only (feeble) excuse is that we weren’t in Rome that long and I couldn’t stop eating pizza and other pastas. Carbonara, a pasta dish made with a creamy sauce of pecorino cheese, eggs, black pepper, and bacon (or pancetta or guanciale (aka pork cheek)), is especially famous in Rome. Don’t be like me and make sure you eat this in Rome if you want the truly authentic version!
Cacio e Pepe
Another classic Roman pasta dish is cacio e pepe made with olive oil, pecorino cheese, and freshly ground black peppercorns. I enjoyed this pasta dish at Angelina by the Trevi Fountain. It’s rich, it’s cheesy, it’s divine. Mangia!
Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish-style artichokes)
Artichokes are beloved in Rome – there are not one, but two ways to prepare them. On our food tour, we tried Carciofi alla Giudia (aka Jewish-style artichokes) which are deep fried twice until the leaves become brown and crispy. They taste like kettle chips! Try these artichokes at Da Enzo al 29 in Trastevere.
Last but certainly not least, you must try some (or all) the gelato in Rome. Gelato is ice cream’s richer, denser, and lower fat cousin made with milk, sugar, and other natural flavorings. Enjoy traditional flavours like chocolate and strawberry or try some wilder combinations like almonds with cardamom, black cherries and beer, and goat cheese with citrus. For tips on where to get some of the best gelato in Rome, check out My Top Gelaterias in Rome post.
What are your must-eat foods when in Rome? I’d love to hear in the comments below!