Best dishes to eat in Rome, seven traditional and modern speciality

Best dishes to eat in Rome, seven traditional and modern speciality

Best dishes to eat in Rome If you’ve ever been to Rome, you’ll be well aware that spending hours walking around the city, taking in the sights and sounds and trying to get the perfect photo in front of some of the most beautiful landmarks in the world is hungry work. So what should you eat in Rome? We’ve devised a list of seven dishessome traditional, some modern – that anybody passing through the Eternal City simply has to try…


Best dishes to eat in Rome

Spaghetti alla carbonara

hostaria dell'omo carbonara

Any good Roman will tell you that spaghetti alla carbonara is as traditional as it gets. In actual fact – and you might not want to try and tell the locals this – the most feasible theory on the origins of the carbonara is that it was invented by the Americans during the Second World War. No matter where it comes from, it’s definitely one of the pasta dishes you have to eat when in Rome. It has three ingredients – eggs, guanciale (cured pig cheek) and pepper. If decided to make a carbonara at home, take care to avoid the dreaded scrambled-eggs effect: The egg should be added off the heat. Pepper – and lots of it – finishes the dish.

Where to get it: Da Danilo

Rigatoni con la Pajata and Coda alla Vaccinara


The term “the fifth quarter” refers to anything left of the animal once the main areas of meat have been taken away. That’s offal, to you and me. Once upon a time this was poor man’s food, but now offal dishes are considered gastronomic delicacies and not to be missed. Try Rigatoni con la Pajata (rigatoni pasta with a sauce made from the cooked intestines of un-weaned calves) or Coda alla Vaccinara (oxtail cooked for five to six hours with two key ingredients: Celery and bitter chocolate).

Where to get it: Da Checchino

Carciofi alla giudìa or alla romana

Niko Romito carciofo e rosmarino

Crunchy, delicious, majestic. Carciofi – artichokes – alla giudìa are a classic Roman-Jewish antipasti dish. The dish is prepared using the typical Roman Cimaroli or Mammole varieties of artichokes, which have no spines and are particularly tender. After leaving them to marinate in water and lemon, they are fried in hot oil. When ready, absolutely nothing is wasted – even the leaves are torn off and eaten, their crunchy texture and tender inside making them feel almost like chips. Another traditional Roman artichoke recipe is carciofi alla romana. This time the artichokes aren’t fried, but stuffed with garlic, parsley and mint and cooked in a pot.

Where to get it: Matricianella, Ba’ Ghetto

Abbacchio alla Scottadito


Traditionally eaten at Easter, Abbacchio alla scottadito is a simple dish of grilled lamb cutlets. The term “scottadito” (literally “finger-burning”) comes from the high likelihood of you burning your fingers as you try to turn the meat on the grill. This dish is all about the flavour of the lamb, with just a bit of oil and rosemary used to infuse the meat. Eat them nice and hot!

Where to get it: Da Cesare al Casaletto


trapizzino ponte milvio

Invented by Stefano Callegari at his Testaccio 00100 pizzeria, Il Trapizzino was an overnight phenomenon. A triangle of plain Roman pizza is opened out and stuffed full of typical Roman specialities: Tripe, coratella (mixed offal of lamb, chicken rabbit), picchiapò beef stew, meatballs with tomato sauce, amatriciana sauce (guanciale, pecorino cheese, tomato), cuttlefish with peas, tongue. Il Trapizzino is undoubtedly the king of modern Roman street food and has inevitably spawned many imitations. The Testaccio pizzeria has now been renamed as Trapizzino, and Callegari has opened another pizzeria by the same name in by the Milvian Bridge.

Where to get it: Da Trapizzino

Supplì al telefono

Even if you don’t understand Italian, you can probably tell this one has a bit of a strange name! Supplì translate loosely as rice balls. The name “al telefono” comes from the way the mozzarella inside the balls goes stringy when you take a bite, making it look like one of those old telephone cables. The mixture is made by boiling rice, mixing in a meat sauce and then leaving to cool. The rice mixture is then moulded around a piece of mozzarella, breaded and deep-fried to crunchy perfection. Be sure not to confuse it with Sicilian arancini, or you risk upsetting a few Romans! Unlike arancini, the rice insideSupplì is red, because of the sauce, and they contain egg. Sold in snack shops or in restaurants as an antipasto.

Where to get it: Da Sisini-Casa del Supplì, Sforno, Supplizio

Crostata di visciole

crostata di visciole

It’s fair to say Rome is not known for its desserts, with most Romans preferring to fill up on large lunches or dinners than wait for something sweet. That said, the Crostata di visciole (sour cherry tart) is one dessert you should make sure you try. The mix of sweet icing sugar and tangy, fruity cherry filling make for a truly moreish tart, perfect whatever the time of year. For a delicious twist, head to the Boccione bakery in the Ghetto area of the city, where they sell a sour cherry and ricotta cheese version.

Where to get it: Dar Moschino and Boccione

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