Eat & Drink like a Roman

In my last post, I hit upon some lovely places to rest your weary head and what to do when in Rome. As I've mentioned before there's literally so much to see that you could keep busy for weeks on end. With all that seeing and doing, you need some sustenance, obviously, but you really need some cultural balance. Some wonderful ways to experience what Rome really has to offer is to take part in aperitivo, eat some local dishes, wander off the main roads, and for the love of God ditch the picture menus! After all, indulging in local cuisine and cocktails is why most of us travel (and if it isn't, then you're doing it all wrong and we need to change that!)

Roasted castagne!

Roasted castagne!

WHERE TO EAT

Pizzeria Baffetto for Roman-style piazza near Campo di Fiori. Look for the place with the mustache (baffetto in Italian) and the line to get in. But the wait is worth it once you have your first bite. Reservations are not accepted and they fill every seat in the house meaning you could be dining with some Italians at your table, what a great way to make friends with the locals! Get the pizza with fiori di zucca. As is anything with zucchini flowers, it's amazing. (Via del Governo Vecchio, 114) 

Roma Sparita for cacio e pepe in Trastevere. The classic Roman dish is made with cheese & black pepper making it so simple but it is so delicious! Anthony Bourdain goes here in No Reservations and it doesn’t disappoint. Spend some time wandering the charming, hip neighborhood after. Reservations needed. (Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24) 

Osteria da Fortunata for homemade pasta in the Centro Storico district. There are actually women making the pasta in the window. Eat like a Roman and order an authentic dish like the carbonara (a pasta dish made with eggs, cheese, bacon & black pepper) or the amatriciana (a pasta dish made with tomato sauce, cheese & bacon). You can't go wrong with either! Reservations needed. (Via del Pellegrino, 11)

Trattoria al Gran Sasso for fresh, seasonal ingredients in the Tridente district. What attracted me to this place was the colorful display of cherries, strawberries and mushrooms in the window which were in season at the time. Be sure to order from the specials menu, as it will incorporate those flavorful delights on display. Reservations recommended. (Via di Ripetta, 32) 

Salumeria Roscioli for a fabulous lunch in a gourmet food store and wine bar in the Centro Storico district. After your meal of meats, cheeses & pasta grab some edible souvenirs, like olive oil, for home. The staff is very knowledgable if you need a recommendation. And don't forget to drop into the cafe by the same owners next door for a yummy espresso and pastry at the bar. Reservations needed. (Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22) 

Alimentari Panella Carmela for a delicious panini near the Colosseum. This is a perfect place to fuel up for all that walking you'll be doing through the arena and the Roman Forum. It does not have a sign but you know you're at the right place when you find the fascade of ivy. Perhaps the one non-touristy place in this area. Sandwiches are made-to-order and taken to-go, but there are plenty of spots nearby to sit and enjoy. (Via dei Fienili, 61)

Giolitti and Gelateria dei Gracchi for arguably the best gelato in town. The latter has a few locations but I especially enjoyed the one near Piazza del Popolo. Definitely order at least 2 flavors! (Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40 & Via di Ripetta, 261) 

WHERE TO DRINK 

Bar del Fico and Drink Art Gallery are two great bars for aperitivo in a small cute square. When the weather's nice, people spill into the square with their drinks making for a fun, buzzing atmosphere. Drink like a Roman and order a Negroni (Campari, gin, vermouth). Or if you're not a gin person the Negroni Sbagliato (prosecco instead of gin). YUM. (Piazza del Fico, 26 & Piazza del Fico, 23/24)

Stravinskij Bar at the Hotel de Russie is a gorgeous place to have a drink in the afternoon or around aperitivo time. It’s pricey but worth it for the lovely outdoor courtyard. Order a spritz which is homemade with fresh berries and herbs. So delightful! (Via del Babuino, 9)

Antica Enoteca for a glass of wine in a small, rustic wine bar in the upscale Tridente neighborhood near the Spanish Steps. (Via della Croce, 76)

Camponeschi Wine Bar for an al-fresco aperitivo in a charming square away from the tourist crowds. The terrace outside is not too big and perfect for people watching. Note: you want the bar, not the restaurant which is next door. (Piazza Farnese, 52)

Antico Caffè Vitti for aperitivo served with yummy little pizza snacks. The piazza somehow feels like it is hidden from the tourist crowds, with the kids playing while their parents sip on cocktails, despite being very centrally located. (Piazza di S. Lorenzo in Lucina, 33)

Hotel Raphael or Hotel Capo d'Africa for rooftop cocktails in a fabulous atmosphere. The latter has views of the Colosseum that aren't to be reckoned with. (Largo Febo, 2 & Via di Capo d'Africa, 54)

Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè for a cappuccino or an iced coffee (yes, Italy has this...well sorta!) made from their own roasted beans in a historical coffee shop. The caffe shakerato is espresso shaken with ice and sugar and the granita is basically an espresso slushie...perfect on those hot Roman summer days! (Piazza di S. Eustachio, 82)

Homemade spritz at Stravinskij Bar

Homemade spritz at Stravinskij Bar

Rome looks good on this guy!

Rome looks good on this guy!

Stravinskij Bar at Hotel de Russie

Stravinskij Bar at Hotel de Russie

a Negroni

a Negroni

a Negroni Sbagliato

a Negroni Sbagliato

On your next trip to Rome, definitely add these places to your list and you'll see, Rome will find its way to your heart. Even though there is some important history to see and learn while you're there, the culture should be just as much of a priority. Sorry if I left you hungry and thirsty...but I hope I inspired you to get to the Eternal City. Ciao ragazzi!

Rooftop bars at sunset...LOVE!

Rooftop bars at sunset...LOVE!