Rome’s reputation does not exist on only history, culture, monuments and churches but on food rich with antique traditions.
Italian cuisine is among the most world renown, if not top on the list, the majority choice when deciding what kind of food to have out.
Well, when you’re in Italy, you can have it everyday!
Classic tasty Italian appetizers, like prosciutto wrapped around a fresh slice of melon, more popular in the summer, or "Bruschetta" pronounced "brewsketta", toasted bread, olive oil and a rub of garlic, in it’s simpler state or for a more hearty topping add chopped fresh tomatoes and parsley, or mushrooms, ham and mozzarella, are surely two favourites.
Other appetizers in Roman restaurants include fresh grilled veggies like peppers, eggplant, and zucchini dressed with the most delightful mix of olive oil and herbs.
If you’re thinking about a salad for lunch you are not likely to find the assortment you would in the good ol’USA, but instead a more intriguing salads like “puntarelle con le alici” a salad of bitter greens with anchovy dressing or a simpler green salad, with rarely a choice of dressing that is not oil and vinegar.
At dinnertime, the Italians normally eat their salads at the end of their meal to freshen up their palates.
Another great and tasty appetizer is “carciofi alla giudia” a signature Jewish dish, one of many that derive from the antique Roman Jewish ghetto, one of Rome’s culinary centers, where artichokes are opened and flattened and then deep-fried like golden flowers. Yummy!
The list of traditional Roman pasta dishes very popular among the locals include the “bucatini alla carbonara” long thicker spaghetti pasta with a hole in the middle, with fresh bacon bits, eggs and cheese, or “gnocchetti all’amatriciana” small dumplings with tomatoes and fresh bacon bits.
Meat and fish…
Lamb is a very popular meat used commonly in Lazio and Rome and some favorites include “abbacchio alla cacciatore” a stir-fry of baby lamb, rosemary, fresh sage, anchovies and wine, and ”saltimbocca”, a fillet of veal rolled in ham and seasoned with sage, cooked in butter and served with a Marsala sauce.
For the more courageous gourmet eater try a very traditional “Rigatoni alla pagliata” (rigatoni with calf’s intestine) or “trippa alla romana” (tripe)
Fresh Adriatic sea fish can be found in many Roman restaurants along with pasta dishes also prepared with fish, very delicious or try the “fried Baccalà” alla Romana.
Cheese and wine…
Italian aged cheeses like pecorino (ewes’ milk cheese), and parmigiano are a nice way to finish off your meal accompanied with a fresh slice of Italian bread and a glass of local area red or white wine like 'Colli Lanuvini', 'Colli Albani', 'Castelli Romani', 'Velletri', 'Frascati' and 'Marino'. A Carafe of house wine is always good too.
All restaurants have their own special desserts which might include a fabulous ancient Roman cheesecake, a home-made tiramisu, and many more.
Since dining goes on late into the hours in the bigger cities like Rome, it’s nice to take a walk after dinner to one of the many gelaterias for a taste of world famous ice-cream, or a “granite” crushed ice made fresh fruit, also an Italian delight.
Where to go…
Embarrassed by the choice…you’ll find a place to eat just about anywhere you turn in Rome. The area around Piazza Navona in the historical center offers an array of dining establishments ranging from antique taverns, lunchtime diners, pizzerias, and elegant dining.
The area around the Spanish steps also has it’s share of great dining but be prepared to spend a little more.
Tipping in Italy is not required for a service charge is included in the bill, normally anywhere between €1,50 and €2,50 a person, but feel free to tip just the same if you like.