Traditional Roman Foods You Must Try While Visiting Rome

Rome is a great place for history, art, but especially food. Each region of Italy is known for different specialities and the region of Lazio, specifically Rome, has some great dishes you must try during any visit! Save this guide for a complete breakdown of Rome's culinary tradition and all the must try dishes!
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Pasta alla Carbonara 

Carbonara is probably one of the most well known Italian dish throughout the world, but Rome is the mecca of Carbonara. It is a very simple dish, yet quite delicious and comforting! Fatty guanciale (cured pork jowl) is fried until it renders its fat; while in a separate bowl, egg yolks are beat together and pecorino cheese, together with ground black pepper are added to create the perfect blend, that will cover the cooked pasta with a dash of pasta water. Mixed all together, off heat, and it will emulsify into a heavenly creamy sauce

In Rome, you will see Carbonara served with Spaghetti, Tonnarelli or Rigatoni pasta, and served al dente. 

Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe is one of Lazio's oldest dishes, a very simple combination of pasta, usually thick and fresh egg tonnarelli pasta, aged pecorino sheep cheese and lots of ground black pepper.

According to tradition, shepherds carried these non-perishable ingredients with them on their long journeys in the deep countryside of Lazio with their flocks – and so sheep’s cheese was just about the only ingredient they could always have on hand, and that's how the Roman classic was born.

Amatriciana

Another traditional dish that dates back to the ancient shepherds, who used to make this in the town of Amatrice, with their staple ingredients of guanciale, pecorino cheese, and dry pasta. Tomato was added to make the dish what we know today. 

Pasta Alla Gricia

Alla Gricia is a very similar pasta dish made with pasta, guanciale, Pecorino cheese, and black pepper.

Supplì

Supplì are fried rice croquettes served at many takeaway bars and pizzerias in Rome. It is very similar to the well-known Arancini. The classic version features bits of ground meat cooked with tomato sauce and rice, then set aside to cool, formed into egg-shaped parcels around a piece of mozzarella, breaded, and deep-fried. The classic ragù recipe dates back to at least the early 20th century but today there are many cooks who have taken creative twists, experimenting with new flavors like Pecorino and black pepper or carbonara even. 

Carciofi alla Romana and Carciofi alla Giudia

Rome in the Spring is great because artichokes are in season! Artichokes are done in two styles here, Carciofi alla Romana, which in this way the artichokes are split open and filled with mint, garlic and parsley before being gently steamed in a concoction of olive oil, white wine and water. The artichokes are left tender and full of delicious flavor.

The second style is carciofi alla giudea – Jewish style artichokes are historically tied with Rome’s historic Jewish Ghetto. After being trimmed, the artichoke is flattened so that its leaves open outwards like a flower and then deep fried whole. They are crispy and delicious! You can find artichokes sold in markets and served in restaurants!

Puntarelle Alla Romana

This classic Roman dish is a bitter salad tossed with anchovy, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing.

Pizza Al Taglio

Pizza al taglio or “pizza by the slice,” is nothing like the big, eat-with-a-fork Neapolitan style pizza, rather it's a street food in Rome that merits it's own category. It is baked in large trays, sliced into squares, and served on paper ready to be eaten.

Saltimbocca

A traditional "Secondo", or main course, you will find in Rome is Saltimbocca, which roughly translates to "jumps in your mouth" which just tells you how good it is. These tender veal slices are wrapped in prosciutto, pounded, and stuffed with fresh sage. It is then sautéed in a white wine sauce. 

Trapizzini

Another popular street food in Rome, are the Trapizzini, which if you imagine a fluffy wedge of pizza dough, sliced down the middle to create a triangular pocket, then stuffed with meatballs, or other variants from artichokes to eggplant parmesan. 

Coda Alla Vaccinara

Another Secondo, or second course dish, is the traditional Roman stew, made from the tail of the ox. It originated historically as a poor-man's dish, using the leftovers after the wealthy had their meal. Today, you’ll still find oxtail stew braised and simmered with delicious prosciutto ham, wine, tomato, and veggies.

Check out this guide for the best places to eat in Rome!

Traveling elsewhere in Italy? Check out my FREE Complete Italy Guide.

For more information on travels to Florence, Rome, Bologna, Puglia and more!

Thank you for your support!

I hope you have a great trip! If you appreciated this map at all, please consider leaving a tip and spreading the word to anyone you know about this service. Thank you so much for your support!

* * *
CURATED BY
Ciao! My name is Danielle and I'm a Californian from San Diego, who's been living full time in Florence, Italy since 2020. I studied in Florence in 2016 and absolutely fell in love with the food, culture, and history, and made it my mission to move back. I moved right before the pandemic, and staying here through all the lockdowns and pandemic life really helped me discover slow travel and find all of Italy's beauty, including lesser known gems, and off the beaten path travel spots. During my three years in Florence, I have wrote for publications like The Florentine, done freelance marketing with restaurants and a travel agency, giving me high insight into the best destinations, foodie spots, and more. I am here to help you make the most of your vacation in Italy with curated itineraries for every type of traveler and digital maps to help you enjoy THE BEST food each region has to offer. Let me do the work so you can just relax and enjoy, without any stress! I've had a very unique experience living in Italy the last 4 years, as I made my official move right before the pandemic, after visiting for years. Because of this I learned to travel locally and deeply throughout the numerous incredible destinations in Italy and for that I cater my travel services to finding the most local and mindful experiences, keeping true to discovering and appreciating Italy's culture.
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Traditional Roman Foods You Must Try While Visiting Rome

Rome is a great place for history, art, but especially food. Each region of Italy is known for different specialities and the region of Lazio, specifically Rome, has some great dishes you must try during any visit! Save this guide for a complete breakdown of Rome's culinary tradition and all the must try dishes!
11 Saves • ago
Free

Pasta alla Carbonara 

Carbonara is probably one of the most well known Italian dish throughout the world, but Rome is the mecca of Carbonara. It is a very simple dish, yet quite delicious and comforting! Fatty guanciale (cured pork jowl) is fried until it renders its fat; while in a separate bowl, egg yolks are beat together and pecorino cheese, together with ground black pepper are added to create the perfect blend, that will cover the cooked pasta with a dash of pasta water. Mixed all together, off heat, and it will emulsify into a heavenly creamy sauce

In Rome, you will see Carbonara served with Spaghetti, Tonnarelli or Rigatoni pasta, and served al dente. 

Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe is one of Lazio's oldest dishes, a very simple combination of pasta, usually thick and fresh egg tonnarelli pasta, aged pecorino sheep cheese and lots of ground black pepper.

According to tradition, shepherds carried these non-perishable ingredients with them on their long journeys in the deep countryside of Lazio with their flocks – and so sheep’s cheese was just about the only ingredient they could always have on hand, and that's how the Roman classic was born.

Amatriciana

Another traditional dish that dates back to the ancient shepherds, who used to make this in the town of Amatrice, with their staple ingredients of guanciale, pecorino cheese, and dry pasta. Tomato was added to make the dish what we know today. 

Pasta Alla Gricia

Alla Gricia is a very similar pasta dish made with pasta, guanciale, Pecorino cheese, and black pepper.

Supplì

Supplì are fried rice croquettes served at many takeaway bars and pizzerias in Rome. It is very similar to the well-known Arancini. The classic version features bits of ground meat cooked with tomato sauce and rice, then set aside to cool, formed into egg-shaped parcels around a piece of mozzarella, breaded, and deep-fried. The classic ragù recipe dates back to at least the early 20th century but today there are many cooks who have taken creative twists, experimenting with new flavors like Pecorino and black pepper or carbonara even. 

Carciofi alla Romana and Carciofi alla Giudia

Rome in the Spring is great because artichokes are in season! Artichokes are done in two styles here, Carciofi alla Romana, which in this way the artichokes are split open and filled with mint, garlic and parsley before being gently steamed in a concoction of olive oil, white wine and water. The artichokes are left tender and full of delicious flavor.

The second style is carciofi alla giudea – Jewish style artichokes are historically tied with Rome’s historic Jewish Ghetto. After being trimmed, the artichoke is flattened so that its leaves open outwards like a flower and then deep fried whole. They are crispy and delicious! You can find artichokes sold in markets and served in restaurants!

Puntarelle Alla Romana

This classic Roman dish is a bitter salad tossed with anchovy, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing.

Pizza Al Taglio

Pizza al taglio or “pizza by the slice,” is nothing like the big, eat-with-a-fork Neapolitan style pizza, rather it's a street food in Rome that merits it's own category. It is baked in large trays, sliced into squares, and served on paper ready to be eaten.

Saltimbocca

A traditional "Secondo", or main course, you will find in Rome is Saltimbocca, which roughly translates to "jumps in your mouth" which just tells you how good it is. These tender veal slices are wrapped in prosciutto, pounded, and stuffed with fresh sage. It is then sautéed in a white wine sauce. 

Trapizzini

Another popular street food in Rome, are the Trapizzini, which if you imagine a fluffy wedge of pizza dough, sliced down the middle to create a triangular pocket, then stuffed with meatballs, or other variants from artichokes to eggplant parmesan. 

Coda Alla Vaccinara

Another Secondo, or second course dish, is the traditional Roman stew, made from the tail of the ox. It originated historically as a poor-man's dish, using the leftovers after the wealthy had their meal. Today, you’ll still find oxtail stew braised and simmered with delicious prosciutto ham, wine, tomato, and veggies.

Check out this guide for the best places to eat in Rome!

Traveling elsewhere in Italy? Check out my FREE Complete Italy Guide.

For more information on travels to Florence, Rome, Bologna, Puglia and more!

Thank you for your support!

I hope you have a great trip! If you appreciated this map at all, please consider leaving a tip and spreading the word to anyone you know about this service. Thank you so much for your support!

* * *
CURATED BY
Ciao! My name is Danielle and I'm a Californian from San Diego, who's been living full time in Florence, Italy since 2020. I studied in Florence in 2016 and absolutely fell in love with the food, culture, and history, and made it my mission to move back. I moved right before the pandemic, and staying here through all the lockdowns and pandemic life really helped me discover slow travel and find all of Italy's beauty, including lesser known gems, and off the beaten path travel spots. During my three years in Florence, I have wrote for publications like The Florentine, done freelance marketing with restaurants and a travel agency, giving me high insight into the best destinations, foodie spots, and more. I am here to help you make the most of your vacation in Italy with curated itineraries for every type of traveler and digital maps to help you enjoy THE BEST food each region has to offer. Let me do the work so you can just relax and enjoy, without any stress! I've had a very unique experience living in Italy the last 4 years, as I made my official move right before the pandemic, after visiting for years. Because of this I learned to travel locally and deeply throughout the numerous incredible destinations in Italy and for that I cater my travel services to finding the most local and mindful experiences, keeping true to discovering and appreciating Italy's culture.
Send A Tip
Support Danielle Cohen’s work.
Select your tip amount
$5
$10
$20
$50
Or type in other amount
Powered by Thatch
The home for unique & authentic travel
Powered by Thatch: Where great trips are made.
© Danielle Cohen Privacy Terms