The food in Rome is best described as eclectic – a fusion of many other cuisines that comes together to create dishes that are mouth-wateringly good. It’s tradition meeting with new and modern ideas, and up and coming chefs are designing excellent and exquisite new takes on much-loved food all the time. So, when in Rome, what should you be eating?
Modern pizza comes from Naples, but Rome has taken this staple of the Italian diet and made it its own. There are pizzerias seemingly on every corner of every Roman street, which is ideal for those who are craving a crispy dough base smothered in fresh tomatoes and creamy cheese. It depends on where you pick to eat your pizza as to what other toppings you might be able to try – each different restaurant or food stall will have its own house specials, and some of them will be weird and wonderful. If you’ve never tried fig on a pizza, Rome is the place to do it.
Fritti are perhaps less well known than pizza, but they are just as satisfying and just as delicious. Perfect for eating on the go, or when waiting in line to see one of Rome’s amazing sites (although if you do want to skip the line Vatican always has, you can book ahead of time), these delicacies are deep fried calls of rice mixed with tomato sauce and real mozzarella.
Filetti di Baccalà
Baccala is cod, and if that doesn’t sound very exciting, just wait to see what the Roman take on it is. Cod has always been popular in Mediterranean countries as it is fresh and tasty, and light too – no one wants anything too heavy in the heat of the burning sun. This particular dish sees the salted cod fried in a special egg based batter. One of the best places to get hold of some is at Dar Filettaro. It’s a tiny café that is famous for this one dish – and it has been serving it since the 1950s, so you know the chefs here understand exactly how to cook it.
Carciofo Alla Romana
The name of this dish should give you a clue about its origins; it was created in Rome, and has been a favorite ever since. It consists of artichokes that are braised, and then stuffed with all manner of herbs and finally sprinkled with lemon. Cooked again, they become buttery and smooth, and should – when done right – simply melt in the mouth. Due to artichokes being such a seasonal vegetable, you’ll only find this dish during fall and spring, but it’s worth waiting for.
Of course, in Italy there are an almost infinite number of pasta dishes to choose from. In Rome, however, the most loved is sure to be a traditional carbonara. A true carbonara doesn’t use bacon, but instead adds pieces of guanciale – cured pork jowl. It gives the dish a much fuller flavor, with a big punch of saltiness thrown in. The creamy sauce cuts through that salt, giving you a perfectly balanced dish.