gourmet food and repeat…
Summer is finally here in San Diego, the weather is getting up, feel the beach is calling. How is the summer in your place now? 🙂
It’s not easy for me to start writing this post, to be honest… why? Because it’s too emotional when I was browsing through those food pictures, how we were so happy had the best pasta, the satisfaction after a good meal brought to us surrounded by the ancient monuments, sitting in front of the Pantheon having lunch making me almost cry… So many emotions seriously! but as a foodie traveler, I have my duty to tell you what I have seen and taste. So please bring a cup of coffee, let’s talk about the food in Rome!
I am gonna break this list down by budget. Rome is a place where the quality is very stable, hardly feel regret after buying any food. It’s a safe place for foodies. That being said, if you are a new traveler, you may still want to take note from someone who has experienced the range so you will not miss any goodies. 🙂
*all meals are paid out of our own pocket, no advertisement in this post, enjoy it!
Starting with super budget-friendly place:
1. Agrodolce Roma ★★★★☆ budget: 50 EU for 2 people
Address: Via dei Crociferi, 25, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
This place is at the center, not far away from shopping place Zara and Trevi Fountain. Feel like a newly open place, the store is small, the table is small, but the staff is very friendly and efficient. My love ordered a Margarita pizza was nice and different to other stores sell, they make it to a square shape, a pretty crispy and right portion for one person, going great with beer. Another entree was cheese gnocchi, which is simple but fresh and tasty, not over shine the other dish that we both love so much. I ordered a creamy mushroom pasta, made-from-scratch, I could taste the fresh flour and smell of wheat. the multiple mushrooms were cooking for the right time, so it was really juicy. all the combo of fresh noodle and cream makes me want to have another plate! At the same time, I also tried a very popular drink- Aperol Spritz, since we went everywhere and seen so many locals order it. I am so glad I did, it was really refreshing to having it after some walks. And also the truth is… even though I had back for about 2 months, I kept remaking creamy mushroom pasta at home now you can tell I really like it!
*Aperol Spritz- is an Italian wine-based cocktail, commonly served as an aperitif in Northeast Italy. it is prepared with different ingredients in different cities, so the alcohol content is highly variable. However, a common denominator is the presence of Prosecco and sparkling water. and the color is often orange.
2. Sorbillo Pizzaria ★★★★★ budget: 30 EU for 2 people
Address: Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 46, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
This is the best pizza we had tried in Rome, and it’s recommended by a chef from a high-end restaurant. Only a few blocks away to the Spanish Steps.
So… let’s begin with how we actually first time have to line up outside at 11 pm in Rome. Like seriously? at 11 pm! Since they don’t do take out, we left our name for the waiting list. Folks, the time we were there was just a normal Monday night, and we probably were the only tourists in the whole place, we spot so many locals and pretty young, cool couples were on a date mode like. we were for sure gonna give it a try. we got really lucky to be sitting in after 20 mins.
The place is pretty big and has an open kitchen, so you can see how they are making pizza efficiently. Although the table was still pretty small (a common Rome thing) and you will have to sit pretty close to the other customers besides you, this didn’t bother us a bit. in fact, we got a super friendly local couple for company, and the girl was very happily talked to us when we were choosing pizza, She said: “This is the best pizza place in Italy!”
she said Italy, right, it’s not only Rome but whole Italy. you can see how highly rated in real Italian’s hearts.
The pizza arrived pretty fast, and it was a huge pizza!! hehe, see how my hand and the pizza’s proportions comparison in the following pictures.
My love ordered his favorite Margarita pizza again, this is our strategy to rate a new place- order the same foods to compare. Also a challenge in his mind, he has his favorite Margarita pizza from college for YEARS! he wants to find a new place to beat the old one. and you know what? Boom! Sorbillo Pizzaria is the winner now! According to my love, he said Sorbillo won for they have the fresh ingredients, everything is at the right proportion from cheese to basal garnish, their pizza texture tends to the chewing side, and overall wrap up with the grilling smell from the stone oven was just AMAZING! My Salami pizza was pretty good too, totally agree with my love’s judgment. I personally love the texture very much and impressed with the stone oven grilling favor in it! it’s really unforgettable! And you know another good thing? The price is super budget-friendly too. Two pizza plus soda was less than 30 EU (better than California price), and even though we know the rule of Rome is not to tip too much, we still asked the manager when we pay the bill, he was a super busy man that I have seen him garnish the pizza and command waiters here and there, he still very friendly said to us, it’s our honor making good pizza, and we don’t take tip!
We walked out of the store, and thought this was the best ending food story of our Rome trip ever! Also, one thing to mention, they open stores from Napoli (their style from) to Milan, Rome.
P.S. I saw many people rated on google are pretty low, especially because of their service. I totally understand it, since they don’t hire many waiters at one time, it is a super overwhelmed busy environment. I didn’t feel bothered by it at all, but I recommend you maybe better don’t expect too much service, it’s one of those places with a great reputation for one quality product and they try to be efficient. The pizza itself is as good as it gets!
Medium budget-friendly restaurants:
1. La Buvette ★★★★☆ budget: 60 EU for 2 people
Address: Via Vittoria, 44/47, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
This place is around the corner of Spanish Steps. it is in an alley, besides some boutiques.
It is the best breakfast place we had in Rome! And we all feel we did score a local treasure again! we visited it right after seeing Spanish Steps, a regular Friday morning.
We ordered salmon toast with a small pot of fried egg, the other one was Croque Madame, which had ham, cheese, and toasts with two sunny side up on the top, all the ingredients stand up nicely to create a very harmonious taste, for sure recommend Croque Madame. the cappuccino and juice were all very fresh and go with the entree pretty well. the other bonus is sitting outside, a truly street fashion show of Rome is right here! we spot so many local from young to old all very carefully dress up the trendy essences, even though they looked like just going to buy groceries or walking the dogs, the waitresses are very friendly in general and they all know the local customers by heart, saying Bongiorno to them all the time, you can tell they all have a very good relationship.
The only regret is wishing we can spend more time there or come back the other morning, but we had a super packed schedule so we couldn’t make it. However, a lot of good reviews on the internet mentioned they have good wine selection and fantastic truffle pasta, no doubt the next time when we visit Rome will hit this place again!
2. La Vecchia Locanda ★★★★☆ budget: 70 EU for 2 people
Address: Vicolo dei Sinibaldi, 2, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
This place is a hidden gem at the center of Rome, very close to the Pantheon. However, you have to remember the name otherwise it’s so easy to just pass by, they don’t have a huge name sign and the lighting was looked very dark from the outside.
We came here completely out of our intuition, it was past dinner time, almost all the shops were closed on the street. It’s on the street which major tourists will not stop here. we got super lucky thinking looking from the outside is non-tourist at all, and they open pretty late, from 7-11 pm.
It was a cozy dining experience, the light is dark, the whole place is not big but full of friendly staff. we spot local couple or friends came here had pasta, desserts, and wine, all seems regular customers here.
One thing I have to confess here, I am the girl whose eyes are hungry than the stomach. I saw the price on the menu was super reasonable (was super happy about that, you know…) and I asked the waiter about the portion is big or small, he said is pretty small, so don’t need to worry too much. I couldn’t put down my impulse to order too many appetizers. I was super hungry both mentally and physically at the same time, so I ordered Spelt chickpeas and wild mushrooms soup, seasonal dish artichoke since Rome is very fond of following seasonal foods, potatoes to just want to see how they make. a big mistake from me that the soup is actually a pretty big bowl. well, even though that, I still finished it, and I did recommend the artichoke and soup as long as you have a company to share with. The soup is completely vegan-friendly, very comforting in a chilly night, their artichoke was boiled, so it contained a very nature aroma favor, respect the original flavor of food. I personally like artichoke from now on. Rome inspired me with their caring for nature from this case. 🙂
Also, they have pretty decent truffle pasta, I love the nice creamy sauce but not steal the thunder from truffle, gave me a nice ending of the night with the truffle flavor on my tongue. My love has bacon fat of colonnade and wild mushrooms have decent score too but will choose truffle over mushroom on these cases. Overall, I love the authentic taste of the whole dishes, friendly service, the cozy environment they provide, for those reasons, I recommend this place.
3. Spaghetteria l’Archetto ★★★★☆ budget: 70 EU for 2 people
Address: Via dell’Archetto, 26, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
This is the first place we tried for pasta, and it’s a nice start of Rome’s food adventure, close to Trevi Fountain.
We came across the ally after the first day walking around Rome, thinking to find some places where has the most local look customers, we will walk in no matter what. 🙂 it works!
This retro bistro is specialized for their pasta, has 50 pasta items on the menu (!), they also have pizza and steak. I lost myself when I read the menu, everything looks so tempting! so I asked the recommendation from the waiter, he suggested “Chanel” to me, which seems like their signature pasta, turned out to be pretty decent, creamy lobster, garlic, simple but mouthwatering, it’s so good to go with wine, this kinda combo makes you want to dig and dig in no time, by the way, the portion is pretty generous, compared to other pasta we had in Rome, it’s almost twice as much! so if you are a small stomach person, better do it with your friend. my love has a Filetto Al Gorgonzola which is a veal cheese plate was pretty good too, fresh veal’s special aroma with strong cheese, (nothing can’t be bad with veal in my opinion), at the chilly night was a nice choice.
Although this place charge for 15% service fee and only can pay with cash, we did have a great time sitting outside and enjoyed a street performance of accordion. I still recommend this place for that I will come back for the other pasta on the menu. 🙂
4. Pasqualino al Colosseo ★★★★☆ budget: 80 EU for 2 people
Address: Via dei Santi Quattro, 66, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
This place as the name it shows, just on the street of Colosseum. we found this place spontaneously, less touristy succeed another time!
Pasqualino al Colosseo has a pretty decent seafood option, confess here, I was tempted by other customer’s lobster pasta, it looked super generous so we all agree to give it a try, so glad we did it. 🙂 They have a modern, clean, refreshing outdoor sitting, which is definitely a plus!
we finally made our risotto here! I love risotto so much, even love to make it at home from time to time. I order a tomato based seafood risotto turned out great! the portion is big, seafood is so fresh and savory, super good to have it at springtime. my love has tortellini al ragu, which is also a tomato-based meat sauce pasta, a nice choice to see how Roman does their meat sauce. we both love our choice very much. the second entree we decide to go something different… Coniglio alla cacciatora, which is rabbit meat. yeah, it’s pretty good, but I will say the seafood is their strong suit. Their service is really nice, friendly and outgoing staffs, it makes me feel like in California (that kind of friendly!) Although after the pasta, meat, and wine, we are super full, when I see other people enjoy the desserts all have a very happy smile, so next time we will come back for their desserts too. For the nice outdoor sitting place, great service, quality seafood, I recommend this place.
Fancy restaurants, talk about budget later:
1. Quinzi& Gabrieli ★★★★★ budget: 170 EU for 2 people
Address: Via delle Coppelle, 5, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
This place is the bomb, let me tell you…
we found the place merely by chance, a few blocks away from Pantheon.
At the time we still had no wifi and tried to figure out where to go, we came across the restaurant with no idea, but simply dragged by their smell of seafood, a really fresh, umami kind of seafood smell. We looked into the window, saw the nicely plated newly- caught seafood presented on the shelf in front of an open kitchen, we looked at each other and said, OMG, it’s definitely a good place, let’s remember it, and we will come back no matter what! Glad we made it.To me, Rome and seafood will be never the same after visiting Quinzi& Gabrieli, this indeednext level!
I am a huge seafood person, I grow up in the most famous seafood city in Taiwan-Keelung, where has the best supply of seafood, therefore seafood to me is the day to day essential. I used to have to walk across the seafood market on the way home or to work daily. I will proudly say the smell connect to my hometown is only the fresh seafood, I have no idea I will be reminded of this in Rome. But yes, it truly is that direct input.
We ordered Polpo in tempura, friggitelli, cacio e pepe, which is an appetizer made with baby octopus, fresh tomato, and garnish with mint. This first impression hit me hard seriously, I can still remember how this was in my mouth, incredible combo, elegant, modern, and refreshing, I’ve never known an octopus dish can be made in this combo, it looks simple, but the manoeuver of heat and measurement of ingredients could be tasted from the flavor. It was savory, appetizing, and addictive. Love, love how they use mint embed the look and flavor. I want to have it now as I am writing the dish here again! Another beautiful appetizer Calamari scottati, topinambur e carciofi, which is made with Seared calamari, artichokes and mint. This new combo also inspired me very much as how artichoke can go, love the juicy squid had stir-fried at the right core, and the artichoke adds on with nature earthy, sweet and slightly sour flavor and later on mint wrap it up as a full adventure in the mouth. so many layers, so many textures mix up on the tongue, delightful!
Not to mention their pasta is the best in Rome! the Ravioli ripieni di amatriciana di mare mantecati con guanciale e pecorino (Ravioli filled with sea amatriciana creamed with guanciale and pecorino) is really beautiful, but what we couldn’t stop talking about is their Linguine Pastificio Oro di Gragnano all’Aragosta sarda, Pasta with Sardinian lobster, is no doubt the best we had in Rome, the well-made lobster sauce and generous portion of lobster meat give the pasta life, phenomenal, extravagant, and evolving, this is that kind of pasta you want to wow people with! Yes, I am drowning, drowning to the deep ocean, swimming with a flock of lobsters. Don’t wake me up please, it’s just too beautiful!
P.S. although lobster pasta is priced by weights, pricey but definitely worth it!
With all the incredible dish one by one, we decide to give the dessert a try to see how they make the magic, and yes… it’s another sweet punch as how tiramisu could be. I am a huge fan of tiramisu, so I really want to see how a high-end restaurant presents it.
Normally tiramisu is made with ladyfingers, eggs, mascarpone, coffee, and cocoa powder on top. This dish is simple and friendly to make, but to make it stand out from the others requires the presentation. Not put it in a jar or make it to a cake-like look, Quinzi& Gabrieli makes it into a beautiful flower by piping the ingredients. the taste was elegant and refined, to me, it is super inspiring that the presentation can be this unique, who says Rome is old, hun? she may be old but she is modern yet inspiring. Took me out of surprise, every dish from Quinzi& Gabrieli was incredibly well done! we will for sure come back again when we in Rome.
Despite the seafood smell immerses in the air on the street, they do not have a huge sign, and the outlook is pretty hidden. This omakase place does not take too many customers at one time, so if you would like to give it a try, please come by or make an online reservation first. Also, their service is very knowledgeable and polite. we absolutely appreciate they gave us an excellent dining experience!
2. Tartufi & Friends ★★★★★ budget: 300 EU for 2 people
Address: Via Borgognona, 4/E, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
The name of this place (tartufi means truffles) grabbed our attention immediately when we were hanging around on the plaza nearby our hotel, the last day in Rome, we decide to slow down, sleep late and enjoy good food. So happy we found this place, it’s truly a heaven for truffle lovers! Honestly, I feel like I should not say too much here, it feels like spoilers that will ruin your surprise. So I will be short and clear claim here, we LOVE this place for the incredible truffle, every dish is full of creativity, elegance, and talent. We enjoyed it so much from the presentations to tastes. If you are in the center of Rome and would like to eat truffle like there is no tomorrow, this is the place! Fully inspired us and elevated our food experience to the next level. So I will just share with you the pictures here, but please just try it out yourself!
The service is very friendly and knowledgeable, the outdoor sitting is great, we had a good time of people watching, not to mention I bought some gourmet truffle secretly so I can recreate the taste at home! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed the sharing of today, we wanted to present the authentic ranges of food experiences with you. Have you been to Rome before? How was your food experience there? please share with me! meanwhile, I am gonna get myself some gelato! 😛