The Italian cuisine is famous all over the world and not without a good reason! Indeed, its delicious dishes, its traditional recipes and generally the local delicacies, more than enhance the traveler’s experience. Undoubtedly, we all think of pizza and spaghetti when we hear about Italian food (long live carbs!), but our beloved Rome has unparalleled mouth-watering trails to offer to a hungry wanderer – to launch their delicious journey!
Having already visited the country twice in the past, I always arrived back in Greece with the complaint that often haunts us when returning from Italy: “Well, all the fuss was about this pizza with the thin dough? My grandmother’s pizza is much better!”. Aside from the fact that my grandmother actually does make the best pizza (no negotiations accepted), I realized that I probably didn’t know where to go! Besides that, I had no idea of the existence of other, stunning dishes I had to try. So I decided to return to the country to get rid of this wrong perception, and to finally reveal the little diamonds of Italian gastronomy! I booked my tickets to Rome, and I compiled all my discoveries in a blog to help you plan the tastiest trip!
1. Supplì: Snacks or Oranges?
The golden Supplì competes with their relatives, Arancini, and it’s hard to decide on a single version of this unique appetizer. They get their name from the word arancia (= orange), thanks to the characteristic color of their crunchy crust. They are fried snacks filled with rice, tomato sauce and mozzarella that melts in your mouth (Supplì), or with juicy pieces of meat (ragù) if you choose the Sicilian version (Arancini). You can order them as an antipasto (appetizer), or even consume them on the go, as they are also available as fast food. They go perfectly with cold beer!
2. Carciofi alla Giudia: Just in case you consider chips as too mainstream!
In this place we find this special Italian recipe that includes deep-fried artichokes, so crunchy and tasty that they have nothing to envy from crispy potato chips! They are fried in oil after being seasoned with salt and pepper and rubbed with lemon, and they’re one of the simplest and at the same time most wonderful dishes I tried in Rome! In general, artichokes are a favorite ingredient of Italian cuisine, as they can even be added to pizza, while another traditional artichoke-based appetizer is Carciofi alla romana.
3. Saltimbocca alla Romana: Fireworks in your mouth!
The characterization of this dish is not an exaggeration, since its name really means “the one which jumps in the mouth”! Maybe I was a little addicted to this particular dish. Maybe I was dragging my friends with me over and over again in the same restaurant to order it once more. Maaaybe I was such a fan that we even got to know the waiter… YES IT WAS THAT DELICIOUS! My favorite Italian main course, therefore, consists of thin beef fillet, stuffed with prosciutto and sage. The meat is simmered in a fragrant sauce of wine and butter, and the rich, tasty result will definitely excite you! Accompanied with mashed potatoes enriched with melted cheese, it truly is something unforgettable!
4. Lasagne Bolognese: Something familiar, but also special!
This is the point where I cry, because I am off to praise the smart choice of my friend, who ordered the right dish in the right restaurant. I tried it in another place and it wasn’t even close to the one he savored! Lasagna is a large rectangle-shaped pasta that is assembled in layers between which there is a filling. The Bolognese sauce filling, in our case, consists of minced meat, chopped vegetables, traditional Italian pancetta which resembles bacon, milk, tomato paste, broth and wine! Each layer is topped with steaming béchamel cream full of parmesan, and that’s how one of the most popular Italian pasta recipes is completed. I stole from my friend’s extra traditional clay pot at the “Hostaria Al Gladiatore” restaurant, overlooking the Colosseum!
5. Fresh Pasta: You’ve Heard of It, Time to Try It!
I don’t have much to point out here, apart from the fact that walking in the picturesque alleys of Rome and especially in the Trastevere district, you will often come across restaurants with fresh pasta… And you are definitely not allowed to leave them behind without trying them! Some of my favorite pasta dishes that you can choose from are the plain but difficult to make, peppery “Cacio e pepe”, the spicy, red “Amatriciana” and the “angry”, hot “Arrabbiata”!
6. Gelato: What you simply can’t resist!
Refreshing and delicious, gelato is literally something you’ll find in every corner of the city, in every flavor and color you can imagine! But if you want to taste the best of what we tried (and believe me, we overdosed), you should visit Venchi! Very close to Piazza Navona, it impresses passers-by with the huge chocolate waterfall that covers one of its walls. It offers a wide variety of flavors for consumption on the go, and is worth the wait in the fast-moving queue as it has the most delicious gelato ever! I suggest you make yourself a favor and get two or even three scoops, and I promise you won’t regret it!
We discovered something different in the alleys of Rome and I couldn’t help but include it in this list, although it is not part of the eternal city’s tradition! This is the original, tiny bar named “Cioccolata e Vino”, where you can enjoy a quick shot that isn’t similar to others!
We love drinks, we adore chocolate, and we adore even more the great idea of having your drink in a chocolate-made glass! The menu of the bar is completely inappropriate, each drink having a dirty name…! After you place your order, your shot is served in its sweet glass, garnished with whipped cream and truffle. Then, depending on what you picked, the bartender suggests a funny way to consume it! It’s definitely worth a try if you enjoy extraordinary experiences!
So we gathered the best of the best dishes in Rome!
I could claim that when I cooked the dishes I tasted in Rome, my attempts touched the perfection of the authentic ones. However, such a thing would be impossible! So, if you find yourself in the Eternal City, don’t miss my favorite dishes and you’ll remember my word! And when you get there… drink a chocolate shot for me!
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