Pizza, Pasta, and Artichokes: Eating Like a Roman in the Eternal City

Rome is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities on earth. It is on everyone’s bucket list, whether they are drawn by the history, the weather or as in my case, the food. It seems nearly impossible to leave Italy’s capital without being satisfied by all three.

After a long day visiting ancient monuments like the Vatican Museums, Coliseum or the Trevi Fountain what is better than having a delicious meal and watching the world go by from your favorite table at a nearby traditional restaurant or trattoria? Here are some traditional, delicious, and perhaps lesser known dishes available to food lovers visiting Rome.

What is a trip to Italy without a giant plate of pasta accompanied by a glass of red wine? There are so many forms of pasta- bucatini, rigatoni, and of course, the famous spaghetti. Romans love to eat all of these comforting dishes accompanied by various sauces. The most popular in Rome include carbonara, which consists of raw egg yolk, black pepper, guanciale (pigs cheek), and topped with grated Pecorino Romano and pancetta. If elaborate isn’t your cup of tea, you might be more comfortable with Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe which is just Pecorino Romano (a sharp tasting hard cheese), black pepper, and leftover salted pasta water- a local favorite.

When you have exhausted yourself on your fair share of Italian carbs, you are sure to enjoy Rome’s many delicious meat and seafood selections. Filetti di baccalà fritti is a crispy fried cod fillet specialty made from the freshest of fish. Abbachio all scottadito is a must for any lamb-lover in Rome. It is lamb chops seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon, and rosemary and rubbed in lard or olive oil and grilled. You will be scoffed at if this dish is not eaten by hand.

If you are vegetarian, or even if you’re not, you will enjoy carciofi or puntarelle. Puntarelle are bitter green leaves soaked in ice water and tossed in lemon juice, olive oil, and anchovies- a perfect crunchy salad for a perfect late summer afternoon snack. Carciofi is a seasonal summer artichoke that is a renowned addition to any grocer’s stock. Roman’s have two ways of preparing this dish- they either stuff it with bread crumbs, garlic, mint, and parsley and braise them in olive oil and water or they beat it against a hard surface until the petals bloom and then deep fry it. Both absolutely delicious and worth a taste.

What is dinner without dessert? Italian’s know that the perfect way to top their meal off is with a sweet treat. Some Roman favorites are cannoli, tiramisu, and of course, gelato. Maritozzi is a lesser-known delicacy, but not because it isn’t deserving. These buns are made with sugar, eggs, almond extract, and candied orange peel, and to top it off they are filled with fresh whipped cream. All of these desserts are worthy in themselves of international acclaim.

Wherever you are, it is well worth the long journey to Rome to get your hands on some of the most luscious fares in the world.

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