Last summer I visited Rome for the first time. My impulsive self decided I’d fall in love with the city even before we’d booked plane tickets. My exact words to Murray were, ‘I’m worried because I know I’ll want to move to Rome’. I would have even put money on the fact that we’d be living there in the near future, Murray, working as a photographer and me working in a kitchen somewhere.
It disappoints me to say that after a jam packed few days exploring the city I wasn’t falling the way I thought I would. It felt grubby and the epic Roman roads I’d expected to see and be astounded by, weren’t really there. I mean, we went to some amazing places and there’s no denying they were b-e-l-l-i-sima. But I didn’t get that magic feeling inside my gut, the feeling I get when I’m in Venice.
Reflecting back on our time there has made me think Rome is a city that’s a grower and spending a larger amount of time there would of seen me right.
The best thing about our trip to Rome was that we ate some incredibly delicious food. Staying in the Trastevere district meant we were in the heart of where Romans go to eat.
Here is a list of my top places to eat. All highly recommended.
- Fatamorgana (7 shops across Rome)
The best gelato I’ve ever eaten (apart from my village gelateria of course! Sadly it has shut down now, so you’ll have to take my word) This video is a great insight into the world of Fatamorgana. Inspiring!
- Grazie and Graziella (Trastevere)
A restaurant with a beautiful setting, near the main square in Trastevere. Classic understated dishes with a quirky designed menu. Great place to soak up the atmosphere of this charming district.
- Freni & Frizioni (Trastevere)
Housed in what used to be a mechanics this hip bar serves great beer and cocktails as well as being a go to destination for the infamous aperitvo hour. Drinks are pricey compared to the UK, but once you’ve bought a drink you can go up to the buffet and fill your plate up for FREE. My kind of drinking!
- Bir& fud (Trastevere)
Beer heaven. We went all the way to Rome to find our locally brewed Sussex hop head on tap! Needless to say we by-passed the hop head and instead chose the recommended locally brewed Trastevere pale ale. It was incredible, so much so in fact we went back a few more times to have more. They serve amazing pizza and a selection of fried goodies including a trio of arancini.
- Pastificio (Spanish Steps)
Serving up only two types of pasta a day, one red sauce and one white sauce, this eatery has a daily queue out the door come 1pm. For 4 euro you can get a plate of fresh pasta and a glass of wine. When we visited we didn’t know about the free wine perk. We casually asked what the big bottle on the counter was for and the guy behind the till promptly poured us a couple of glasses and said ‘prego’.
- Pianostrada (Trastevere)
We stumbled across this incredibly charming place as it was a 2 minute walk away from the apartment we were staying in. Run by Chiara and Paula (see below) they serve up a range of casual dishes with the main focus being on freshly baked artisan bread. They also have a fantastic selection of locally brewed beer on the menu. Utterly delicious!
You can’t go to Rome without trying out some Mama style cooking. This place is no frills, but makes for a great experience. We chose a selection of dishes to share that came out as and when they were ready. It’s cash only and asking for the bill involves your waiter coming over and writing it down onto your paper tablecloth.
- Pinsere (Termini)
I almost did a little cry when we were choosing our lunch at this place. The ‘Pinsa’ ancient Roman flatbreads were so beautiful that they looked too good to eat. We probably spent 10 minutes trying to decide which one to have before we asked the owner to choose for us. The toppings come in all sorts of creative combo’s that make for a lip-smacking lunch.
- Dall’Anto (Monti)
A short walk away from the Coliseum and a much better standard of what you’d get from the overpriced places around the tourist area. Dall’Anto is a bakery with a difference. It’s home to various speciality breads from all over Italy and also serves freshly made pancakes. Perfect for a light lunch or an afternoon snack. We had a chesnut flour pancake filled with cheese.