Last week I had a very short time in Rome during which I shamelessly abused the phrase “when in Rome…” When in Rome eat six meals a day. When in Rome stop for a pizza dinner before dinner. When in Rome fuck it have gelato for dinner. Call me a cornball but at least I’m a well fed one.
Here are the three things I loved eating in Rome, with a couple non-food related stops to enjoy while you’re wandering:
Trapizzino at 00100 – CLOSED
I was sitting at a tiny counter in this hole in the wall restaurant when I realized how far I’ve come since the times of burning my tongue on cheap public school cafeteria hot pockets. The trapizzino is the pizza spin-off snack I’ve been waiting for. Soft pizza bread is cut into triangles, toasted and filled with sauces and meat. We chose the polpette (meatballs) with sugo. The sugo was one of the best I’ve had— bright in color, savory, buttery, surprisingly not messy, and after every bite of the sandwich I wanted more.
We also tried their most popular pizza, the Greenwich: a rectangular slice topped with mozerrella, blue cheese, and drizzled with reduced port. Not my flavor profile, but blue cheese lovers would probably enjoy.
We came here around 6 pm and it was dead, however I would guess that it gets busy at night. About a 30 minute walk from the centro historic along the river.
Almost everything at Pizzarium
This place doesn’t need anymore publicity; from a block away we could spot the crowd hovering outside. It’s located in a residential neighborhood somewhat (but not really) close to the Vatican, and still absolutely worth the trip. Here people get in line and choose their slices at the counter. Slices are square-shaped, thick but soft, and toppings change throughout the day. Our favorites were the spinach and white bean paste, and the sausage and porcini pizza — it was earthy, but subtle, and the sausage was divine. Ugh I know I just used the word divine to describe sausage, but I can’t help it.
There’s no seating inside and a few benches outside. I suggest coming at lunch or a random time of day to avoid the crowd.
Gelato at Fatamorgana
Sometimes when I start researching where to eat I find myself (many clicks and hours later) on a very far away tangent — in this case, it was an article about the amount of artificial ingredients in your common scoop of gelato. So, of course, I made us walk past tens of gelato shops before I found one that I read prioritized natural, real ingredients. Patience is indeed a virtue, and sometimes it gets you amazing pistachio gelato. It’s worth noting that pistachio isn’t even one of my favorite flavors— I just thought it would pair nicely with dark chocolate, which was probably the best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had. I had the Bronte pistachio (there are two types, each named after the region when the pistachios are sourced from, of course). Research pays off— this gelato was so damn real it smelled like the shells had just been cracked.
I’m not sure if it was the economy, but I found Rome to be kinda dead. Seems like all the young folk are sitting around a fountain in a cute neighborhood tucked behind the coliseum called Monti. Monti is “up and coming” with a few vintage stores, designer boutiques (mostly unimpressive to be honest) and some good restaurants, cafes and bars. The piazza della Madonna dei Monti (where the fountain is) is totally charming, especially at sunset. I would recommend sitting down for a coffee in the patio of Bottega del Cafe, situated perfectly on one side of the piazza, or grabbing a drink at a somewhat confused but harmless juice/cocktail bar called Full Monti, kitty corner from the cafe. Hang here with the rest of Rome till the sun goes down. Gelateria Fatamagora is a few blocks from the plaza, just walk down Via Degli Zingare. Most of the clothing shops are along Via del Boschetto, starting from Via Nazionale, down to the piazza.
-Shopping destination: Betulla -CLOSED
This was the only boutique I liked in Rome. Walking down a quiet street, we smelled the lavender from around the corner. Apparently it was a special day so they were selling flower bouquets up front, and had a beautiful array of cookies, cakes, and teas for customers in the back of the store. In between there was a well-curated selection of women’s clothing from European designers, and a lovely salesperson. We stumbled upon this by walking on Via Delfini (which intersects a main street in the Centro Historico, Via delle Botteghe Oscure) and following it until it becomes Via de Funari. At this point we made a lunch reservation at Roscioli (good place for burrata, prosciutto, and other starters, I wasn’t thrilled with my pasta) and wandered towards Roscioli Bakery (beautiful!) and then found Betulla. Clothes are on the higher end of the spectrum, and be sure to check the hours (most stores close for siesta). Map of our walk here, (stop B is Roscioli, C the Bakery, and D the boutique).
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Via Giovanni Branca 88, Testaccio
Via della Meloria, 43
Multiple locations, but the one in Monti is Piazza degli Zingari 5.