Sampling Italian Cuisine in Rome

carbonara-rome-food-secretsRome continues to hold its own as one of the great culinary centres of Europe. Although many of the traditional trattorie haven’t changed their menus in decades, the number of ethnic restaurants and chic fusion cafés continue to grow each year, meaning you don’t have to settle for pasta or pizza every night. The best thing about dining out in Rome is that you get a lot for your money, and don’t need to spend much to eat well.

Local Cuisine

Roman meals typically include a minimum of three separate courses: pasta, a main meat-based course and a dessert. The pasta dishes are definitely the centerpiece of any Roman meal and are quite filling. Italian wine is both excellent and affordable, which may explain why the locals drink it at both lunch and dinner.

Roman cuisine isn’t exactly subtle, but its restaurants create some of the most delicious food in the country. The chefs here tend to borrow from other Italian regions, which mean you can find most great Italian dishes in the trattories of Rome. Some of the tastier dishes include riso con gamberi (rice with shrimp, mushrooms and peas cooked in white wine); scampi alla griglia (grilled prawns); and gnocchi alla romana (flour dumplings in a meat sauce, topped with grated cheese).

Where to Eat

For a quick bite to eat, try a bar. They have great café-style food and offer two prices: al banco (standing at the bar) and a tavola (sitting at a table). You’ll pay up to four times as much if you sit at a table. Pizzerie are casual restaurants that specialize in large, thin wood-fired pizzas. Full-fledged restaurants are called osteria, trattoria or ristorante. You will usually have to pay a small pane e coperto (bread and cover charge) just for sitting at a table.

Roman restaurants serve lunch between 13:00 and 15:00, and dinner between 20:00 and 23:00. At all other times of the day, most restaurants are closed. Romans eat dinner late, since they tend to eat the heartiest meal of the day at lunchtime.