24 Hours Of Food In Rome

Dispatches from the Road, Food & Wine, Italy — By on May 22, 2012 at 6:00 am
By Laura Hounsom

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but can you eat your way around it in one? On a trip to visit one of my best friends who lives in the capital, that is certainly what we did! Forget the tourist traps and visit the haunts and hangouts of local Romans; here are my favourite food stops in the city.

Breakfast

This is not a leisurely affair in Rome, more of a transaction. Grab a pair of sunglasses, and march to the nearest Tabaccheria. Pay for your coffee and pastry at the counter (buy your metro tickets for the day whilst you’re at it) then choose from the range of cornetti, plain or filled with jam, crema pasticcera or chocolate cream. Since it’s before noon, you can risk a cappuccino, or otherwise a spremuta. If you visit in early spring, this means delicious, sweetened blood orange juice. Loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, it’s enough to set anybody up for the day.
Lunch

A welcome lunchtime option after a few days of Roman indulgence is Bibliothé, a one-of-a-kind restaurant tucked away on Via Celsa. No, you’re not in the wrong place, that is indeed a yoga library you walk through to find the dining area. This unusual haven offers respite from rich dishes for an hour or two, with simple, whole-food options. Expect homemade hummus, zingy salads and refreshing soups. Ever popular with working-lunch Romans, try the ‘Curry in a Hurry’: a silver platter with three portions of daily specials, rice and salad. Great for vegetarians.
Bibliothé: Via Celsa 4 00186. Tel. 06 6781427.
Sweet Things

Now to undo all that good work. You’ve been walking around the capital all day and now you’re in need a sugar-kick. Down the road from the Pantheon is gelato-shop Giolitti. Opinions may vary about the best Gelateria in Rome, but Giolitti also offers a treat for the eyes, with original turn of the century décor and bow-tied staff. Try the mulberry-like Mora flavour and don’t say no to extra cream.

Giolitti: Via degli Uffici del Vicario 40 00186, Roma. 06 699 1243
If it takes more than ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth, there is unparalleled delight waiting for you in off the beaten track San Lorenzo. Not only will you leave the tourist sites behind and see some of real Rome, but look hard enough and you’ll also find S.A.I.D. A fully functioning chocolate workshop, built in an old chocolate factory should be temptation enough. If you can tear yourself away from the storefront, sinful desserts await you in the café. Choose tiny, decadent morsels on platters of six, and if you dare, order the hot chocolate – pure, melted indulgence.
S.A.I.D dal 1923, Chocolate Factory: Via Tiburtina, 135 00185 Roma.  Tel. 06 4469204.

Aperitifs

Dinner, at 7.30pm? Certainly not. This isn’t England. Make it more like 10pm. Thankfully, this gives you time to appreciate proper Italian aperitivo. Near the Forum in the Monti district is Fafiuchè, a tiny wine-bar with a broad range of Italian delicacies. For around €8 choose a glass of whatever takes your fancy from the board, pick up your plate and sample the dishes of your choosing, such as tomato salad and fennel salami. Several glasses later and you’ll be ready for the evening’s headline act.
Fafiuchè: via Madonna dei Monti 28 00184 Roma.  Tel. 06 6990968.
Dinner

Luckily, if you’ve been relaxing pre-dinner at Fafiuchè, you don’t have far to go. A little further down the same road is the unassuming front of the one of the best restaurants in Rome. La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali is a family run gem, with impeccably friendly service and classic Roman food. This isn’t fussy, expensive cuisine. It’s simple and sensational. A plate of just-made ravioli filled with fresh mozzarella and a classic basil pesto is an epiphany for jaded palates. Other dishes range from the traditional cacio y pepe (pasta with pecorino cheese and pepper) with added black truffles, to seafood linguine with lobster, mussels and clams. A bottle of wine, good friends, and you have Roman dining at its best.
 La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali: Via della Madonna dei Monti, 9 00184 Roma.  Tel. 06 6798643. Closed Tuesdays. Book in advance.
 
Eating on a budget?
Pizzeria l’Economica (Via tiburtina, 44
00185, Roma) This place does what is says on the tin. Fast, fresh pizza in bustling surroundings for fewer euros than a pint.
Le Fate Restaurant (Viale Trastevere, 130, Roma. Tel. 06 5800971) They don’t come much friendlier than this. Homely atmosphere and pleasant service with a menu for students and under 25’s that offers bruschetta, pasta arrabiata, tiramisu and a carafe of wine for €10 a head.
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