Rome might be up there on the Let’s Go list of Tastiest European Cities. Here are 7 tried and true Roman eateries to get your grub on at.
$, V. Del Pellegrino 87; 64760483; open M-Sa 9am-2am
Open for the better part of the day, Barnum Café shapeshifts from trendy breakfast spot to studious work café to popular aperitivo bar over the course of your waking hours. Like its eponymous circus entertainer, Barnum has many acts, but it always remains a full-time creative space and frequent hangout for Rome’s freelancers, alternative types, and internationally-minded crowd. Situated in the heart of the rose-tinted Centro Storico neighborhood, Barnum specializes in artful salads, cocktail creations, and actually cold iced coffee (served in a martini glass, no less). Go for a snack, go for a spritz and a bruschetta, or go for an hour of focused laptop time—regardless, you’ll feel cooler for doing so.
Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti
$, V. della Luce 21; 65803926; open M-Sa 8am-8pm, Su 9:30am-2pm, closed Aug
Though its exterior beckons to no one, Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti’s oneroom interior projects all the signs of serious bakery business: a huge oven, baskets of cookies in the window, a large scale to accurately weigh your haul of cookies, and store plaques plastered on top of American political campaign signs from the 1970s. The vintage look isn’t a show: the bakery has been operated by the same family for over 50 years, and is subject to the usual non-corporate whims (such as closing the whole month of August for vacation). Innocenti delivers on a wide range of baked goods, but specializes in traditional Italian nut cookies, such as hazelnut bites (brutti ma buoni) or almond wedges (some with chocolate). Running about €2 for six or so, you can afford to try a few (or 20).
$$, V. della Meloria 43; 63974516; www.bonci. it; open M-Sa 11am-10pm, Su 11am-4pm and 6pm-10pm
Sure, the Vatican contains the wealth of a country a hundred times its size, but the real treasure might be just outside its walls. We’re talking about Bonci Pizzarium, located a five-minute walk from the Vatican Museums, and arguably the best takeaway pizza in Rome. Founded by famed pizza connoisseur Gabriele Bonci, the Pizzarium seems more like a pizza art museum than a fast food joint, as the crusts are loaded with Willy Wonkastyle portions of toppings—mounds of mozzarella, piles of sautéed veggies, and even heaps of seared tuna. (Haven’t you heard? Margherita was so last season). A word of warning: some gourmet slices (yes, that tuna one) can run several euro more per slice, so check the labels before you accidentally end up with a €15 takeaway pizza bill.
Gelateria Della Palma
$ V. Della Maddalena 19-23; 668806752; www.dellapalma.it; open daily 8:30am12:30am
Gelateria Della Palma’s rainbow palm tree logo doesn’t scream “GOOD GELATO,” but don’t be fooled by the neon: this shop takes gelato as seriously as the color spectrum. Della Palma, on the corner of the Pantheon plaza, specializes in the wacky and wonderful, with over 150 flavors ranging from Kiwi Strawberry to Kit Kat to Sesame and Honey. Yes, it’s swimming with people all taking too much time to make a flavor decision, but the quality of gelato and heaping portions render the hassle irrelevant. Plus, there are numerous soy/rice milk and yogurt options for those challenged by dairy and full fat. If you’re going to ball out on gelato in Rome (and you should), this is center court.
$$, V. della Zoccolette 22; 689572296; open Tu-Su 1-4pm and 7pm-11:30pm
Recently relocated from Trastevere to a quiet corner of Monti, Pianostrada puts a fresh spin on familiar Italian staples. Their menu presents a tour de force of re-energized dishes, from refined street food (i.e., fried everything), to stir-fried veggies with pine nuts and raisins, to the best damn focaccia in Rome. The old trattoria provides inspiration for Pianostrada’s pizzas, focaccias, and small plates, but their salads, fried dishes, and flavor combinations defy classification. Ristorante, this is not. And though it occupies the tail end of the student budget spectrum, Pianostrada’s daring take on Italian cuisine, sprightly interior, and spacious back patio justify the cost.
$, Vle. Aventino 41; 65746108; open Tu-Su noon-3pm and 7:30-11pm
There’s a group of Italian friends laughing their way to wine bottle #2, a couple on a date, and a mom and daughter sharing a giant plate of noodles. Just another Roman ristorante? Nope, it’s Malaysian fusion at lunchtime. With its extensive menu of Southeast Asian specialties (emphasis on spice, if you ask for it), Court Delicati draws a crowd of local foodies and a few stray tourists to its simply decorated yet homey perch, a 10-to 15-minute walk south from the Circus Maximus. The flavorful dishes— ranging from bean sprout stir fry to roast duck, spring rolls to steamed rice cakes—mostly fall under €10, making Court Delicati an ideal place to swap olive oil for teriyaki.
Forno Campo De’Fiori
$ Vicolo del Gallo 14; 668806662; www. fornocampodefiori.com; open M-Sa 7:30am-8pm
There are numerous fornos (bakeries) throughout Rome, which can make it difficult to choose one that doesn’t hand you a bag of dried-out cookies or surprisingly charge you €4 for a couple biscotti. And then there’s Il Forno Campo de’Fiori, which catches your gaze with its bright sign, yet soothes you with sweet, sweet sugar (specifically, a hefty bag of lemon cookies and biscotti for under €2). Il Forno Campo de’Fiori can also tempt you with savory treats, as its paninis, piadinas, and various other combos of sliced things and bread are delicious, filling, and mercifully cheap. No seating for this meal; you can pace yourself to all the nearby monuments one chocolate-dipped almond biscuit at a time.
Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Adrian will be honing her bakery-finding
skills in Greece and southern Italy this summer. Prior work experience: ranch- hand, gardener, fruit bat cage cleaner, one-time contributor to her hometown’s Wikipedia page. Her current interests include distance running, 90s music, and convincing people she has seen Game of Thrones Seasons 1-5 (she hasn’t, but
oh my god wasn’t the Red Wedding in Season 3 BANANAS?!). When she isn’t watching movie trailers on YouTube, she studies History and Literature at Harvard and sometimes writes about pop culture.