The best meals in Rome are the ones enjoyed out in the sunshine, on a cobblestone street, watching the world go by. We’ve put together a typical Roman menu for an epic day of food while you roam the city streets.
9am Breakfast - Cappuccino e cornetto
Romans like to keep it light for breakfast to save some room for the many culinary delights the day may bring. In Italy, the Cappuccino is a morning-only affair, it gets its name from the milk and coffee colour combination, matching the robes of the Capuchin monks. So head to the nearest Bar (what the Italians call a Cafè) and grab a Cappuccino e cornetto (Italian croissant). Order and pay first at the cashier, then take your receipt to the barista’s counter to enjoy your breakfast standing up, like a real local.
11am Morning snack - Pizza al taglio
Round pizza was invented in Naples, but square pizza by the slice was invented in Rome. Just look for the sign: Pizza al taglio and a hungry line of people out the front. Slices are sold by weight so just point to which one tickles your fancy and use your hands to show how big a piece you’d like. You’ll then be asked if you want it warmed up, scaldata, then you’ll be handed your hot slices, ready to be devoured.
1pm Lunch - Panino con porchetta
A panino is must-have Italian sandwich but when it’s filled with freshly sliced porchetta, roast herbed pork originating from Lazio, you have a real Roman experience. Just keep your eyes peeled for the giant roll of pork on the counter of any good gastronomia (deli), panetteria (bakery) or paninoteca (sandwich shop) and order yourself a panino con porchetta and wash it down with the classic Italian chinotto cola drink.
3pm Afternoon snack - Gelato
The afternoon gelato is a must, but really any time of the day is gelato time. Gelato means ice cream in Italian, but it is softer and less calories than ice cream due to more milk and less cream. A good gelateria should scoop its gelato out of steel drums with a lid so you know it’s all made fresh. Our go-to flavours are pistacchio and amarena (sour cherry) and if you’re feeling really cheeky ask for panna cream on top!
5pm Afternoon snack continued - Supplì
Back in your friendly Pizza al taglio joint, you may have spotted some crispy fried balls amongst the fields of pizza. They go by the name of supplì, fried rice balls with tomato sauce and a gooey mozzarella cheese filling, and they’re Rome’s favourite street food.
7pm Pre dinner drinks - Aperitivo
Romans eat dinner famously late, and with many restaurants not serving dinner until after 8pm, it can be a long wait for a weary traveller. Aperitivo to the rescue! This much loved Italian custom is a time to unwind with a pre-dinner drink (and complimentary bar snacks) to work up an appetite for dinner. The classic aperitivo drink is the bitter red Campari spritz, or its sweeter cousin Aperol spritz. Don’t forget to cheers your friend in Italian, salute!
9pm Dinner - Carbonara e Vino
Roman food is unfussy yet flavourful using the simplest of ingredients but it can be tricky to find an authentic restaurant meal in Rome. Delve into a side street in the heart of Rome like Via della Chiesa Nuova for a casual family-run trattoria or osteria. A plate of Carbonara is a must, the humble dish of the Italian carbonai charcoal-makers. The original Roman version is made without cream, just a magical blend of pasta topped with guanciale cured pork, egg sauce and pecorino cheese. Pair it with a carafe of vino della casa, house wine, and you’re done like dinner.
Now that you’ve covered what to feast on, check out our Local Tour Guide of Rome.