In a busy city like Rome, home to many fantastic tourist sights, sometimes you don’t have time to sit down and enjoy a meal in a restaurant. So, whilst you should definitely take a moment to savour the delicious pizza and pasta options this historic city has to offer if you can, ‘on the go’ foods are a great way to sample a taste of Italy and still fit as much exploring into your holiday as possible.
Luckily, Rome has plenty of these bite-sized morsels to keep you going. Here are a few you should definitely try if you get the chance.
You will see these little, fried balls of delight in many different places as you wander around the Italian capital and, every time, they look irresistibly good. Similar to arancini (but not the same), they are balls of rice and other tasty fillings fried in a crispy coating. Some of the popular flavours include pesto, mozzarella, little chunks of salami and various herbs. In fact, one of the tastiest suppli we tried whilst in Rome had a simple potato and herb filling.
A street food trend is sweeping through Rome and trapizzino are leading the way. The name comes from the fact that they are a mix between a slice of pizza and a tramezzino sandwich (triangular in shape and without crusts). Pizza dough is shaped into a triangle and a little pocket is created for the filling of your choice. We went for the traditional meatball and ragu option but there’s also chicken cacciatore, aubergine, octopus and others. You’ll find them at the Mercato Centrale Roma (a foodie’s paradise next to Termini station) or at the street food stalls in Testaccio.
Cannoli may have originated in Sicily but the people of Rome have certainly adopted them for themselves. With a name that means ‘little tube’, these treats are filled with sweet ricotta cheese and then sprinkled with toppings such as pistachio, chocolate or cherries. The fried pastry used to make the tube offers a lovely, contrasting crunch that is often a lot more brittle than it looks. Pick up a big cannoli for a filling snack or try several little ones of different flavours to graze on throughout the day.
Gelato has to be the ultimate ‘eat on the go’ sweet food and the beauty of being in Rome is that there are so many different places to try and all of them are delicious. You cannot walk through a piazza or down a popular street without passing at least a couple of gelaterias and they all have a myriad of flavours on offer. The classics like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry are always there but salted caramel, stracciatella (chocolate chip) and fruity offerings like mango are obvious favourites too. We even saw quirky flavours like sesame seed and KitKat.
Alongside the gelaterias, you will also notice lots of pasticcerias that will beckon you in with rows upon rows of desserts. These cake shops offer a great way to try different things as everything is so small and relatively cheap. You’ll be amazed at the sheer variety available and the colours may stop you in your tracks for a while as you try to decide what to choose. One of the staples in Rome is the bombe alla crema – a doughnut-like treat with a lemon-flavoured custard oozing out of the top. You’ll see them alongside macaroons, tiny cheesecakes, mini panna cottas and just about anything else you could wish for. One great thing is that these pasticcerias open late into the evening – perfect for fuelling your late-night adventures.
OK, so we couldn’t make this list without mentioning pizza. If you have a craving for a whole pie then, by all means, visit one of the many fantastic pizzerias the city can offer. However, if you want a quick bite whilst travelling between sights, you’ll want to grab some by the slice (al taglio). This gives you the chance to try a number of different toppings and there’s no need for any white tablecloths or cutlery. One of the best places for pizza by the slice is Alice Pizza, a chain which lets you pay by the weight so you can choose a lot of something you love or a little of something new.
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