Rome Travel Guide: where to eat, drink, and shop
Welcome to my Rome travel guide! Today we’re going to be covering where to eat authentic Roman food, where to drink the best cocktails, and where to shop for the best leather in Rome. This was my third time to the eternal city while I have to be honest and say that I much prefer Florence, I finally felt like this time I got a feel for the city instead of just being a tourist. Rome is HUGE and there is so much to do, so this list is most definitely not exhaustive. However, I feel like this was a pretty comprehensive trip for just a few days! Enjoy!
Where to eat
Bar Tassoni was just across the street so we went here for coffee every day. Cappuccinos were classic Italian: creamy and delicious.
Lunch & Dinner
I didn’t have as much luck finding sourdough bread/pizza in Rome as I did in Italy, so most of my meals in Rome consisted of meat plus some sort of side vegetable. Also unfortunately, Roman cuisine centers around pasta; cacio e pepe and pasta alla carbonara are both classic Roman dishes. Luckily my two traveling companions were more than willing to order all the pasta and let me try a bite or two. I really wanted to try out Piccolo Buco, as it promised to have sourdough pizza, but it was a bit of a hike from where were staying and both nights we didn’t really feel like walking any more than we had to for our food. Perhaps next time!
This was a recommendation from our Airbnb hosts and it did not disappoint. Marc got gnocchi (look how cute and little they were!) and Mitch got cacio e pepe and both were amazing. My lamb and potatoes were also really good, they just weren’t pasta, you know? Luckily the pasta portions were generous and the guys didn’t mind me stealing several bites. (Come to think of it, this behavior may have been why I wasn’t feeling so good by the end of our stay in Rome. Whatever, worth it.)
We went here for lunch after our morning at the Vatican, as it was deemed by yours truly to be far enough away to not be a tourist trap (I was correct in case you were wondering). I got chicken and potatoes (seeing a trend here yet?) and the guys got pizza which was very good. This was the only pizza we ended up having in Rome so it was my token “Roman pizza” to which I compared the pizza in Naples.
Another recommendation from our Airbnb hosts and probably my favorite meal in Rome. This place was definitely a local neighborhood hangout. Their menu was just written on the wall (that picture was actually taken so we could read it from our seats). I wish I could remember which white wine our waiter gave us (not that I can even read what most of them say) because it was absolutely delicious. (I asked for something not acidic.) My stead and Marc’s carbonara were absolutely delicious.
We ended up going here after trekking all the way up to the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria to see Bernini’s “The Ecstasy of Teresa,” only to find the church had closed for siesta five minutes prior. Of course I forgot that the churches close for siesta in Italy. But this restaurant was good, I had a salad with smoked salmon which was a nice change from my meat and potatoes routine. Everything was super fresh and I was absolutely thrilled to find that “salad dressing” consisted of bottles of olive oil and vinegar in the corner. This should be mandatory everywhere.
We came here for dinner on our last night in Rome because we were all sick of pasta (or at least our stomachs were). And because Marc loves pubs. I think I got some sort of sausage and a salad, but apparently I was too hungry for photos. I do remember them being good though!
We got this gelato down a side street near the Colosseum. Definitely not the world’s best gelato or anything, but it wasn’t that touristy crap with the too-bright colors (impressive, considering we could see the Colosseum from where we sat).
We did have more luck finding cocktail bars in Rome than Florence. And super convenient, they were super close to our Airbnb #winning ! Two of the places were American prohibition-era themed which was weird to find in Italy but I’m not complaining.
This place was a legit, hidden-entrance type speakeasy. We just wandered up around 11pm like a bunch of tourists but luckily we got in (highly recommend trying to make reservations if you try to go). They also charge a cover and another fee for a membership card (which I have now if I ever go back, I guess), but the drinks were good enough to make up for the slight expense. Mine came in a tiny bottle with its own tiny cork and ice bucket! I mean! (Harold also got a little carried away with himself 😂)
Yes, this is another Irish pub on my guide to Rome. Yes, we did manage to go to all the Irish pubs in the city in the course of three days. But we were tired from my Marathon Walking Tour of Rome (see below), and Harold the Gnome wanted a Guinness. (Also yes, we have a thing for half pints of Guinness.
Where to shop
Between Marc and I, we may have brought back an entire cow’s worth of leather with us (sorry to any vegetarians out there). 🙈 What can I say? Italian leather is far superior (and far less expensive) than anything you can find in the states.
What I really wanted though was a pair of leather shoes. I hadn’t bought any last year in Florence because I was trying to be more responsible with my budget, but I resolved this year to make it happen. So many women’s shoe stores we passed just had heels and sandals, but this shop had some really awesome, unique oxford and boot styles, which was closer to what I was looking for. (The oxfords with the cool cutouts in this photo are what I ended up getting.) Now all I need is some leather pants and I can be entirely clad in Italian leather! 😂
This was a friendly little shop right down the street from the Trevi Fountain. Marc bought an awesome briefcase, and I bought a pair of leather gloves and a new wallet. The shop was small but we could have easily spent hours here, there were so many things to look at! Definitely recommend for leather goods in Rome.
We didn’t end up buying anything here, but we stopped in and Marc looked at some briefcases. They were more on the pricey side, but we talked with the shop owner who literally handmade each piece. You could tell everything was super high quality and he put a lot of care into the things he made. Good choice if you’re looking for an investment piece.
Next I’ll be sharing what we did and where we stayed! Stay tuned!