We didn’t necessarily have overblown expectations about the dining in Rome. Sure, Roberto and I both love Italian food, but I was a little worried the food would be strange and nothing like the Italian food we’re used to.
Fortunately, we were proven wrong right away.
Note that I didn’t bring my DSLR camera to dinner most nights and all these photos were taken with my iPhone.
Our most memorable experiences in Rome were spent at the table. We completely fell in love with the food and the dining culture of enjoying a long leisurely meal for hours on end and lingering in outdoor cafes over a cup of cappuccino or bottle of wine.
Our first experience wasn’t in Rome at all but in Frankfurt where my flight from the US and Roberto’s flight from Brazil were both connecting. We got to spend our layover together and enjoyed food and drinks in the Lufthansa lounge while we waited for our flight to Rome.
When we finally arrived in Rome that afternoon, we went off in search of a snack and found a deli near the apartment. Each ordering some pizza from the lady behind the counter, we were surprised when she took out a huge knife, chopped off some pizza, and folded and wrapped it up to weigh and give to us. Who knew they served pizza this way! We returned to this place and other delis for pizza at least once per day (sometimes more!) after this.
Best pizza ever!
That night we went to a restaurant for dinner and found both familiar and strange things on the menu. We both ordered different pasta dishes and were amazed with the beautiful simplicity that is Italian food. The noodles were freshly made and the sauces were filled with fresh, quality ingredients. The spices were just right and we did not add salt or cheese because the taste was already perfect. The pasta dishes tasted like Italian favorites we were used to, but so much better.
We enjoyed various drinks with each meal as well. For breakfast we would stop at a cafe and get cappuccino, which was absolute perfection. The coffee had a smooth, rich flavor and the foam was light and creamy. We spent an enjoyable evening in a bar in front of the Pantheon enjoying a bottle of Prosecco, and I enjoyed many glasses of wine while Roberto enjoyed local beers during our time in the Eternal City.
One of the most fun things we did was stop at a little dive bar for beers and to watch the Roman soccer team play. We ended up sharing a table with some rowdy old Italian men and had a blast enjoying their antics. The bartender would cruse and shout Italian obscenities at the team, throwing a bar rag when things got ugly. One of our table mates tried to speak English with us but all he seemed to know was “shut up.” We’d laugh at something or remark on the game and he’d toss his hands up and growl: “heyyyy shudddup.” Before busting into fits of laughter. So much fun!
On our last evening in Rome we found a small local restaurant on a quiet street and took a romantic table by the windows. We wanted to do our last meal up right, so we ordered both primi entrees and a secondi to share. Our pasta dishes were of course excellent and we ate every last bite. For the main dish we ordered a grilled fish. The server brought our fish out to show us before cooking it, and it was prepared covered in sea salt for a marinate. She returned with it grilled and filleted and split onto separate plates of us. The fish was fresh and simply cooked, and we enjoyed every last bite of the tender fillet. Sadly, there was no room for dessert.
I absolutely cannot wait to return to Rome and enjoy more of the food. I can still taste the yummy pizza and tender fish. Eating and drinking in the local restaurants and bars was my favorite thing about Rome!