It happens like this: “Let’s do dinner tomorrow night.”
“Oh I’d love to but I’m on a diet/ trying to eat healthy/ on a detox / just come back from a great workout and don’t want to ruin all my hard work/ trying to keep my stomach fairly flat for a hot date later that night at Bar del Fico/ feeling bloated and lethargic after scoffing pizza bianca, gnocchi and suppli’ in quick succession.”
You can still enjoy Rome’s food, eat organic or find scrumptious vegetarian choices. It’s all about knowing where to go. Here are our favourite spots for eating senza guilt.
Sanacafe Restaurant Bar
Via Pompeo Magno, 12 (Prati)
Open everyday 8am-12am
This restaurant is tucked away in a quiet street in Prati but the chef is doing some very exciting things with food. Don’t expect vege burgers and a quinoa salad at this joint – it’s sophisticated dining for those who like to eat clean, anti-aging, nutrient-rich food. These guys do everything from breakfast, lunch and dinner to aperitivo and takeaway meals. The emphasis is all on organic produce, baked goods made in-house and delicious snacks mid morning and afternoon to slow the metabolism and indulge the palate. Dishes include scallops carpaccio with saffron and broccoli; purple potatoes ravioli with pecorino cheese emulsion and sprouts; and for dessert bavarese with persimmon, mint, cinnamon and pomegranate.
Ristor Arte Il Margutta
Via Margutta, 118 (Spagna)
Open everyday 12.30-3.30pm; 7.30-11.30pm
This place prides itself on offering delicious vegetarian food for over 30 years. Seventy percent of the ingredients they use are organic. They have a hearty buffet lunch (they call it ‘brunch’ but don’t expect breakfast delights – Italians still don’t really get this modern meal), which is good for fussy eaters who want to try a little of everything and runs from 12.30pm to 3.30pm everyday. The menu even has vegan options such as asparagus spring risotto scented with fresh mint perfume. Homemade pasta includes combinations like buckwheat pasta with strawberries, asparagus and gorgonzola cheese. This place also hosts contemporary art exhibitions.
Via Urbana, 47 (Monti)
Lunch on weekends 12.30-3.30pm
Dinner everyday 7pm-12am
These guys place great importance on the quality, freshness and seasonality of their produce. I know, I know… all restaurants say that, but this place is focused on sourcing ingredients locally – they’ve even made a video about it. Try their spelt soup with seasonal vegetables and meat and black cabbage balls, stewed codfish with chickpeas, or fish with fennel from Lazio and Sicilian oranges. The setting is very cool and the presentation excellent if you’re looking to make this a special dinner date or a place to take foodie friends visiting Rome.
Via Borgognona, 43/44 (Spagna)
Open everyday till late
This chic juicebar and restaurant opened last year and is always packed with locals and lucky tourists who have stumbled upon it due to its central location. They have the most exotic range of fruit platters and fresh juices/smoothies in the city, tons of salads, healthy soups, and heavier dishes in case you’re being accompanied by a carb fiend. The atmosphere is all white and bright and healthy and you can pick up a simple panino and a juice to go if you can’t get a seat or want lunch on the run. Salads include choices packed with veges like the couscous, zucchini, aubergine, chickpeas, mint, peppers, parsley, celery and turnip salad.
Via Panisperna, 225 (Monti)
This is more a little healthy grocery store cum cafe with only a few rustic wooden tables but we had to add it because their philosophy is all about eating green and organic and the atmosphere inside is so cute and cozy. Perfect if you want to pick up some homemade bread or pasta, seasonal vegetables, a bottle of olive oil and a healthy salad for lunch. They also run cooking courses.