Veggie, Vegan, Vici: Your Guide to Conquering the Alternative Food Scene in Rome
Italy and Rome are not exactly known for being a havens for vegans and vegetarians. But if you think a diet without prosciutto and mozzarella would lead you to the brink of starvation, then you are mistaken. Not only is Italian cuisine fresh, flavoursome, and adaptable, but Rome is also bursting with great spots for veggies and vegans alike. Here are our top picks:
Il Margutta Vegetarian Food & Art
Via Margutta, 118 (Popolo)
Daily 12pm – 3.30pm
Dinner 7pm –11.30pm
A sleek affair nearby Piazza del Popolo, Il Margutta is the perfect place for vegetarian dining when you’re out and about in the centre. Part veggie restaurant, part contemporary art gallery, Il Margutta is a multi-sensory experience. With over 50 different dishes to choose from, meals that are meticulously arranged on your plate and an extensive wine cellar, you can’t go wrong. A “Green Brunch” is also available every weekday.
Via Ettore Giovenale, 56/58 (Pigneto)
Daily from 7.30pm – Sat and Sun Lunch from 12. 30pm (Closed Tues)
Set against the backdrop of Pigneto’s street art, So What?!? is an exclusively vegan restaurant run by Paolo Petralia and his partner Alessandra. With a name that reflects their attitude towards being vegan in a predominantly carnivorous culture, So What?!? is a restaurant with edge. Their creative, fresh menu varies along with their daily specials.
La Capra Campa Bistrot
Via Dignano D’Istria, 51 (Prenestina)
Tues – Sun 9am – 11pm (Kitchen closed from 3pm -5pm)
Another 100% vegan experience, La Capra Campa offers seasonal, all organic creations at reasonable prices. Current offerings include novelties such as Seitan kebabs along with adapted Italian style dishes such as mushroom and hazelnut gnocchi, almond risotto and soy ricotta. The bistrot also occasionally hosts themed events and aperitivo. Check their website for the full menu and events calendar.
Via Cesare Beccaria, 3 (Flaminio)
Open daily, 12pm-midnight
Want a restaurant that combines fine arts events with typical Italian foods prepared for your vegan and vegetarian needs? Arancia Blu is the place to go. You’ll be entertained by the art hanging on the walls from your very seat, eating in a classy establishment that’s affordable too. With its daily deals—for example, a combination of three entrées for only 8 euros—you’ll constantly be coming back for more. Not only for the food, but for the special events they host, too, ranging from book signings to live music.
Via Quintino Sella, 29 (Veneto)
Via Cesare Bosi, 7 (Nomentana)
Zazie boasts a rainbow of fruit and vegetables used to create individual vegetable juices, smoothies, green salads, yoghurts and soups tailored for you. The vegetarian and vegan menu is updated daily with seasonal, locally produced and sourced fruits and vegetables that are free from chemicals and preservatives. Personalise your plate with the nutrients your body needs: you can freely add seeds, dried fruit, nuts, natural vegetarian sauces and grains. It is healthy, environmentally friendly and tasty.
Il Geco Biondo
Via Gerolamo Cardano, 105 (Marconi)
Tues-Sun from 8pm
A vegetarian trattoria in the Ponte Marconi area that promotes organic, “0-km” veggie produce such as their locally supplied sourdough bread and wine from the Appia Antica. A place that puts thought into nutrition and effort into catering to allergies, this is a perfect spot to have an informal, Roman-style meal with primi, secondi and vegan cakes to top it all off.
Via Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, 142 (Prati)
Open daily, 12:30pm-3pm; 7pm-Midnight
One of the cutest, colorful spots on this list, with a spacious interior and great lunch and brunch deals on weekends, you’ll never want to leave once you take a seat. Fresh, Italian-style food for both vegans and vegetarians is available and plentiful. Take advantage of cheap prices with all-you-can-eat lunch buffets priced at 9 euros, brunch weekend buffets at 15, or order a-la-carte with affordable, delicious entrées priced just over 10.
Raphael Hotel, Largo Febo, 2 (Piazza Navona)
Open daily, 7pm-10:15pm
Hands down, Mater Terrae is the most beautiful vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Rome. Why? Oh, only because it’s located on the rooftop of an exclusive hotel with beautiful views of the Eternal City in all its glory. With an award-winning chef who is committed not only to providing vegan and vegetarian dishes but to preparing organic dishes without eggs, gluten, and sugar, this is the place to go where you can feel both fabulous and fit.
Romeow Cat Bistrot
Via Francesco Negri, 15 (Ostiense)
Wed- Sun 11am -11pm
A concept inspired by the success of Japanese Neko Cafes, Romeow is Rome’s brand new and first ever first ever Cat Café, opening the second week of December. Here you can enjoy a completely vegan menu along with the company of six felines that inhabit the locale. A purrfectly sublime place to grab a coffee, have dinner, try a raw, vegan treat from the pasticceria and make a furry friend.
Read the full review of Romeow
Via Marghera, 8 (Termini)
Breakfast 7.30am – 10.30am
Dinner on selected evenings
Part of the eco-conscious ho(s)tel owned by American couple Linda & Steve, the Beehive is their adjacent café that serves breakfast along with dinners on select evenings, all with healthy, vegetarian and organic ingredients. The café has quirky interior and an intimate vibe. With advance notice, gluten or dairy intolerances can be accommodated.
Via Urbana, 130 (Monti)
Daily 10am – 11pm
Ever wondered what guilt-free, mouthwatering chocolate heaven would be like? Welcome to Grezzo! The artisan chocolatiers based in Monti offer desserts, gelato and biscuits: all totally raw, totally vegan, totally gluten free and totally amazing. Oh and they are all free from sugar, flour and soy. That’s right, it’s basically good for you. Some might consider the prices a little steep, but it’s worth it when you take into account the quality of the produce. The raw chocolate gelato is a must!
Piazza del Paradiso, 18 (Campo di Fiori)
Piazza di Santa Rufina, 6 (Trastevere)
Daily 12.30pm -3.30pm and 7pm – 10pm (Closed Mon evening)
Italy’s first vegan fast food chain, Universo Vegano proves you can have your vegan cake and eat it, fast. With two restaurants in Rome, one in Trastevere (currently closed for renovation) and the other in Campo di Fiori, Universo Vegano has all the classics you would crave from a fast food joint including burgers, sandwiches, bagels, flatbread wraps, kebabs and salads.
Various Times and Locations
If you’re cooking at home and need animal-friendly ingredients, Natura Si is a great chain of organic supermarkets that offer a host of staple veggie/vegan produce along with regular organic fare. You can find everything from veggie burgers, seitan and tofu to yeast flakes and vegan mayo. For a list of stores in Rome, check their website.
Via Angelo Emo, 125 (Vatican)
Mon – Sat 10am – 8pm
A vegan society that offers Romans the opportunity to “buy products without animal ingredients at fair prices and with an emphasis on quality”. You can get your groceries at their all-vegan supermarket or, if you’re feeling lazy, order on their website with home delivery.
Contributors: Maya Acharya, Elisa Fernandez Arias