Veggie, Vegan, Vici: Your Guide to Conquering the Alternative Food Scene in Rome
Italy and Rome are not exactly known for being havens for vegans and vegetarians. But if you think a diet without prosciutto and mozzarella will 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 9am – 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 Quintino Sella, 29 (Veneto)
Mon – Fri 9am – 6.30pm
Via Cesare Bosi, 7 (Nomentana)
Mon – Fri 10am – 7pm, Sat 11am – 4pm
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.
Raphael Hotel, Largo Febo, 2 (Piazza Navona)
Daily 11am – 11pm
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.
Via delle Sette Chiese, 160 (Garbatella)
Mon – Sat 8pm – 11pm
Le Bistrot is a vegan restaurant in the Garbatella neighborhood near Via Ostiense, one of Rome’s nightlife hubs. In this tiny restaurant, you will be able to relax and unwind in a cozy atmosphere, as if you were sitting in a friend’s living room, with equally friendly service. You’ll be able to try a good selection of exclusively vegan original plates, designed for everyone and close to the Italian culinary tradition. The restaurant also offers a good choice of wines and a good selection of relaxing music.
Via Virginia Agnelli, 96/98, (Monteverde)
Tue – Sun 6.30pm – 12am
Lizard Bistrot is a vegan restaurant in the heart of Monteverde. Run by Mattia Pulieri, who got inspired by his father, the restaurant offers a homely atmosphere and typical Italian plates reinterpreted in a vegan key. The most typical dish you can try here is the “mezze maniche alla carbonara”: it simply substitutes the guanciale with self-produced, organic wheat. The restaurant offers a great selection of artisanal beers and organic wines, that you can sip in their outdoor garden, perfect for an aperitivo. The restaurant is 100% animal-friendly: not only you can bring your four-pawed friends, but Lizard Bistrot often organizes events aimed at discussing animal rights. This is definitely a restaurant for animal lovers!
Veggy Garden Bistrot
Via Tuscolana, 924 (Tuscolano)
Tue – Sun 10.30am – 5pm, 6pm – 11.30pm
Veggy Garden Bistrot is a cozy vegan bistrot, where you can enjoy the delicious gourmet dishes of the Mediterranean tradition in a vegan key. Here you will find a wide array of cruelty-free foods, spacing from fresh hand-made pasta to side dishes, burgers, aperitivos and desserts, all made with organic, local, and seasonal ingredients. You will be surprised whether you’re a vegan or not! The space is designed and decorated essentially, and the space is very bright and luminous. It is easy to get here by public transportation since it is located at a short walking distance from the Metro A station Numidio Quadrato.
Via Euclide Turba, 6/8, (Prati)
Mon – Sat 12pm – 3pm, 8pm – 11pm
Five-hundred meters from the Vatican and Metro stop Ottaviano, Ma Va? (meaning, “Really?”) has been a certainty for the vegetarians and vegans of Rome for a while now. If you follow a plant-based lifestyle you certainly will not miss out on the experience of a typical Italian trattoria coming here! Although it is a small space, the environment is friendly and laid-back, and the open kitchen lets you peek into what the chef is doing. The restaurant takes special care of those with food intolerances, and small pets are welcome. Ma Va? aims at creating the least environmental impact, by choosing local and organic foods, with an exquisite outcome.
Via Volturno, 39/41 (Castro Pretorio)
Tue – Sun 11am – 11pm
A few steps from the Termini Metro stop, Rifugio Romano (Roman Sanctuary) has got all the feels of a typical Italian restaurant. However, it does an incredible job of combining Italian tradition with vegan innovation. Its cuisine is open to everyone to experience, both vegan and not. In fact, the friendly and welcoming ambiance of this restaurant is part of their philosophy: they strongly believe in food as an experience of sharing, and despite our lifestyles may differ, we all sit at the same table here. They offer a wide and careful selection of beers and wines. The “must-try” dish here is the vegan carbonara: you will remain surprised.
La Sciusciella – Taverna Vegetariana
Via Gerolamo Cardano, 105 (Marconi)
Tue – Sun 12.30pm – 3pm, 7.30pm – 10.30pm
La Sciusciella is an Italian vegan and vegetarian tavern located in the heart of the Marconi neighborhood. The restaurant has few tables, but this renders the experience unique, and the staff is kind and careful to everyone’s needs. The restaurant was born from the desire to expand the Italian culinary culture by satisfying everyone’s tastes through a more ethical, healthy, and environmentally-friendly cuisine, while still experimenting and enjoying the pleasure of food and the love for animals. They offer craft beers, organic wines, and all products are seasonal and mostly local.
Via Ascoli Piceno, 40/42 (Pigneto)
Daily 12pm – 12am
Vitaminas 24 stands in the middle of the artsy neighborhood of Pigneto, where Francesco, the owner, started exporting some of the flavors of his native region of Ciociaria (in Lazio) in 2011. A colorful and completely cruelty-free space, this restaurant boasts an incredible variety of vegan and vegetarian options, with foods coming from the Lazio region, as well as tropical fruits. The menu changes daily based on seasonal and local availability, and the cooking methods used here are delicate and natural. It is a completely plastic-free restaurant, and all the takeaway cutlery is biodegradable. Smoothies, soups, burgers, pasta: Vitaminas 24 offers them all. At the entrance of the restaurant, you will see a luminous sign that says “bio”: they saved them from the luminous sign of the previous business that stated “polli e abbacchi” (chicken and lamb): now it is telling a new and completely different story!
Via Federico Cesi, 22 (Prati)
Tue – Sun 12pm – 3pm, 7pm – 12am
Solo Crudo is a raw vegan restaurant in the heart of Rome, near Piazza Cavour. All the foods are either raw, or cooked at a temperature below 42°C in the raw tradition, or by gentle cooking and thermal treatments that preserve the quality, nutrients, and edibility of all foods. The dishes are highly experimental, and both a pleasure for the eye and the palate: they tingle the taste buds in the right spots are sometimes real works of art. The atmosphere is charming and the service is excellent. Products are local and organic, and the raw nature of the ingredients often results in a colorful and healthy dish. If you never tried raw vegan cuisine, definitely give Solo Crudo a try.
Romeow Cat Bistrot
Via Francesco Negri, 15 (Ostiense)
Tue 11am – 4pm, Wed – Sun 11am -11.30pm
A concept inspired by the success of Japanese Neko Cafes, Romeow is Rome’s first ever first ever Cat Café. 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 daily 7.30am – 10.30am
Dinners on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm
Part of the eco-conscious ho(s)tel owned by American couple Linda & Steve, the Beehive is their adjacent café that serves daily breakfast along with dinners on select evenings, all with healthy, vegetarian and organic ingredients. They make their own organic sourdough bread, bagels, buttery french croissants, pain au chocolat, and more by hand, on a daily basis! The café has quirky interior and an intimate vibe. With advance notice, gluten or dairy intolerances can be accommodated.
Via Vasto, 4 (Re di Roma)
Mon – Sat 11am – 10pm
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and aperitivo. At Veg Joy you’ll always find something vegan to eat at any time of the day. It was born as a takeaway place, but now you can eat there too, either outside or inside. You will find healthy, organic, and local foods. Smoothies are a big one here! Although the products and preparations are mostly seasonal, some dishes are prepared all year long. Veg Joy is not only a cafè and a restaurant: they also organize caterings for events and prepare dinners at home. Definitely worth a try in all their shapes and forms.
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!
Via Gabriello Chiabrera, 162 (San Paolo)
Tue – Sat 09am – 8pm, Sun 9am – 12.30pm
In the heart of the San Paolo neighborhood, and a 5-minute walk from the Metro B stop San Paolo, WANI – that stands for “We Are Not Ingredients” – is one of Rome’s only vegan bakeries. Although it is a super small place, the offer is incredible. WANI only uses organic products, buy from fair and equitable markets, and always keeps an eye on sustainability, by using recyclable and compostable materials. Some musts are the Wanimisù (a vegan version of the Tiramisù), and the Sacher Cake, but you’ll find teas, cookies, cornetti, and even vegan dog biscuits! There is something for everyone, even your four-pawed friends! WANI also offers catering and cake baking services. But if you just want to spend a nice afternoon relaxing with a book, head at WANI, grab one of the titles in their library, and sip a herbal tea with a piece of cake.
Radagast Vegan Bakery
Via Teano, 309 (Prenestino)
Mon 2pm – 8pm, Tue – Sat 10am – 8pm
Radagast Vegan Bakery produces 100% vegan products. It is a great alternative for vegans, people with milk and egg intolerances, and those who want to expand their culinary experiences beyond what they already know. They will be surprised! You can find cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, smoothies, coffee, and much more. You can stay and eat something there or take it away. Radagast Vegan Bakery even prepares cakes and catering options for events. To reach them, you need to take Metro C and hop off at the Teano stop, from there it is a 5-minute walk.
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.
Vegan Store Box 83
Via Lorenzo Ghiberti, Nuovo Mercato Testaccio (Testaccio)
Tue – Sat 9am – 2:30pm
Perhaps one of the most interesting entries on this list is Vegan Store Box 83, the first vegan and organic food stall in a local market in the Testaccio neighborhood, a 5 minute walk from Metro B Piramide. Here you can find anything a vegan dreams of: seitan and tempeh, vegan sausages, 100% vegan cold cuts that resemble completely those coming from the Italian gastronomy, vegan cheeses, teas, legumes, rice, and much more, including self-care products! All of this is done in the complete respect of animals and the planet. Ironically, the New Testaccio Market is situated in an ex-slaughterhouse.
Via Agostino De Pretis, 64 (Esquilino)
Mon – Fri 10am – 4.30pm
Are you in a hurry and craving something fast but don’t want to renounce to health and your plant-based lifestyle? Iphame is the perfect place for you. This “paninaro” has options for everyone, including people with gluten intolerances. It offers panini, piadine, salads, and smoothies. Vegans and vegetarians have a wide array of choices for their stuffings, including vegan cheeses, which are infamously difficult to find. Grab one and go!
Via dei Gracchi, 87 (Prati)
Daily 12pm – 3.30pm, 7pm – 10.30pm. Also delivery.
Flowers are colorful, and so are Flower Burgers. Flower Burger was born by an idea of young entrepreneur Matteo Toto who decided to merge the vegan and the burger cultures together, creating a truly delightful option for all budgets. Shocking pink and ocean blue buns, green and black bread, colorful sauces and splendid french fries. The colorants of the buns are all-natural: yellow buns are made from turmeric, pink ones from cherry and beetroot extracts, black ones from vegetable charcoal and so on. This is what you’ll find at Flower Burger, the first Italian vegan burger fast-food franchise, which was born in Milan in 2015. Now its buds sprouted and spread all across Italy, including Rome. Try them all!
Other contributors: Maya Acharya, Elisa Fernandez Arias