Roman cuisine has officially left the building (or in this case, the trattoria). Some of the city’s finest dishes are meant to be savored on-the-go, unfussy, a little messy, and downright delicious. Whether it’s an old school snack or a fresh spin on a classic you’re after, we’ve rounded up the best street eats and where to find them.
Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 137 (Trastevere)
If you name your eatery after a dish, that dish better be damn good – and I Supplì delivers. Opened by two brothers who were sick of their stock market careers, this tiny, hole-in-the-wall tavola calda has perfected the art of the supplì classico, a rice ball laced with ragù, lovingly stuffed with mozzarella, breaded, and deep-fried. Carbs, tomato, meat, cheese…looks like all our favorite food groups rolled into one.
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 143 (Corso Vittorio Emanuele)
A short walk from the historic center, Supplizio has taught us that carbonara doesn’t always mean pasta. The supplì (a fried rice ball) menu riffs on this and other classic primi dishes, serving up supplì all’arrabbiata (rice cooked with spicy tomato sauce), supplì al cacio e pepe (pecorino cheese and black pepper), and supplì al burro e acciughe (butter and anchovies). Keep an eye out for seasonal supplì, too.
PIZZA AL TAGLIO
Via della Meloria, 43 (Prati)
Nicknamed the “Michelangelo of pizza,” Gabriele Bonci has elevated pizza by the slice from a mundane snack into an edible masterpiece. Using the same spelt ancient Romans would have baked their bread with, Bonci tops his dough with experimental combinations like grilled peaches and chicory; pumpkin, guanciale, and smoked mozzarella; mortadella and chickpeas; and seared tuna with onions. The menu varies daily – Bonci estimates he produces about 1,500 types of pizza annually.
Antico Forno Roscioli
Via dei Chiavari, 34 (Campo de’ Fiori)
Less is more applies to your pizza, too. Forno Roscioli’s two bestsellers – pizza bianca and pizza rossa – are simple in toppings but big in flavor. The bianca, a fluffy focaccia dough baked with olive oil and sea salt, is ordered at the bread counter, while the rossa, slathered generously with tomato sauce, is found at the pizza side of the bakery. In Italy, you decide the size of the slice – the clerk will consult you before portioning out your piece.
Il Maritozzo Rosso
Vicolo del Cedro, 26 (Trastevere)
What’s a “maritozzo”? It’s a typical Roman dessert consisting of a small loaf cut in half stuffed with plenty of whipped cream. But forget il maritozzo’s classic whipped cream filling and say hello to Il Maritozzo Rosso’s savoury and gourmet combinations that will make your taste buds tingle. Think a maritozzo filled with crispy guanciale and cacio e pepe, or the maritozzo with stracciatella from Puglia, anchovies from Sciacca and yummy baby spinach. These are just two of the 30 different recipes the owners have created.
Via Giovanni Branca, 88 (Testaccio)
A mash-up of a tramezzino sandwich and a slice of pizza, the trapizzino is a triangular pocket of expertly baked pizza dough stuffed with the fillings of your choice. Permanent offerings include classics like eggplant parmesan, chicken cacciatore, and meatballs in tomato sauce, while octopus, oxtail, slow cooked beef, tripe, and more, alternate daily. If the stars are aligned, you might see their dessert trapizzino on the specials menu: vanilla sponge cake filled with chocolate and cream.
La Norcineria Iacozzilli
Via Natale del Grande, 15 (Trastevere)
Three generations of the Iacozzilli family (look for the 94 year old matriarch manning the cash register) work in this no-frills norcineria, hailed for its porchetta. This slow-roasted pork sprinkled with salt, rosemary, and black pepper, is often overcooked at other locales around the city, but not here: their porchetta is juicy in the middle, crispy on top, and has just the right amount of seasoning. Ask owner Piero for a porchetta panino and a bottle of locally produced beer to wash it down with.
Largo dei Librari, 88 (Campo de’ Fiori)
Locals flock to this Roman culinary institution for its star dish, filetti di baccala’. These flaky salt cod fillets are dipped in egg battered, fried, and wrapped to go in paper cones (don’t even think of using a knife and a fork). Dar Filettaro is open from 5:30pm on, so while this isn’t a lunchtime stop, it’s great for post-work snack, or even an instant dinner option – their filetti are pretty filling.
PASTA TO GO
Le Mani in Pasta
Via B. Franklin, Box 58 (Testaccio Market)
You don’t need to be at a traditional Italian Sunday lunch for fresh pasta anymore (sorry, nonna). Le Mani in Pasta, a little gem of a stand at the Testaccio market, cooks handmade ravioli, bucatini, trofie, and more, right on the spot, with the sauce of your choice. Although the selection varies from day to day, some of the dishes that have made us regulars are the ravioli filled with chickpeas and cod, and tonnarelli with stracchino, pesto, and truffles.
Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo, 20 (Campo de’ Fiori)
If dessert is your favorite part of the meal, this is the place for you. ZUM – short for zucchero (sugar), uova (eggs), and mascarpone – are becoming fast favorites on the Roman food scene thanks to their savvy take on the tiramisù. Besides the classic recipe, the pastry chefs at ZUM also shake up their menu with flavors like hazelnut, berry, and rum, all cushioned between layers of their homemade savoiardi biscuits. Gluten and lactose-free varieties are also on offer for those with dietary restrictions, and their tiramisus come in a mini or single serving size, depending on how gluttonous you are.