Thursday, November 25, 2010

Travel Advice: What to Eat? - Rome

One thing is for sure, don't even think about eating from a non Italian cuisine when in Rome, Italy. We did not eat anything other than pizza margharita and spaghetti bolonaise twice everyday. You're never short of restaurants. I think our timing, going to Rome at a time when most of the world had no holiday was to our advantage. If it was summer or Christmas for instance, we would have gone through trouble into finding places in to eat because of the ques I have heard so much about. I had a list with me on where to eat, but it became evident, that "ristorantes" and pizzerias were everywhere. Lined near each other on every corner of every street. And this is what I liked most about Italy. So even though I had a list, we sometimes had lunch at any restaurant/pizzeria that crossed our path, just as long as it was Italian it was okay. And we did not have food I considered bad there, even when the pasta was undercooked and hard it tasted good. In this trip I forgot that I'm a meat aka steak eater. Had an expensive escalope milanese once and it was nothing compared to the cheap spaghetti and pizza.

There is no known breakfast in Italy. They say an Italian breakfast would consist of a cornetto (croissant), cappucino or any other coffee, and a cigarette. We never had breakfast outside the hotels we stayed in. They had the perfect buffets.

You will find roasted chestnuts being sold in open air on every busy street or piazza. The last time I had some of these fleshy nuts was during the early 90s. But after having them in Rome, I couldn't get the sweet taste out of my mind (and mouth). I never expected that they were sweet, compared to the ones we have in our country.
Mozzarella di Bufula or buffalo mozzarella is a must in Italy. Why? Because this is the real deal. I once saw a documentary on this, how the mozzarella looses its real taste and consistency once it passes 48 hours, something like that. Anyways if I got it right or wrong, what I mean is that it is not the same as when it is first produced. I never knew the cheese was made from buffalo milk until after I fell in love with it. We all love mozzarella cheese, but in Italy you fall dead hard in love with it. In our last 4 nights, that was all what we had for dinner! The round fresh mozzarella balls melts in your mouth and milk oozes out of it!! I ignore the tomatoes, add vinegar and olive oil and just die!
Gelato! People the best ice cream is found in this country, THE BEST! My mouth waters just thinking about it. Ok so gelato is the term Italians use for "ice-cream", but although same ingredients are used, it has lower sugar and butterfat content and they are both made differently. They are stored differently and gelato contains lesser air due to the churning when its made. I will be dedicating another post just for gelato and the best place to get it.

Most desserts in Rome (or Italy) contains sweetened ricotta cheese which I'm a big fan off. This cheese is made from sheeps' milk and is low in fat. Other than tiramisu (which I'm not a fan of), you will find ricotta tarts and cakes on every menu.
Cannola. Fried rolled pastry that is open on both ends and filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and has some candied orange/lemon peel (not always). It's a Sicilian delicacy, so try finding out the places that have them in Rome. I found them in random cafes.


  1. Oh I love italian food that much. And what are the odds that I am planning tonight for dinner tomatos with mozarella ;-D
    Here in Germany there are also many and faboulos, original italian restaurants and I spend much money on them!
    My favorite starter is carpaccio! But its a shame that everywhere bolognese is made with pork as well lasagne & co...

  2. By the way, I tried Italian food at Mezzaluna (italian restaurant) in the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and was really dissappointed. They had a wide selection but I have to admit that the food did not taste italian. The spicery were much more arabic than italian.
    So someone explained to me that they are like this to customize it for the local's taste!
    However the chinese food in Germany is also customized and is lighter than the food in China!

  3. usually i rate Italian restaurants according to how well they make one dish which is spaghetti ala pesto (basically spaghetti with pesto sauce) i believe that if a restaurant cant make a simple fresh pesto then its not worth eating there)

    i approve of the buffalo mozzarella antipasti WITH the fresh tomato , Basil and olive oil :>

  4. mozzarrelaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ohhh how I have missed roma!!

  5. bosnishmulima True I hate it when they use ham for bolonaise. As for Mezzaluna, I have regretted not eating there, although I've stayed in that hotel twice already, so thanks for telling me. It's not easy finding a good Italian restaurant. In our country there's 2 I like only and nothing compared to the good ones I had. The best I've had were in Spain and Paris. They were even better than the ones I had in Rome, and they're Italian owned.

    q8othug so you're a basil person? I love basil, the leaves but not as in a pesto sauce in top of freshly made pasta. I can understand where you're going with this though. Restaurants there aren't as good as they used to, based on what others told me, I went to classic restaurants and I have eaten better in our country;/

    anonymous *sigh*

  6. I just arrived Jeddah coming from Rome today! :)

  7. Welcome back! How was it!?! Hope you post about it

  8. i love fresh mozarella !! shawaqteni , u know i went to jordan and i found these fresh mozarellaz in bags , latheethaa , i dont know if sul6an has them o shakla im going to visit obika

  9. go for obika's fresh one. I crave the place so much now that I'm back. I've never ate there before:/