When visiting Rome you have no other choice than to curb your diet. Rome is packed with restaurants, ‘osterias’, ‘tratorrias’, coffee shops and wine bars. And in between breakfast, lunch and dinner you will stumble upon chocolate shops, ice cream parlours or pastry shops every few meters. The city is a culinary capital where all regional and local dishes can be found. The best place to try and test the typical and various Italian dishes is at the culinary emporium Eataly. And it doesn’t stop there, because it’s also the place to stock high quality Italian ingredients to recreate your favourite dishes once back at home.
What to expect at Eataly
Eataly Roma is in the former glass-domed Air Terminal at Ostiense station. It’s a bit out of the way but easily reached by metro (metrostop Repubblica). The complex of 4 floors and 170,000 square feet holds a giant high-end supermarket/deli and 18 casual restaurants and cafes, a coffee roaster, and a brewery. It’s like an upscale food court with open kitchens and an informal atmosphere, although you do get served at your table.
After trying the different foods or a 4 course meal if you like, you will be even more enthusiastic to shop the many artisanal and industrial products. Choose from dozens of fresh home made or packaged pastas. Browse the rows of olive oils, Italian hams and Prosciutto, or stock the various mozarella and ricotta cheeses. Don’t forget to shop those Italian almond cookies – biscotti-, coffee beans and the typical Roman sweet breads; Maritozzi. Watch my video below for an impression and read on what foods to taste.
5 Foods you just have to try while in Rome
These sweet-dough, cream filled buns are quintessential Roman. They are often eaten for breakfast or as dessert with coffee. At Eataly there are over 10 different cream flavours to choose from like pistachio, chocolate, citrus flavoured, vanilla with raspberry or tiramisu.
Supplí or Arancini is a typical Sicilian streetfood that has been fully embraced by the Romans too. The fried risotto balls are coated with bread crumbs and filled with cheese, meat ragù, minced meat, tomato sauce, mozzarella, or peas, or a combination of these ingredients. The outside is crunchy and the inside is creamy.
Polenta is a traditional North-Italian dish. It’s made of cornmeal and has a subtle flavour and would be blunt to just eat by itself. The Italians serve it with roasted tomatoes and a grilled cheese topping, with baccala (salted cod) or with meat.
Pecorino Romano might be the cheese most associated with Rome. It is used in pasta dishes or Romans pair it with figs and honey. Pecorino is made of sheep milk and since the region has plenty of meadows for sheep to graze, Pecorino is most common in Rome. Another favourite is Buratta, a more creamy (cow cheese) mozarella from the Puglia region. Also try the Grana Padano, a hard cheese that resembles Parmesan cheese or the ‘Ubriaco in Caldera‘ cheese that is soaked in Prosecco to extract the unique sweet, delicate aroma of the wine and complex flavours.
Carciofi alla Giudia (Fried artichokes)
Rome has a large Jewish community that is also reflected in the Roman food culture. One of the many Jewish influenced dishes is Carciofi alla Giudia; Fried artichokes Jewish style. The tradition of frying foods, including vegetables, became a common cooking method in the ghetto where Roman Jews were confined from the 16th through 19th centuries. Fried artichoke was originally prepared to celebrate the end of the Yom Kippur fast.