When in Rome, do as the Romans do – and that means not sticking exclusively to pizza and pasta. Branch out and get a taste of the real Italian capital by checking out some of our favourite restaurants in the Eternal City.
Vitaminas 24, Roma
Bistro, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Juice Bar, Vegan, Vegetarian, Brazilian, $$$
This colorful Brazilian bistro has a creative menu of tropical foods and ingredients that don’t crop up often in a city like Rome, that prides itself on sticking to classic recipes and serving traditional cuisine. Here you’ll find fruity puddings with açai and guarana, Brazilian cheese bread, veggie burgers and a wide array of drinks, including dozens of juices, smoothies and cocktails. Located in the hip Pigneto neighborhood, it attracts an alternative and largely vegetarian crowd.
Prati Urbani, 41/43 Via Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Steps away from Piazza Cavour in Prati, Prati Urbani is a cool cafe-restaurant with fresh design and an interesting menu that offers something for everyone – whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or not. You’ll find modern takes on pasta dishes, such as beet gnocchi with a sweet gorgonzola cream sauce, as well as a variety of tartares, burgers and salads. Prati Urbani also has an extensive spread of cold-cuts and veggies that accompany your beverage of choice during aperitivo hour.
Superstar pizzaiolo Stefano Callegaro’s signature street snack made its debut in his Testaccio pizza joint back in 2009 and since then has taken Rome by storm with branches popping up not only across Rome but also in far-flung destinations such as the US and Japan. The simple yet delicious Trapizzino consists of a pocket of fluffy pizza bianca stuffed with classic Italian and Roman dishes such as oxtail stew, chicken cacciatore and meatballs. A great way to taste traditional local cuisine without breaking the bank.
A small and quiet restaurant, Piccolo Arancio seeks to revisit and reinterpret traditional Roman dishes into something more modern. The restaurant has friendly and entertaining staff and is great for families with younger children. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful meal away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets and simply relax after a long day of visiting the sites.
The urban farmer’s dream, Aromaticus is a restaurant that sells plants, spices, herbs and even edible flowers, along with the tools you need to start your own backyard farm. But this place is not strictly vegetarian and the menu includes steak tartare using fine Piedmontese Fassona beef, carpaccio of salty cod with figs and almonds and an evolving variety of salads. Fresh juices, craft beers and a selective wine list complete its offerings. Come here for a light and healthy, but expertly crafted meal using the fresh ingredients.
So What?! sticks closer to home and offers vegan alternative of Italian dishes: bolognese sauce made with seitan, pesto served with peanuts and all the ingredients in both are organic. It’s a playful restaurant and demonstrates the creativity of the chefs.
Since 1987 Le Bistrot has been offering an alternative culinary experience, cooking up a variety of vegetarian dishes made with great attention to the use of raw materials. Le Bistrot provides Mediterranean-inspired recipes that are simple yet creative, like spinach croquettes with yogurt and mint sauce, almond and olive lasagne, potato and pistachio pie and plenty more. Many dishes are also vegan friendly, such as the pear, walnut and chocolate cake, while everything is served in a cozy and laid-back environment.